THE BLOG

Human Rights Day - A Reminder of Why We Need an Integrated Approach

11/12/2014 10:54 GMT | Updated 09/02/2015 10:59 GMT

Today marks the United Nation's 64th Human Rights Day. When proclaimed in 1950, the UN General Assembly's aim was to highlight 'to the peoples of the world' that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations.

The day celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that every one of us is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and that they bind us together as a global community.

But for those who live in extreme poverty across the world, even the most basic human rights remain out of reach.

There are roughly 2.2 billion people, more than 15 per cent of the world's population, who "are either near or living in multidimensional poverty". That is a both a shocking and sobering statistic. People living in extreme poverty often lack access to education, health services, safe drinking water and basic sanitation, none of which any individual should live without.

Poverty, and its associated human rights concerns, is a multidimensional issue that encompasses much more than a lack of sufficient income alone. Even with the wide range of resources and advanced technological tools available today, if aid does not follow a holistic approach on the ground, it will fail to have a sustainable and far-reaching impact.

Delivering aid through an integrated and holistic approach is the only meaningful way to beat poverty in the long-term. No one single intervention in isolation will ever be enough to target the diverse, but interconnected challenges that those suffering extreme poverty face; interventions have to be integrated.

I founded FXB International in 1989 and created the FXBVillage model, a unique integrated approach to poverty eradication, which challenged the conventional thinking at the time about aid distribution. It is a pioneering model, which delivers what I see as the five drivers of poverty eradication at the same time and in an integrated way: healthcare, housing, education, nutrition, and business. These drivers are all interconnected, each relying on the other four to help break the cycle of poverty for good and secure long-lasting change for the world's poorest families. After all, there is no point building a clinic if patients don't have clean drinking water when they go home; no point building schools if children have no food to go home to; and no point helping someone set up a business if they have no roof or healthcare. But the key driver to breaking the cycle for good is the extra all-important link of business training to create income-generating activities. This revenue allows participants to become self-sufficient in the long-term, and stay out of extreme poverty.

This has since been rolled out all over the world and, to date, 86% of FXBVillage model participants have become self-sufficient, bringing themselves out of extreme poverty and securing a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. This is proof of the efficacy of a holistic and integrated model.

I urge those currently drafting and agreeing the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure that an integrated approach is front and centre. The SDGs already drafted are honorable, but they cannot be implemented in silos. In order to make a real impact, they must make up one unified approach to tackling extreme poverty - and the related human rights concerns - in the long-term.

This year's slogan for Human Rights Day is Human Rights 365, which reflects the idea that, in fact, every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that everyone, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights. An important slogan not just for Human Rights Day, but a mantra for all those drafting the SDGs and, more broadly, all those involved in the international aid community.