PLNU hosts San Diego Global Poverty Forum
The Center for International Development at Point Loma Nazarene University hosted the San Diego Global Poverty Forum on PLNU’s campus February 15. The half-day event brought leading speakers from around the world to discuss ideas and research in the field of global poverty alleviation.
“The CID exists to mentor students, support faculty, and engage the external community in the study and application of holistic business practices to alleviate global poverty,” said Rob Gailey, CID director. “Today’s dialogue between experts in the field, our PLNU community, nonprofit leaders, and other members of the San Diego community is a tangible example of that mission.”
Bruce Wydick, professor of economics at the University of San Francisco, kicked off the afternoon's speaker series by providing an analysis of the top 10 most cost-effective poverty alleviation methods according to economists. Wydick went a step further to break down those 10 methods into two groups: those providing the most benefit and those with limited to no impact on the individuals intended to serve. The benefits of simple mosquito nets and the negligible impact of fair trade coffee surprised many in the audience.
Building on Wydick’s introduction of effective giving mechanisms, University of California, San Diego professor of economics Paul Niehaus provided an in-depth analysis of direct person-to-person giving. As president and co-founder of GiveDirectly, Niehaus brought insight into the challenges of traditional giving and unique opportunities of direct transfers to poor people.
“Traditional ways of giving internationally are complex,” Niehaus said. “Advances in payments technology have drastically cut the costs of direct transfers and new research also supports the powerful impacts this has on recipients. At GiveDirectly we see these trends converging to make direct giving the benchmark against which the old, top-down models are evaluated.”
Dianne Calvi, president and CEO of Village Enterprise, wrapped up the individual speaker presentations with an evaluation of the data on micro-entrepreneurship and its impact on poverty and the role of hope in the individual experience. Village Enterprise, which was the inspiration for the founders of kiva.com, has trained more than 130,000 micro-enterprise owners and helped start more than 30,000 small businesses in Kenya and Uganda.
Following the presentations, the panelists convened for a conversation with the audience facilitated by Gailey.
The day's events concluded with a private dinner reception for friends and supporters of the CID. Guests were joined by Wydick, Niehaus, Calvi, PLNU President Bob Brower, and recent PLNU alumni who remain active with the CID.
“Our passion at the CID is to help young people who want to make a difference in the fight against global poverty, but may not be sure where to start,” Gailey said. “Your support allows us to connect those students who want to make a difference in the world, with the latest innovation and ideas about business and entrepreneurship as a way of breaking the cycle of global poverty.”