UN SDG 1: No poverty
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
A reforestation project led by the University in collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Mexico Merida is addressing rural poverty and environmental degradation. It was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Glasgow leaders of the project are also co-directors of the ‘Food Sovereignty’ Arts Lab theme in our College of Arts.
Sembrando Vida: ‘Sowing Life’; was launched in 2019 by Mexican President Andres Manuel López. The project aims to reach its goal through the planting of a million hectares of fruit and timber trees in agroforestry systems to be supported by trained technicians, state-supervised nurseries and ‘peasant learning communities’.
Researchers from the Poverty Research Network and Food Sovereignty Network have partnered with various peasant leaders, defenders of territory, activists and researchers in Mexico in order to examine the impacts of Sembrando Vida on the grounds, as well as the implications of this state-led ‘agroecology from above’, in a project that is still ongoing today.
A collaborative research study by our MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit has highlighted the impact of the austerity measures implemented in both Scotland and England. The study reports that an additional 335,000 deaths were observed across Scotland, England and Wales between 2012 and 2019 as a result of the measures which cut billions of pounds from public services and social security systems. The study found that the loss of support caused by these cuts has resulted in people being swept up by a rising tide of poverty and dragged under by decreased income, poor housing, poor nutrition, poor health and social isolation, ultimately leading to premature death.
The authors of the study, led by Dr David Walsh from the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, provided a set of policy recommendations aimed at UK, Scottish and local governments spanning macroeconomic policy, social security, work, taxation, public services, material needs, obesity, and COVID-19 recovery. These would reverse the death rates and reduce the widening inequalities we are seeing. Without urgent action, the tragic figure of 335,000 excess deaths shown in this study will keep growing.
Learning & teaching
Our School of Humanities has included themes of global poverty, charity, and inequalities in programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Dr Julia McClure is the founder of the Poverty Network and the Food Sovereignty Network, which works with organisations around the world to deepen understanding and find new solutions to global challenges. It leads several courses on topics including A global history of charity: from begging to basic income; The global history of inequalities; and Poverty and charity in the Spanish Empire.
The city of Glasgow has 56 of the most deprived MD areas in Scotland. The University offers a range of anti-poverty support programmes, services and funding to assist students facing financial hardship.
Our Widening Participation (WP) programmes take a targeted approach to considering individual circumstances of pupils within all secondary schools in the West of Scotland, including those from SIMD20 postcodes and pupils with free school meal eligibility.
The WP programmes also extend to asylum seekers, with the University continuing to maintain sanctuary status and offering Sanctuary Scholarships for international students forced to come to the UK for humanitarian reasons.
The reforestation project Sembrando Vida (‘Sowing Life’) will address rural poverty and environmental degradation in Mexico through the planting over a million hectares of fruit and timber trees in agroforestry systems.
The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) organise a range of volunteering opportunities. Recent examples include training refugees, asylum seekers and other disadvantaged people in technical and web skills to support their searches for employment; and outreach work supporting unemployed women by dressing and coaching them for success at interview.
Colleagues from our School of Education partnered with other universities to explore the rise in child poverty and the impact on educational attainment. The findings call for urgent effective intervention and sustainable solutions and warn of the continued grave consequences of the rise in child poverty in the post-pandemic era. Priority areas for addressing child poverty in Scotland emerged, including the digital divide: the gap that exists between individuals who have access to modern information and communication technology and those who lack access; and the warning is that if this is not adequately addressed in the UK, there will be four million adults by 2024 who will not possess the digital skills for employment in this new age, according to UNICEF. They point out that this will leave adults unable to participate fully in society and that work must be done to ensure all children and young people are digitally empowered for employment in this new age.