Unity for Equality has been serving New York for four years, helping with local issues. As an organization, Unity for Equality recognizes that these problems are not just isolated to New York but are also prevalent in other parts of the world. Thus, in line with our expansion plans, we have established a new office in Southeast Africa where we want to explore and address the slew of concerns specific to the region, as listed below.
1. Environmental Issues
Floods and drought are the most destructive disasters that happen in Africa. Flooding contaminates drinking water and destroys hygiene and wastewater systems, while droughts cause the most deaths by creating food insecurity that leads to malnutrition and denies communities water supplies. In Southeast Africa, 66% of people live in areas with little to no rainfall, which leads to failed crops and agricultural efforts. Recently, climate change is making water availability less predictable in Africa, speeding up hunger and health crises, increasing poverty, and lowering incomes for entire populations. Droughts have been drier and lasting longer in recent years, in part due to climate change.
2. Child Labor
The United States Department of Labor estimated over 2.7 million child laborers in South Africa, where about 43% of all children are aged 5–14. 78.7% of these children work in agriculture, 17.6% in fishing and transportation services, and 3.7% in industries, that includes manufacturing work and mining. An estimated 1 in 5 children in are forced to work in quarries, farms, and mines. While poverty is the leading cause of child labor, other factors include a shortage of work opportunities for adults and social norms that fail to prohibit it.
Over the years, the poverty rate in African countries has improved, however one in three Africans live below the global poverty line. They represent more than 70 percent of the world’s poorest people. Approximately 377 million Africans will still be living on less than $1.90 a day and very few African countries will have ended poverty.
The amount of people living in Africa has nearly doubled in the last 20 years, but access to sanitation has barely improved. Even though improvements to access clean water and sewage infrastructure have been made, many Africans live without these necessities. In countries in Africa with the best water coverage rates, as many as 1 in 4 people still lack adequate sanitation. According to UNICEF, rural residents are often worse off than urban residents when it comes to lack of access to sanitation and water, and funding is insufficient in these areas.
One of the biggest ways a country can thrive among social, political, and economic changes is increasing the amount of educated people in its country. The education in many of these African
countries has been poorly funded by its government, meaning the schools have little to no access to resources like books, chairs, boards, paper, etc, to teach their students. While the issue is slowly improving, the literacy rate in many countries has still decreased drastically.
6. Illegal Poaching
Some examples of illegal wildlife trade are well known, such as poaching of elephants for ivory and tigers for their skins or bones. However, countless other species are similarly overexploited and not all wildlife trade is illegal. Wild plants and animals from tens of thousands of species are caught or harvested from the wild and then sold legitimately as food, pets, ornamental plants, leather, tourist ornaments and medicine. Wildlife trade escalates into a crisis when an increasing proportion is illegal and unsustainable—directly threatening the survival of many species in the wild.
In several African countries, the rate of deforestation exceeded the global annual average of 0.8 percent. Developing countries rely heavily on wood fuel, the major energy source for cooking and heating. In Africa, an estimated 90 percent of the entire continent’s population uses fuelwood for cooking, and in South Africa, firewood and brush supply approximately 52 percent of all energy sources. Land clearing by farmers may contribute as much as fuelwood gathering in the depletion of tree stocks. According to Porter and Brown, conversion of forests for subsistence and commercial agriculture may account for as much as 60 percent of world-wide deforestation. An estimated 20 to 25 percent of annual deforestation is thought to be due to commercial logging. The remaining 15 to 20 percent is attributed to other activities such as cattle ranching, cash crop plantations, and the construction of dams, roads, and mines. In Africa, governments invest substantially more in cash crops than in food crops as reflected in pricing and marketing policies.
8. Waste Management
Poor waste management practices, in particular the widespread dumping of wastes in water bodies and uncontrolled dump sites, aggravates the problems of generally low sanitation levels across the African continent. Urbanisation is on the rise in Africa and this trend is expected to continue in the future. Of concern is that the infrastructure and land use planning including for waste management is not coping with the growth of urban areas (around 3.5% annually, highest in the world). This is particularly urgent in the slum areas which constitute a big part of many of the cities and towns in Africa. Waste management infrastructure is largely non-existent in rural areas of Africa.
In Africa many smuggle natural resources diamonds, gold, uranium, platinum, copper, cobalt, iron, etc. to avoid paying taxes to the government. When you do not pay taxes to the government , the government can’t not fund certain necessities for its people.
South Africa has a notably high rate of violent crimes, compared to most countries. Crime researcher Eldred de Klerk concluded that poverty and poor service delivery directly impact crime levels, while disparities between rich and poor are also to blame. Statistics indicate that crime affects mainly poorer South Africans.
Recognizing the dire need to bring a change in these issues, Unity For Equality has plans to create an impact and hopefully provide a better holistic quality of life. With a five year projected expansion goal, Unity For Equality looks forward to partnering with other local organizations and businesses in fulfilling its mission to uplift the communities not only here at home in New York but also around the world.