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Concern Worldwide works with the world's poorest people to transform their lives. But what do we mean by “the world's poorest people?” And how do we help them?

Gabra pastroalists Habima Muhamed and Adho Barille carry their monthly supplies of food aid. Credit: Gideon Mendel/Kenya/2006

What is poverty?

Many of the ways we explain poverty relate to how much money a person has to live on, but this doesn’t always give the full picture. For example, the UN says that absolute poverty is more than this:

A condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also access to services.

Identifying the poorest people

We aim to reach the poorest people in the places where we work. By involving all community members in our programmes we are able to identify the most vulnerable people. Often these are people  who are usually excluded, such as women or those affected by HIV or AIDS. We then meet with these people to find out how best we can help them. 

Our charity work

Our programmes across the world focus on issues that prevent people from escaping extreme poverty. 


Mustafa Kibibi Balizila and his wife Mwajuma Ramadhani Kachira with their joint land certificate in Tanzania. Credit: Jennifer Nolan/Tanzania/2012One of the biggest causes of poverty is inequality. We help the people we work with to use their rights and opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty. In Tanzania's Iringa district we worked with local people and the District Council to secure land certificates. This gave small farmers the legal title to their land for the first time and a more secure future. 

Some of the other ways we're working to address inequality include providing adult literacy classes, addressing discrimination against women and providing start-up grants and training for extremely poor people.

Disasters keep people poor  

Concern works in places often at greatest risk from disaster, both natural and man-made. Crises hold whole communities back – in an emergency food production is often halted, people can’t work or go to school. The poorest sell everything they have in order to cope, driving them further in to poverty.  

Recovery and resilience 

When an emergency hits, we act quickly to save lives. When the immediate crisis is over, we stay for as long as it takes to help communities rebuild their lives. 
We help communities protect themselves from future disasters. By teaching new skills or providing people with livestock to breed and sell on we enable them to build an income they can fall back on should a crisis, like drought, occur. Find out more about our resilience work by visiting the Resilient Village.   

In depth