He was named one of Time magazine's most influential people for his dedication to eradicating world poverty. Gayle talks to Jeffrey Sachs, president and co-founder of Millennium Promise, about how we can eliminate world hunger.
Jeffrey says millions of people around the world die each year because they are too poor. Millennium Promise is a nonprofit organization that aims to end extreme global poverty, disease and hunger by 2025. But Jeffrey says he believes poverty can be ended within the next decade.
"It's ridiculous," he says. "We're in the 21st century. We're with more technology, with more powerful medicines, with Internet reaching any village in any part of the world, with travel and knowledge, better crops, better ways to grow food, and so on. There is no reason why somebody…is struggling for their very life because they don't even have the barest minimum to stay alive … We have enough on this planet to ensure that everyone can stay alive, that's for sure."
Jeffrey paints a picture for Gayle about the type of poverty he has seen. In a village in Western Kenya, Jeffrey says farming families lack electricity, running water and vehicles that could help them simply survive. Women walk more than five miles to haul water, children have only one meal of corn gruel a day and huts are so filled with smoke from cooking that lungs are easily congested. In many cases, a child is dying from malaria or someone is wasting away from AIDS, he says.
"The more you see, the more you realize how ludicrous all of this is," Jeffrey tells Gayle. "Because why should a child die of malaria—as 2 million will this year—when a $5 bed net will protect them from the mosquitoes and a $1 dose of medicine would save them if they happen to get sick? And yet there is not even a clinic in the area."
Jeffrey says it's easy to help—not by giving handouts, but rather by giving basic tools. For example, they need bed nets, medication, bags of fertilizer and tins of seeds.
"We have so much, and we're so blessed and so lucky and people who have nothing—they don't need a lot to get to a point of survival and future for their children," Jeffrey says. "They just need a little.
"Let's make sure that everybody is at least on the first rung of the ladder of development. I'm seeing too many people who are too ill, too hungry, too undernourished even to get up on the ladder."
Printed from Oprah.com on Sunday, December 8, 2013