ROLE OF ENGINEERS IN POVERTY ALLEVATION
Poverty is one of the major problems for people living on this planet. Close to half of world’s population live on less than 2$ a day (2003). The situation is more frightening in developing countries like Nepal where most of population is below poverty line and there is a large gap between the rich and the poor. But poverty is not only about lack of wealth in monetary terms; it also implies the denial of various choices and opportunities basic to human development. These include the ability to lead a long, creative and healthy life, to acquire knowledge, to have freedom, dignity, self-respect and respect for others, and to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living.
The key to alleviating poverty is Community Infrastructure and this is where the role of Engineers becomes essential. Without ready access to clean water and sanitation, productivity is severely reduced through illness and time spent in water collection. Without roads, the poor are unable to sell their goods at market. Basic infrastructure is not a luxury that can wait for better economic times, but a precondition for creating them and its provision is an urgent and ongoing requirement. To create these basic infrastructures, engineering knowledge and its application is vital. With a sound engineering planning accessibility to basic resources for uplifting the economic condition of the poor is possible and this is major step forward in direction of poverty alleviation. Hence, provision of better water supply, sanitation, road facilities, electricity, housing etc. is possible through role of engineers which benefits the community to reduce poverty. However provision of infrastructure alone will not alleviate poverty, without access to that infrastructure. For example: - ‘What good is a road if there is no means of transport’, ‘What good is a latrine if it is not being used’, ‘What good is a water supply system if it is in...
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