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With a Rural Poverty Spotlight Bead Party, you will investigate poverty at its most extreme: the rural areas of the undeveloped world. You'll also learn about sustainable solutions. A portion of the funds you raise will go to BeadforLife's Agri-Business and Shea Programs.

Global poverty is predominantly rural

Global poverty remains a massive and predominantly rural phenomenon. Seventy percent of the world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor people live in rural areas, and the majority are women and children who depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihoods. These are the subsistence farmers and herders, the fishers and migrant workers, the artisans and indigenous peoples whose daily struggles seldom capture the world’s attention. However, about one in every five of these people lives in a country affected by warfare; warfare which destroys families and farms, leaving most people in a state of extreme poverty and starvation.

The challenge of limited access

Rural poverty is particularly prevalent in the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Increasingly volatile food prices, the uncertainties and effects of climate change and a range of natural resource constraints will complicate further efforts to reduce rural poverty in these regions. People living in rural poverty face the central challenge of limited access. There is limited access to schools, to health care services, to markets to sell and access goods, to clean water, to electricity, and to many other basic needs and services. Women living in rural poverty tend to have more dependents and less education, and have limited opportunities for employment. Farming is often their sole means of survival.

Facts about rural poverty

  • A 50% increase in the world's population is expected by 2050, with most expected growth in rural areas of developing countries.
  • 52% of the population in Uganda survives on about $1.25 a day.
  • The largest segment of the world's poor are the 800 million women & children living in rural poverty.
  • Women make up half of the world's population and yet represent 70% of the world's poor.
  • 1 in 6 children in the world, a total of 9.2 million, died before their fifth birthday in 2007.
  • Across the world, 884 million people do not have access to clean water and 2.6 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation.


“It is clear that it is time to look at poor smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs in a completely new way – not as charity cases but as people whose innovation, dynamism and hard work will bring prosperity to their communities.”

- Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development

Rural Poverty Bead Party toolkit

Group activity, recommended books and videos, and more


Meet Omollo Sarah, shea nut gatherer


BeadforLife's Shea Program