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Global Issues


The First Step to Creating Change: Understand the Issues

New Global Citizens was started with the intention of connecting youth to real global issues faced by their local and global communities. After better understanding these challenges, students are empowered to help create sustainable change.

NGC Global Issues address many of the challenges faced by communities around the world and in the U.S. While these issues are complex, we believe every young person can and should play a role in solving them!

+ Extreme Hunger and Poverty

All types of poverty must be addressed to ensure the dignity of all people around the world. But combating extreme poverty is at the center of many international efforts. Around the world, 1.2 billion people are still living on less than $1.25 per day. In many places, $2 cannot provide basic needs – food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare.

Why do we think we can get rid of extreme poverty?

Because there is more than enough to go around! Some people will say that poverty is inevitable, that the world will always have it. But even just a few hundred years ago, almost the entire world was living in poverty—now it's about half.

People have created structures and systems to provide a better way of life. Empowered with this knowledge, it is our responsibility to make sure that all people have access to these structures—decent-paying jobs, healthcare, clean water, free education, etc. If we commit to this challenge, extreme poverty can be eradicated in our lifetime.

To learn more about this issue, go to Gooru.

+ Universal Education

According to the United Nations, there are 57 million children who do not attend primary school, and 50% of them are from Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a misconception that building more schools would alleviate this startling figure. The issue of providing universal primary education is much greater than simply providing communities in developing countries the bricks, mortar, and books needed to establish a school—beyond buildings and supplies there are much more complex barriers to education that it is necessary first to understand, and then to address.

Beyond an Education

For many children around the world, school represents something more than a place to receive an education. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) tells us that school also offers children a safe environment, with support, supervision, and socialization. Here they learn life skills that can help them prevent disease, such as how to avoid HIV/AIDS and malaria. They may receive life-saving vaccines, fresh water, and nutrient supplementation at school. Educating a girl also dramatically reduces the chance her child will die before age five.

When children do not have access to education they are at a higher risk of disease, exploitation, and abuse throughout their lives. This is particularly true for young women. Investing in girls’ education is one of the most critical ways anyone can assist in improving life for all people.

To learn more about this issue, go to Gooru.

+ Gender Equality

Gender inequality starts early and keeps women at a disadvantage throughout their lives. In some countries, infant girls are less likely to survive than infant boys because of parental discrimination and neglect. Girls are more likely to drop out of school and to receive less education than boys—they might be forced to work or assume caretaking responsibilities at home, or parents might not find it acceptable for a girl to be in school. If a family can only afford to educate one child, as is often the case in developing countries, it is almost always the boy who takes precedence.

In the United States we often talk about gender discrimination and unequal representation among presidents, CEOs, and other prominent positions in public life.

But on a global scale, we must focus on guaranteeing rights such as basic education for all girls and women.

To learn more about this issue, go to Gooru.

+ Child Mortality

Child mortality is defined as the death of a child before the age of five. One of the most horrifying characteristics of poverty is that it preys on the vulnerable and defenseless. This often means children. The main causes of child mortality are dehydration (often resulting from severe diarrhea) and treatable diseases. The leading illnesses causing child mortality are respiratory infections, diarrhea, malaria, measles, and HIV/AIDS. Preventable conditions, such as malnutrition and lack of access to safe water and adequate sanitation, are also major contributors to child mortality.

To learn more about this issue, go to Gooru.

+ Maternal Health

Maternal health is the medical care, nutrition and well-being of women before, during, and after they are pregnant and give birth. All women are vulnerable to a great number of health problems while they are carrying a child and afterwards, as a woman’s body undergoes great changes and strains to provide for itself and for the child.

While this is a huge advancement for humanity and women’s health, the numbers are still much too high: in developed countries, 1 in 3,700 women will die from maternal causes, versus 1 in 160 in developing countries. In much of the world, women rarely or never see a doctor or other healthcare practitioner during or after pregnancy. Because they do not have access to proper nutrition or medical advice, the rate of maternal death (during or just after birth) is enormous in the developing world.

Today, in much of the world, women rarely, if ever, see a doctor or other healthcare practitioner during or after pregnancy. Because they do not have access to proper nutrition or medical advice, the rate of maternal death (during or just after birth) is enormous in the developing world.

To learn more about this issue, go to Gooru.

+ Epidemics

HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis are working together to kill the world’s poorest people, who are the most vulnerable to these diseases. Together these diseases caused an estimated 3.5 million deaths in 2012. HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other preventable diseases are an obstacle to true development because these diseases perpetuate the cycle of poverty.


HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, rendering the body unable to defend against infections. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the condition caused when HIV has severely depleted the immune system and the body becomes unable to fight off infection and cancer.


According to the World Health Organization, malaria is one of the world's most common and serious tropical diseases. The already sick, malnourished, young, old, and weak are particularly at risk of death from malaria.

More than 41 percent of the world's population is at risk of acquiring malaria, and the proportion increases yearly due to deteriorating health systems, growing drug and insecticide resistance, climate change, and war.

Every 30 seconds, an African child dies from a malaria infection transmitted by a mosquito bite. Every day 25 million pregnant African women risk severe illness and harm to the unborn child from a malaria infection.


Tuberculosis has killed more people than any disease in history. It is a disease of poverty. It is widely recognized that the poorer the community, the greater the likelihood of tuberculosis infection. A lack of basic health services, poor nutrition, and inadequate living conditions all contribute to the spread of TB and its impact upon the community.

To learn more about this issue, go to Gooru.

+ Environmental Sustainability

We cannot have sound economies, sustainable societies, and healthy people without a healthy environment. Overuse of natural resources such as forests, land, and water has caused alarming changes in our natural world. When we say environmental sustainability, we mean a planned use of natural resources that is lasting and effective over time. Environmental degradation is damage to a local or global ecosystem due to human activity for short-term benefit. It occurs when nature’s resources are being consumed faster than nature can replenish them. There are many factors that lead to environmental degradation—all are linked to the poor use of natural resources.

To learn more about this issue, go to Gooru.

+ Economic Sustainability

Each of us wants to contribute to society, make a decent living, and not depend on others for our livelihood. Helping to create a global system of job opportunities and strong, local economies is essential to all our work. “Aid” is often portrayed as giving something to those who cannot support themselves. New Global Citizens approaches aid as a way of empowering people to support themselves, by helping to supply the first step towards self-sufficiency. Helping people create, find, and keep jobs with decent wages is one of the best ways to ensure economic stability for all. Providing access to technology, small business loans, and education is also key.

To learn more about this issue, go to Gooru.

+ Armed Conflict

Armed conflict is a state of open, often prolonged, fighting. Other terms that might be used to describe types of armed conflict are war, civil war, ethnic strife, genocide, guerrilla warfare, gang warfare, and terrorism. Many of the conflicts that we hear about in the news are really the reemergence of past conflicts that have only been suspended for a period of time. The causes of armed conflict are very complex and diverse. The causes often reflect the social, cultural, economic, environmental, and political atmosphere of the conflict-afflicted area.

To learn more about this issue, go to Gooru.

+ Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are caused by natural forces, but are also impacted by human actions such as climate change, environmental degradation, and population growth, especially in cities. To date, most of our actions have had a negative impact, but our actions can have a positive impact now and in the future if global warming/climate change, environmental degradation, and population growth are addressed in a comprehensive manner.

Common natural disasters include:

+ Earthquakes

+ Volcanoes

+ Tornadoes

+ Hurricanes

+ Floods

+ Droughts

+ Landslides

+ Tsunamis

To learn more about this issue, go to Gooru.

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