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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?

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 do our best to reach the poorest people in the places where we work. For example, we identify the most vulnerable communities in a given area. Then, we meet with these people to find out how best we can help them.


One 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. For example, in Tanzania we have educated communities about how they can buy their own land, which is helping to improve livelihoods.

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.

Our charity work

We also focus on issues that prevent people from escaping extreme poverty. For instance, many of the countries where we work are experiencing or recovering from conflict. Also, most of the people we work with live in areas that are prone to natural disasters.

So, we are working to help people affected by emergencies. Other issues we focus on include HIV and AIDS, high food prices and climate change.

In depth

•    Read a paper about how Concern understands extreme poverty (pdf)