Why Poverty? guide

Next week ABC2 joins more than 70 international TV broadcasters across more than 180 countries in a cross-media event to raise awareness of issues surrounding Poverty.

Regular programming is put on hold in order to screen 5 documentaries to raise awareness for the issue of Poverty.

An estimated audience of 500 million people worldwide will see these.

The event does not ask for money, but asks questions, shares information, encourages debate and provides online resources.

“From questioning the cult of celebrity endorsement to investigations into the inequities of global trade, these films, from some of the world’s most celebrated filmmakers, offer a range of perspectives on poverty,” said ABC2 Controller Stuart Menzies.

Why Poverty?
9:30pm Monday, 26 November
Park Avenue

In Park Avenue, director Alex Gibney investigates how the extreme wealth of a few has created inequality for so many Americans.

740 Park Ave, New York City, is home to some of the wealthiest Americans. Ten minutes to the north, over the Harlem River, is the other Park Avenue in South Bronx, where more than half the population need food stamps and children are 20 times more likely to be killed.

In the last 30 years, inequality has rocketed in the US – many Americans now think the American Dream only applies to those with enough money to lobby politicians for friendly bills from Capitol Hill.

Through the story of the two Park Avenues, this remarkable film puts forward the argument that the extreme wealth of a few has been used to impose their ideas on the rest of America.

9:30pm Tuesday, 27 November
Give Us The Money

In Give Us the Money, director Bosse Lindquist looks at how and why celebrities have become the self-appointed spokespeople for Africa’s poor.

From Live Aid to Make Poverty History, Bob Geldof and Bono have been the most prominent voices advocating on behalf of the poor. But have the concerts and campaigns really lifted millions out of poverty?

Geldof, Bono and other celebrities speak candidly about how to lobby effectively and how to play to politicians’ weaknesses for glitz and popularity. But as their political influence has increased, so have the questions, with critics wanting to know why celebrities have become the voice of Africa.

Extreme poverty has, on average, reduced in African countries. But does an end always justify the means? Were Geldof, Bono and other popular figures right to take on this role and court the politicians? What alternative was there?

9:30pm Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Stealing Africa

In Stealing Africa, director Christoffer Guldbrandsen tells the story of global trade and corruption in Zambia where money and natural resources have ended up in the hands of the wealthy.

In a sleepy village in Switzerland, the wealthy residents are receiving more tax revenue than they can use. This is thanks to one resident: Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, whose copper mines in Zambia have done little to help the local people. Zambia has the third largest copper reserves in the world, but 60% of the population live on less than $1 a day and 80% are unemployed.

Now a public company, Glencore’s predecessor company was founded by Marc Rich, a highly controversial and ruthless American businessman who fled US justice in 1984. Along with its co-investors, the company successfully negotiated a royalty rate of 0.6% with the then Zambian administration – the lowest royalty rate in Africa. These terms, which the now-disgraced former minister for mines involved in the sell-off refused to discuss, leave Zambia out of pocket from the exploitation of its own resources.

Stealing Africa shows how neither the law nor morals determine the level of tax that investors pay in Africa – it’s more a case of whatever those in business can get away with.

9:30pm Thursday, 29 November
Solar Mamas
In Solar Mamas, co-directors Mona Eldaief and Jehane Noujaim look at how women try to find their way out of poverty.

Rafea is the second wife of a Bedouin. She wants a better life for herself and her children. The Barefoot College in India takes uneducated middle-aged women from poor communities and trains them to become solar engineers – bringing power and jobs to their communities.

This moving film follows Rafea as she overcomes difficulties to become a solar engineer, altering her life and that of her family. Along with a hand-picked group of other illiterate mothers and grandmothers from poor communities, Rafea’s training enables her to bring power to the remotest places. Literally, she is going to switch on the lights.

9:30pm Friday, 30 November
Welcome To The World

In Welcome to the World, director Brian Hill takes a trip across Cambodia, Sierra Leone and the USA to assess the prospects of the newest generation.

Each year, 130 million babies are born and not one of them decides where they will be born or how they will live. Their chances in life depend on the lottery of where, how and to whom they are born.

Cambodian babies are most likely to be born to a family surviving on less than $1 a day who scavenge the streets to survive. In Sierra Leone, chances of a baby surviving its first year are half those of the worldwide average. And the average life expectancy is only 48 years. Even American babies are at greater risk now than at any time in the last 20 years. They are more likely to grow up obese or be one of the 1.6 million homeless children living in the US today.

In his lyrical, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes deeply upsetting film, Hill travels to meet the women struggling to nurture, the clinics teaching feeding and nutrition through song, and the surgeons fighting to save mothers and babies.

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