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CEO of CARE Says Diversity and Partnerships Can Build a Movement to Address Global Poverty


The recipe for starting a movement to deal with global poverty is a simple one, said Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA. Diversity is the main ingredient, she told an audience at the Bank of America Auditorium in October.

“First of all, it takes people to make a movement,” Gayle said. “But it takes different groups of people around the table if you want to build a movement.”

Gayle, who appeared at Morehouse as part of the Leadership Center at Morehouse College’s Coca-Cola Leadership Lecture Series, said a movement that focuses on the world’s poorest people should become a global focus.

While the average American earns $44,000 a year, the average yearly wage in Honduras is $1,120. In Ghana, the average yearly salary is $450.

Of the world’s six billion people, Gayle said nearly three billion live on less than two dollars a day and don’t have adequate sanitation. Nearly one billion are chronically hungry or lack access to drinking water, she said.

“The things we take for granted everyday, somewhere in the range of a billion people don’t have access (to those same things),” Gayle said. “And the gulf is actually widening. It means we aren’t doing the things that we ought to be doing to get things moving in the right direction.”

CARE, which stands for Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, started in 1945 as a way to offer humanitarian aid to people who suffered from the ravages of World War II.

Since then, CARE has expanded its work to addressing poverty, education, health and other issues for nearly 70 million people in more than 70 countries worldwide.

But Gayle said CARE and its 13,000 employees also need help.

“We are a big organization,” she said. “But even all that that we do, we only reach 70 million people a year. We can’t do it alone…It’s important that we build partnerships…so we can extend what we do and extend what you do,” Gayle said. “It’s all part of the puzzle, so we can do what we need to do to solve the issue of global poverty.”

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