Entries for 'Angie Vredeveld'

How the High of Shopping Can Hurt our Giving
In previous blogs, I’ve written about psychological barriers that prevent people from donating money or donating more money to those living in extreme poverty. These have included diffusion of responsibility, feeling ‘cheapened’ by requests for money, and parochialism. In this blog, I suggest that addictions therapy and research might have something to teach us about barriers. Perhaps the key to giving more is understanding the nature of and learning to modulate our urge to spend.
Limitations of Parochialism
While many people might consider it natural and even preferable to focus limited resources on our own communities, we must move beyond our parochialism in order to effectively combat extreme poverty. How can we raise awareness of global poverty, and how can we understand the plight of those who live very different lives from ours? Angie Vredeveld examines several ways we can assess our role to help the world's neediest people.
The Value of Money
Earlier this year, I spent a few months working for a NGO in Uganda. The majority of the people with whom I worked lived in extreme poverty (using the World Bank definition of at or below $1.25 per day.) It was not uncommon for me to encounter people who ate one meal a day, children wearing tattered clothes, people who had to lug 25-pound jerry cans of water to boil so they had something to drink.
Identifying Barriers
As a psychologist, I spend a lot of time trying to understand human behavior. If there is one concept that I reference more frequently than any other, it is that of my former grad school professor, who said, “People don’t come into therapy to be told what they should do. People already know what they should do. They need help identifying the barriers that are preventing them from doing it.” ... In blogging for The Life You Can Save website, I’d like to focus on what I think are the most common barriers that prevent people from giving money to those in extreme poverty. My intention is to elaborate on the barriers identified by Peter Singer in The Life You Can Save by sharing my perspective as a psychologist working in the US and Sub Saharan Africa and my perspective as a human being who struggles daily with how much I should give.

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