More than 700 million people struggle to live on less than $2 a day, but PBS travel guru Rick Steves, the longtime host of “Rick Steves’ Europe,” says innovative solutions across the world are changing that.
In his new documentary “Hunger and Hope: Lessons from Ethiopia and Guatemala,” Steves looks at different ways the two countries are increasing access to water, education and food.
“One of my concerns for the past decades are what are the structures of poverty,” Steves said on “Chicago Tonight.” “I want to explain that you can fight hunger or extreme poverty because you love your neighbor, or fight it because you want to be the world to be stable and safe.”
In the hourlong documentary airing March 26 on WTTW, Steves travels around Ethiopia and Guatemala, showing how development aid has changed over the years. Rather than encouraging farmers to move to cities, for example, nonprofits are empowering people to sell their products globally. And they’re focusing in on women, in particular.
“[Nonprofits] recognize that it is women who are the responsible ones, they’re the ones who can spearhead this kind of development,” Steves said.
Steves says nonprofits are not just giving people technology, they’re letting communities own it and “be good stewards.” And there is a lot of low-hanging fruit when it comes to aid, he said. For example, someone with an open-pit fire in their home can replace that with an elevated stove, which leads to less deforestation and respiratory problems.
“The show is five minutes of desperation and 55 minutes of hope,” Steves said.