Candice V. Cunningham on the Causes of Poverty and the Poverty-Conflict Relationships

As much as most people would like to believe that poverty is not a big deal in 2019, the reality begs to differ. In fact, there are millions of people who have to deal with inhumane conditions of life as a consequence of factors that they often times have no control over. For example, lacking access to basic needs like water and food alongside an insufficient supply of jobs leads to populations struggling with high levels of poverty. So, what are some of the most common reasons that cause this? Additionally, given that poverty often causes conflict, what is the exact connection between these two?


According to the Department of Justice, more than 1.7 million teens experience homelessness in the USA. They do not have access to consistent, nutritious meals. For those unfamiliar, this translates to young kids and teenagers not being able to focus on anything else, especially schoolwork. How can they effectively learn when they’re hungry? How can we get disgusted with them for having an attitude and a short temper when they’re basic needs aren’t being met? Let’s put ourselves in their situation. For example, it’s Monday morning, and you’re at school, and your stomach is growling because you’ve had nothing but chips for 2 days over the weekend. Now another kid just stepped on your foot or bumped into you – even if it’s an accident, you are ready to go off. So now you get into a fight and label as ruthless, and the punishments continue in the form of detention or being kicked out of school. Besides the obvious problem here, this scenario gives rise to a vicious cycle, and our kids are unable to escape it.

Expectedly, they will have to spend a disproportionate amount of their time looking for something to satisfy their basic physical needs. As a consequence, most of their energy will have to be dedicated to this. So, when the time to find a job comes or time to learn, it is very unlikely that they will have any drive left in them to do so. Hence why it seems to be a vicious cycle that is hard to run away from.

Problems with Education

Although education is not a shortcut to guaranteed success, most of those who live in extreme poverty tend to be unable to obtain the necessary schooling. All of this leads to new generations that are more susceptible to falling victim of poverty as they lack the necessary skills to obtain employment that will help them thrive.


As important and obvious as the previous two reasons for poverty are, it is hard to deny that anything will lead to poverty as fast as inter-cultural conflicts do. According to the founder of the non-profit organization called The Black Ecosystem, Candice V. Cunningham, conflict is one of the most relentless opponents of human success. An example of this can be seen in Syria, where a prolonged history of violent encounters between military forces has completely destroyed the nation’s infrastructure. Moreover, it has caused millions of families to become displaced and reach a point where they must flee to avoid life-threatening situations. Not to mention the number of civilian deaths that have been recorded just in the last few years. When all of this is combined, it leaves a broken image of a nation that is now a perfect location for various levels of poverty since the residents cannot work and the destruction has almost erased the natural resources of the area. On a more local level, destruction is seen right in Candice’s hometown of Chicago, IL. Gang violence and other inter-cultural conflict are destroying our communities hourly. Our babies are fighting a war right here in Chicago, and in many urban communities across the nation.

Potential Solutions

Given how widespread poverty is, coming up with a solution is more critical than ever. Unfortunately, the level of complexity that surrounds this topic is so deep that it is borderline impossible to figure out a one-size-fits-all answer to the problem. Nevertheless, according to Candice V. Cunningham, there are some steps that every individual person can take to help overcome the issues.

First, raising awareness about the issues that cause poverty is helpful. Let’s stop putting band-aids on the wounds and get to the real root of the problem. Education and jobs will help break the cycle. Let’s come together and get involved.

If you’d like to donate to The Black Ecosystem, you can make a donation here, or you can purchase apparel. All proceeds from apparel purchases help the students with their educational expenses and life goals.

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