It is estimated that 1.3 billion people live on less than US$ 1 per day. This number is growing steadily as civil wars, loss of employment and restructuring of societies are creating newly poor groups. Respect for human rights, meeting basic human needs and more equitable distribution of wealth, are clear priorities for the eradication of poverty. Ultimate success, however, will only be ensured when there is a willingness and commitment on the part of the non-poor to assist in the elimination of the human degradation which poverty creates.
The United Nations Decade for Poverty Eradication (1997-2006) is a worldwide endeavour to confornt the problem of human degradation caused by abject poverty. In this context, education plays an important role, however the question arises : "What can education do ?".
In response, UNESCO has initiated a programme in education that will contribute towards poverty eradication

.A consultation was held on the Role of Education in Poverty Eradication with representatives of other agencies and from governments (UNDP, UNICEF, The World Bank, WHO, Netherlands co-operation, Malawi, Guinea, Sentro - an NGO in Mali). This was followed by a round table held with experienced personnel in the field during the 29th session of the General Conference. A draft framework for action has been prepared in co-operation with the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP), an NGO based in Norway and distributed to other sectors and agencies.
UNESCO with the support of UNDP has undertaken a five country study on education and poverty alleviation. The report has been printed and widely distributed.

UNESCO helps, through its development strategies, to create an environment conducive to poverty alleviation -Link to Netaid Website

Under the signed Memorandum of Understanding with Grameen Bank, UNESCO prepared a draft programme framework for the education of the families of Grameen Bank members. For the initial phase of the programme, research was done on the educational needs of 500 Grameen Bank families and a training and information programme was started in 22 training centres with 22 trained facilitators. A resource centre and two mobile resource boxes "Hiramon" attached to rickshaws have been constructed. They carry information and education to the people in their villages.
Training and information booklets have been prepared and utilized. Grameen Bank has established an Education Trust with a Director for managing the education programme. An information brochure on the programme is available at Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.