Getting a Fair Share

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This essay compares a developing 3rd world country with New Zealand a well developed 1st world country. It will discuss and measure the main points Wealth, Health, Education and Nutrition in these two very diverse countries.

Niger is a poor, landlocked Sub-Saharan nation ranked the 171st most undeveloped country in the world, whose economy centers on subsistence agriculture, animals, export trade, and lesser and lesser on uranium (which has been a major income for Niger) because of declining world demand. The 50% reduction of the West African franc in January 1994 boosted exports of livestock, many vegetables, and the products of Niger’s small cotton industry. The government relies on economic aid from the richer and more developed countries of the world which it has received a substantial amount of in the past. Despite much economic aid life is still very hard in Niger, 64% or 16/25 of people in Niger are earning below 1$ a day.

On the other hand New Zealand over the past 20 years has transformed from a country dependant on British Market export access, to a more developed free market economy that can compete worldwide. This energetic growth has boosted New Zealand’s incomes; broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector for example the Per Capita income has been rising over the last 20 years and is now 80% of the level of the four largest European economies. New Zealand is very dependant on trade, especially in agricultural products.

So to sum it up New Zealand’s economical status is on its way up while Niger’s is still trying to find its feet and with foreign economic aid it is slowly progressing.

The health and nutritional situation in Niger is serious. This situation is very worrying as it has not improved over the last ten years. Niger has one of the highest rates of Vitamin A and iodine deficiency. Even in areas of Niger which have good agricultural production these still problems occur. The average per capita per day food consumption is only 1930 calories. However, 60% of government expenditures in Niger are on food.

The rates of malnutrition among children are high throughout the country. Over 32% are undersized – half of them severely undersized, over 15% are exhausted, tired and over 36% are underweight. Niger has high occurrence of diarrhoea disease in infants 43% of children under 5 have diarrhoea. In cooperation with the World Health Organization, Niger is attempting to control such diseases. The government enforces some labour and health laws, and operates hospitals, medical centres, and dispensaries. Most social welfare services, such as care of the aged, disabled, or orphaned children, are left to the traditional tribal and family social system. Niger has high rates of infant and child mortality – 350 die out of every 1000 born.

Young first delivery mothers and above all, feeding habits such as early weaning of newborns 4-5 days after birth fed on water, herbal teas and cow’s milk partly explain the infant and child mortality. New Zealand’s health and nutrition status is very different to Niger’s. Instead of children needing more food, 35% of people in New Zealand are overweight, eating the wrong foods and under exercising. Only 50% of children are not eating the recommended amount of fruit or vegetables per day. Calorie intake is in excess of requirements for all ages.

Many kids and teenagers play a lot of video games and watch too much television, in Niger such technology does not exist. 13% of children in New Zealand do no physical activity in weekends. Life expectancy is about 76 years for men and 80 years for women. New Zealand was the first country in the world to introduce a full welfare system. Until 1990 the benefits provided were among the most complete in the world, including free medical and hospital care, pensions, unemployment, family problems, disability, and sickness benefits. However, since then many welfare benefits have been reduced in value and availability and charges have also been introduced for some medical care.

To sum it up most people in Niger are lacking a basic diet, clean water, toilets and the other requirements needed for living a basic healthy lifestyle. On the other hand most New Zealander’s have an ample diet although the obesity level is a worry due to exercise and too much fatty food. Most families have clean purified water, toilets and a shower in their houses.

Education in Niger is hard to come by. Although schooling in Niger is free and supposedly compulsory between the ages of 7 and 15 only about 32% of the children receive an education. This is because of a shortage of teachers and the wide spread nature of the population Other reasons for this are religious beliefs and although most people agree with the idea of schooling for children some see it as a “den of wickedness” for girls.

Others think that the school does not properly prepare girls for their future roles as mother and wife and are worried attending school might interfere with girls marrying at the appropriate age. Many girls are married off at as young as 12. There are only 2,400 students attending professional schooling with well trained teachers. Advanced training is available at the University of Niamey. Only 24% of adult males and 9% of females have fluent literacy. A positive sign is that this statistic has improved 6% over the last ten years along with school attendance and employment rate.

In New Zealand education is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 16 years, but most children enter school at 5 and continue until they are 18. State-funded education is free from the ages of 5 to 18 and the national examination NCEA taken in year 11, 12 and 13 is the key to starting your education in New Zealand. In most areas there are pre-school facilities for children between three and five years of age. 99% of people in New Zealand over the age of 15 can read and write and the unemployment rate is only 4.7% of the available work force.

To sum it up New Zealand’s education system is a lot more advanced than that of Niger’s for example there is 2647 schools in New Zealand, Niger only has 1164, the population of Niger (11,360,538) is four times that of New Zealand’s (3,993,817). So New Zealand has twice as many schools yet a quarter of the people of Niger.

This essay compared two very diverse countries Niger and New Zealand. It explained the vast differences and the harsh realities and I’m sure after reading it you now realise how lucky you are living New Zealand.

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