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Web of Poverty

Often, poverty is not caused by one thing, but by many things acting together. Brainstorm some of the different causes of poverty and create a web to show how they are connected.

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  • What are the causes of poverty?  
  • How do these things cause poverty?  
  • Who are these causes most likely to affect? 


  • Work together to brainstorm as many causes of poverty as you can. Some examples: natural disasters, war, corruption, and illness.  
  • Write down each cause on a small piece of paper and give a cause to each person. Have everyone share the cause they were given and discuss how this causes poverty.  
  • Stand in a circle and have one person take the ball of string and wrap the string loosely around their finger. That person will pass the ball of string to someone whose cause is connected to theirs. For example, someone who holds a card that says “drought” could pass the ball of string to someone whose card says, “crop failure”, since a lack of water can cause crops to die.  
  • Continue passing the ball of string from person to person. Make sure you wrap the string around your finger before you pass the string. At the end you will have a web that shows how the causes of poverty are connected.  
  • It’s alright for someone to get the string more than once because some causes are connected to many other causes.  


  • Did you find any causes of poverty that weren’t connected?  
  • What causes of poverty do you think are most common in your community? 
  • How can the causes of poverty you brainstormed be fixed? 
  • Remember to submit your activities on our Scouts for Sustainability Take Action Map


  • Pencils and paper 
  • A ball of string or yarn 

Keep it Simple

If you don’t have time to brainstorm the causes of poverty before you create your web, you can use this list: natural disasters, climate change, extreme weather events, war, crop failure, unemployment, unfair wages, where you live, corruption, illness, lack of education, lack of jobs, hunger, discrimination, lack of access to healthcare.  

Take it Further

Discuss how fixing one of the causes of poverty could reduce the risk of other causes. For example, if we reduced climate change than there might be fewer extreme weather events.