Thursday, August 21, 2014

Only Eight Goals Away...and 500 days to meet them

From website
This week, August 18, 2014 marked the 500 day milestone until the target date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's). The MDG's are eight goals established by the United Nations and governments around the world in the year 2000 to tackle some of the world's biggest problems surrounding global poverty. Each goal has concrete targets associated with it and a looming 2015 deadline. The goals are:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Create a global partnership for development

I believe in goals. I believe in strategy. When I first heard about the MDG's, I thought they were a brilliant idea for many reasons. Firstly, pulling all these root causes of poverty together and treating them as an interconnected problem with international cooperation increases our chance of success greatly. Secondly, the targets associated with the goals are very clear. (To see them visit They are not vague. They were set by experts with full knowledge of our technological capabilities and what our global governments can afford. Thirdly, they are exactly what the world needs to baby-step us toward a time when poverty does not exist.

Let me elaborate on that last point. Long before kids, I was a couch-to-marathon runner back in my 20's. That experience tells me that - given our human nature - the best way to reach a giant, seemingly unattainable goal is trick our brains by hacking it up in to smaller pieces and get there bit by bit. Don't believe me? Try to get a 4-year-old to climb up a mountain trail without using milestones. Adults and heads-of-state are no different. Anyway, that's what the MDG's are to me. They are milestones. Without milestones to hit, we will never win the race or summit the peak.

There will always be nay-sayers telling us we can't get there, but take this to heart: we've already hit two targets! We hit them hard and early. First, the Economist reported that global poverty in 2010 was half the level it was in 1990. In spite of global population grown and a massive worldwide economic downturn, fewer people are living on less than $1.25 a day. Then, the United Nations reported that in 2010, 89% of the world's population enjoyed access to safe drinking water. These targets would not have been reached without the MDG's behind them and grassroots advocates pushing for them.

I admit that I don't know where we are on all of the goals. Like many, I'll be watching and learning in the next 500 days. I'll also be sharing what I know about the ones I advocate on regularly and sharing in this blog how you can help. In this last countdown of 500 days, follow the Twitter hashtag #MDG500 with me to see who's talking about it and join the conversation. 

"8 Goals Away" at
For some inspiration and happiness, I invite you to click on this awesome song "8 Goals Away" by African artists that has never seemed so timely to me as now. They remind us, "Time is tick, tick, ticking...There's no time to delay." The world we dream of is only eight goals away!

Music by Jimmy Dludlu 
Lyrics by Eric WainainaCHORUS
Time is tick, tick, ticking
It’s ticking away
Hear the call for a through-ball
Yes! A luta continua
There’s no time to delay
The Africa we dream of
Only 8 Goals away.
Africa E!
Africa O!

People working for less than a dollar a day
And there’s no answer to the hunger
And the poverty never seems to go away
They’re asking how much longer?

Let the children go to school
Let there be no reason
They can’t get an education
I see the beautiful minds coming
From miles and miles like butterflies
Let’s feed the thirst in their eyes

If we teach a girl to read
A future generation rejoices, rejoices
Put a microphone in the hands of our sisters
Hear their voices, know their choices

We have the power at this very hour
To decide we’re losing no child under five
That they will grow and live to see their eighties
And live to see their babies’ babies

She puts his hand on her stomach
His other hand is on the heart, card in his pocket
Their doctor, knows she’ll make it
As for the baby that both parents created
Sitting at the gateway
They are new parents-to-be
Its a good, good day

We’ve made such major steps
In the right direction
We took the road less traveled by
We’ve pulled hard on the reigns of major sickness
No, we won’t bear the burden of the sadness

Smoke from factories
Killing rivers and trees
The water’s not drinkable
The situation’s unthinkable
We must have somewhere to go when we need to go
Overcrowded spaces
Like a maximum sentence

What we need is opportunity
A world in unity
A level playing field
See where we went wrong
Take a look at the replay
It’s time for fair play

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