On September 25th, world leaders are gathering in New York City to chart our progress on the Millennium Development Goals. These goals are eight goals that come out of the United Nations. 189 member nations of the UN, along with 23 international organizations, have signed on to achieve these goals by 2015. These goals are concrete steps to reduce and/or eliminate extreme poverty. Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than ONE US DOLLAR per day.
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 stability
8. Develop a global partnership for development
The book that has made the most difference for me, in terms of really understanding the Millennium Development Goals, is the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It describes the work that Mortenson has done over the past fifteen years in Pakistan and Afghanistan, building schools, promoting gender equality, and empowering women. As a side effect, Mortenson's work has also reduced child mortality, combatted disease, and fought terrorism in those areas.
Mortenson's organization The Central Asia Institute is doing amazing work in a part of the world where people live in extreme poverty and where access to education for all children is limited and for girls is often very rare. I have committed a large portion of my charitable giving to the Central Asia Institute.
I challenge readers to educate themselves about the Millenium Development Goals, to investigate organizations working to eliminate extreme poverty, and to commit themselves and their resources to working to make these goals a reality.
"The world now has the means to end extreme poverty. We pray that we will have the will to do so." -A prayer for ending extreme poverty written by Jonathan Denn.