In which John examines the progress of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals over the last 15 years and looks ahead to the Global Goals. Can we live in a world where extreme poverty and undernourishment are rare? Are we closer to gender equality? How have infant mortality rates and maternal mortality rates changed in the last 25 years? And how will we ensure that the astonishing progress since 1990 continues?

Learn more about the Global Goals
Thanks to Gates Notes for letting me borrow bits of their excellent videos on the MDGs 
Undernourishment graphs from Max Rosen, ‘Hunger and Undernourishment’ - Our World in Data

When Malala Yousafzai found out last Friday that she’d won the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi, the 17-year-old Pakistani girl didn’t celebrate immediately. Instead she returned to a chemistry class at her high school in Birmingham, England.

The Nobel Prize, she joked on Friday, is “not going to help in exams.” Then she said: “I want to see every child going to school. There are still 57 million children who have not received education.”

What needs to be done to reach those unschooled children? Goats and Soda spoke with Jacqueline Bhabha, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and director of research at the university’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights who specializes in children’s rights.

What Will Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize Mean For Girls’ Education?

Photo credit: Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

One-day social media action to raise awareness of MDG successes and push for achievement of the Goals by 2015 

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993, when the General Assembly, by resolution 47/196, designated this day to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries - a need that has become a development priority.

At the Millennium Summit, world leaders committed themselves to cutting by half by the year 2015 the number of people living in extreme poverty - people whose income is less than one dollar a day. 

This years theme is  Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace”.

UN Resources:

Beginning tomorrow, I’ll be taking a 50 day trip in partnership with the United Nations, supported by the Secretary General’s MDG Advocacy Group. I’ll be posting portraits and stories from the trip on the blog. We’re calling it a ‘World Tour,’ because the trip will span over 25,000 miles and circumnavigate the globe. But since there are only ten countries on the itinerary, it would be rather foolish to claim that these portraits and stories somehow represent 'the world,’ or humanity as a whole. The point of the trip is not to “say” anything about the world. But rather to visit some faraway places, and listen to as many people as possible. 

In addition to gathering portraits and stories, the purpose of the tour is to raise awareness for the Millennium Development Goals, which are pictured. The MDG’s are eight international development goals that every member state of the UN agreed we should accomplish by the year 2015. Basically: they’re stuff that everyone can agree the world needs. (More info can be found here: So in addition to telling stories of individuals, we hope this trip may in some way help to inspire a global perspective, while bringing awareness to the challenges that we all need to tackle together. Hope you enjoy.

Today, the United Nations Secretary-General marks 1,000 days until the target date for the Millennium Development Goals. UNICEF is seizing the opportunity to launch a digital journey through its dream for children.

The story of global development – of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Millennium Declaration – is not an easy one to tell.

Impressive gains have already been made: Over two billion people more gained access to clean and safe drinking water between 1990 and 2010; in many countries, many more children are now attending school and many more women are able to give birth safely.

What UNICEF and our partners have been striving for:

■That those children most in need are well-nourished and cared for.
■That more children go to school.
■That boys and girls look forward to equally bright futures.
■That more mothers are in good health.
■That more babies live to their fifth birthday – and beyond.
■That sick children get the care they need, and healthy children stay healthy.
■That more children have safe, happy childhoods, and adults know that it is a child’s right to have one.
■That more children drink clean and safe water.

Now, to mark the 1,000 day milestone, UNICEF is unveiling another element of that voice through a dedicated microsite: Launched today, UNICEF is inviting the public to use the site to follow the story of the development agenda that was set in 2000, and the impact it has had on children.

The  microsite showcases the inspiring advances made for children through the joint efforts of UNICEF and its partners and draws attention to what still needs to be done to improve the life of the hardest-to-reach child – the ‘last child’.

What kind of dreamer are you?..visit our Last Child Microsite and decide for yourself.


12 Ways You Can Help End Extreme Poverty Every Day

One billion of the world’s people live on $1.25 per day. That’s why the United Nations has made ending extreme poverty by 2030 one of its central goals.

Collectively, these 17 goals are known as the Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs). They follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were established in 2000 and will end on December 31, 2015.

The MDGs fell short in three major areas, the U.N. reported: women’s and girls’ equality, environmental issues, and poverty eradication.



Millennium Development Goals: Celebrating successes and innovations

(Video via ukdfid)


“Let’s get to work! In 2000, the world community committed to meet eight goals by 2015 on poverty, education, gender equality, child and mother mortality, HIV, the environment, and development. Are you curious to know where we stand? More girls are in school and child mortality has dropped - watch this short video on the #MDGs to see where we have made progress and what still must be done.” -UN WOMEN
Sanitation Issues in Ghana

My former Kumasi housemate, Nathan, just wrote this well-researched blog post discussing one of the biggest development problems in Ghana: lack of sanitation.  Nathan returned to the UK in December, but during his six months in Ghana he worked to build latrines in a rural village near Kumasi.  He and I were chatting the other day about a World Bank statistic I found: less than 20% of Ghana’s urban population has access to sanitation facilities.  Among African countries, Ghana ranks second to last.

My experience with the lack of access to “excreta disposal facilities" has been disturbing.  It still upsets me that some schools have computer labs but don’t have any toilets.  NO TOILETS.  No pit toilets, no running water, nowhere for students to go but the bushes or the "urinals” (which just drain into the bushes), nowhere for a girl to attend to herself during menstruation, and nowhere for a student to go #2.  For the schools that do have toilets, they are so disgusting that some students still choose to defecate in the bushes.  The amount of shit on the floors and walls of these toilets, not to mention the flies and bugs in some of these facilities, is appalling.  As gross as it is, the fact that it is such a problem makes me wish I was doing work to solve this basic need.

So, kudos to Nathan, to the great work he did on water and sanitation with Ashanti Development, and to his continued dedication to bringing these problems to the forefront of development conversations.

Children are the makers and the markers of sustainable societies
Author: Richard Morgan, senior advisor on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at UNICEF
Published: - 26 June 2013

The world is gearing up for the 2015 target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). At the same time, work has started on a new framework to guide priority efforts for human progress – including the eradication of poverty in all its forms.
Collectively, we now have another opportunity to set the course for a global sustainable development agenda. That brings many priorities and concerns different people will want to see included.
It will come as no surprise that the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is making the case that children are at the heart of what sustainability requires. 
Those of us immersed in all things “post-2015” speak about integrating the main dimensions of sustainable development - social, economic and environmental, underpinned by the principles of human rights, equality and sustainability - as the cornerstone for a new agenda. We hope it will take a people-centred approach, in which future human progress is led by and accountable to those whose lives are at stake.
We see children at the centre of this because they are both the makers and the markers of healthy, sustainable societies. They are the canary in the coalmine - the earliest warning we get when things go very wrong.
They are the first to suffer the adult sins of omission (neglect of their needs) and commission (violence and other violations of their rights). Children’s nutrition, health, safety, education and other rights are inextricably linked to future economic growth and shared prosperity, to a safe environment and more stable societies. We neglect these rights at our peril.
Evidence shows that how a child develops in the first 1,000 days of life will have lifelong implications for that child, and for society as a whole. Safe, healthy and well-educated children make up the foundation for society to thrive.
A lack of investment in child nutrition, health, care and education can lock individuals and their families into cycles of poverty for generations, and can be an entrenched barrier to their countries’ future progress.
Take stunting, for example. Dozens of countries report up to 40 percent of young children still suffering from stunted growth, with six countries exceeding 50 percent, according to the World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report 2012.
Preventing childhood stunting can help break the cycle of poverty and increase a country’s GDP by at least 2 to 3 percent annually, avoiding billions of dollars in lost productivity and healthcare spending. Childhood deaths and stunting are warning signs of failing, unsustainable development.
Exposure to violence also has life-long implications – from brain injury and physical trauma to depression and development delays. Children exposed to violence can often turn to drug abuse, criminal, violent and other risk-taking behaviours later in life. 
Because their bodies and brains are still developing, children are also more vulnerable to environmental pollution and the stresses of climate change. They are physiologically less able than adults to adapt to heat and other climate-related extremes. The effects on children of scarce and contaminated water and food are well-known.
Children today will shape and determine the societies in which they live. When a child is in poor health, has compromised brain functionality due to poor nutrition or trauma, does not receive a quality education, or does not feel safe at home, school or in the community, that child will be less likely to fulfil his/her potential as a parent, employee or entrepreneur, consumer or environmental protector.
Denying the individual child his or her rights deprives the entire human family of the benefits that derive from those rights.
Lastly, children are not passive recipients of development. They are the group with the most to win or lose from its success or failure.
At a recent U.N. Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals in June, a young woman called Ralien Bekkers spoke on behalf of the Major Group on Children and Youth. She challenged governments to “Talk, listen and work together with us for the challenges of our futures…We must become partners and allies for sustainable development.”
She pointed to examples of young people who are coming up with innovative solutions to major global challenges: an 18-year old Indian-American student who built an energy-efficient 20-second cell phone charger; a high school student in the U.S. who invented a fast and inexpensive cancer detector; and a 19-year-old boy from the Netherlands who has proposed a system to help clean plastic from the oceans.
We need children and young people to be empowered, supported and motivated to address the challenges we face globally and in our own societies. And they will only be able to meet those challenges if we invest in their health, nutrition, safety and learning opportunities today. Our common future depends on them.
UNICEF has recently released a position paper: Sustainable Development Starts and Ends with Safe, Healthy and Well-Educated Children.

Photo caption: Swaziland, 2009:  Children clap at a morning assembly at a UNICEF-supported child-friendly school in Mbabane.

Photo credit: © UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi


One Direction announced their partnership with Action2015 to campaign for a better future and asking our involvement to call upon world leaders to set ambitious goals to fight poverty, inequality and climate change. RainbowDirection/Takemehomefromnarnia and World Almighty see this as a chance for all of us to make a very real difference in the world. We are thousands, and if we bring our voices together, we can bring about more positive change than if we work alone.

In 2015 the Millennium Development Goals expire. This September, world leaders will set new development goals for the next fifteen years to tackle climate change, as well as poverty and inequality, worldwide. This is important to every single one of us, and it’s important that the goals that are set are inclusive of all genders, orientations, religions, ethnicities, etc because discrimination leads to inequality, poverty and the slowing down of development.

In countries where discrimination of LGBTQ+ people and people of certain religions, genders and ethnicities is reinforced by the law, these people do not enjoy equal rights to education (due to bullying or simple lack of access), housing (being disowned by family), and health (HIV/AIDS prevention). These inequalities are unacceptable in themselves, and they can also lead to entire communities being deprived of resources for development, as demonstrated by the story of Alex and Michael, two gay Ugandan men, recounted here.

Therefore, please join us in getting world leaders to make ambitious commitments to inclusive development. Your voice could influence world leaders at two crucial United Nations summits later in the year. And as part of Rainbow Direction/Takemehomefromnarnia and World Almighty, let’s join forces to increase our chances of being visible and having our voices heard.

We think that the world leaders should explicitly condemn discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, as well as religion, race, ethnicity and cultural identity. They should also call for data on the experiences of LGBTQ+ people and other minorities.

So let’s tell them about our experiences! Of course, our diversity is our biggest asset. There may be many world issues you feel passionate about, and we encourage you to speak about all of those in your submission. As members of the Rainbow Direction and World Almighty communities we encourage you to also include your personal experiences of discrimination in your submission, and to accompany that with a warm plea for world leaders to make eradication of discrimination an explicit goal for the future. You could include the above recommendation as well. And one thing’s for sure - the more rainbows, the more diversity, the better!


  1. I Want To Live In A World Where… Record a short video, wearing your rainbows if you like, talk about your experiences and show support for inclusiveness, equality and eradication of discrimination on all grounds.
    Examples: X X X X X X X X X X

  2. Celebrate. We can make a difference if we come together. Record a short video of you and/or your friends celebrating rainbow-style

  3. Dear Leader… Record a max. 30 seconds long video of yourself telling your leaders/government what things you want to see changed for the LGBTQ+ community in your country/state/county. Remember to start with “Dear…”

    Here is an overview on homophobic laws in countries worldwide

  4. “I am a…” Record a video telling Action1D that you are a member and/or supporter of the LGBTQ+ community or a Rainbow Directioner in less than 5 additional words! 
    Examples: X

  5. Moving together. Record a short video of you wearing rainbow/pride socks, laces or shoes (or little rainbows on your shoes) or kicking a rainbow coloured ball.  

  6. Post a link to your video(s) on your blog and tag them #rainbow direction and #world almighty. We will make them into a compilation and share them further!

Upload all of your videos here

Video Guidelines 

Click here for more information

More Videos (outside of the official guidelines): X X X X X X

If you are in one of the pictures used above, please get in touch so we can give you proper credit

Hundreds of young people from across the world are gathering in New York City to seek ways to strengthen youth leadership and accelerate the achievement of the anti-poverty targets known as the UN Millennium Development Goals.

More here:

Photo credit: Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations

Tune in on Thursday for a Google+ hangout on ICTs can help youth leaders. Details:

Pay attention to the conversations in your classrooms-
Semester abroad. Peace Corp. Mission trips. Missions to save the continents still cleaning the mess left behind by people who looked like you.
“Liberate Muslim women”
“Help Africa”
“Like our page.”
“Don’t forget. Donate.”
You. inherited their blood.
Of course the culture of colonization still bleeds in you.
I see you.
Fight our Hunger Crisis
but not your cousins whose corporations
Kill our soil
Pollute our rivers
Loot our resources. Source of our poverty still runs in you.
I see. you.
Millennium Development Goals
So Uncle Sam sends Monsanto with GMOs
Like his father who not long ago
Raped our motherlands
Reproduced diseases
and generations of babies growing up bleaching our skin and our spirits
You. are not like them
But like them. You
Resemble manifest destiny
Reproduce dependency
and generations of babies immunized with doses of imperialism
that make us immune to ideas of resistance.
Peace. Love. and Passiveness…
Transform our revolutionaries into commodities,
Appropriate our culture-
Yoga, Kufiya, Dreadlocks, Tattoos
everything is appropriate when it’s done by you.
I. see. you.
Courtesy of your church charity
We have
given up on our goddesses but worship your dreams,
The American Dream
because even while asleep our aspirations are six shades lighter these days…
We became the Third World
not because we couldn’t run
but because the race was white
and so you came first.
You. are still obsessed
with us
You. are still blessed
because of us
See us?
See us!
Not Underdeveloped.
Not The Third World.
the infinite that’s been holding your whole world,
In pain, and in pieces…
But here, still here
and, We. See. You.
Neha Ray
—  I will not let you forget

VIDEO REPORT: Turning the Tide against HIV/AIDS

Ahead of major international conference, UNICEF stresses need for innovation to eliminate new HIV infections

On 22 July, experts will gather in Washington, D.C., for the International AIDS Society’s biennial conference on rolling back the HIV and AIDS epidemic. UNICEF will host a leadership forum stressing the need for innovation in eliminating new HIV infections in children. This video (and story - see link below) is part of a series illustrating UNICEF’s efforts on behalf of children and women affected by HIV.

Learn more:

Assessing Progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals

The Economic Commission on Africa(ECA) has released the 2011 Millennium Development Goals(MDG) Report

This report is organized as follows. After this first introductory section, Section II assesses progress on each of the eight Goals. Section III takes as its thematic focus social protection programs as they relate to the MDGs in a selected number of African countries. Section IV concludes with recommendations on the way forward.

Previous Reports: