In the year 2000, the Millennium Declaration was signed by over 189 world leaders of countries around the world both rich and poor. The United Nations declaration set forth multiple goals aiming towards eradicating poverty and increasing access to health and education to empower persons globally. In 2002, the Millennium Campaign was launched to help all citizens advocate and participate in addressing the Millennium Development Goals that were set forth. The plan? To end extreme poverty worldwide by 2015.
The eight goals are: (1) End hunger; (2) Universal education; (3) Gender equity; (4) Child health; (5) Maternal health; (6) Combat HIV/AIDS; (7) Environmental sustainability; and (8) Global partnership.
We will explore each of these eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in this blog over the next few months.
Millennium Development Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger.
- In 2009, about 1.02 billion people were estimated to be chronically deprived of adequate food.
- According to The State of Food Inescurity in the World, the number of undernourished people increased by 105 million from 2008 to 2009.
(Both statistics from FAO and the Eight Millennium Development Goals, accessed at http://www.endpoverty2015.org/resources/.)
Through the focus on hunger in MDG1, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is focusing on three targets to achieve by 2015: halve the proportion of people whose income is less than US$1 a day; achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people; and halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. They are addressing the improvement of agricultural productivity and promoting better nutritional practices, as well as enhancing direct and immediate access to food by the neediest.
But I can almost hear you thinking as you read this, “Okay, I’m concerned about world hunger but I’m not sitting in the UN meetings. How can I be involved?”
1000 Conversations Campaign
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is one of many denominational women’s groups who have signed on to participate in the 1000 Conversations campaign supporting the 1000 Days initiative. You can read our press release giving more background here. Congregations, women’s ministry groups, and individuals can all sign onto the 1000 Conversations campaign. You can help spread the word about the important particularly of maternal and infant nutrition in the development of healthy children, which leads to healthy and productive adults who lift up their entire community. Such small steps for such great returns!
Additionally, Bread for the World is leading a collaborative effort including many women’s ministry organizations (including AB Women’s Ministries) in developing a Lenten resource focused on maternal and infant health. It will be available shortly after the turn of the year, so keep an eye out for that. We’ll be announcing it’s availability on our Facebook page, of course, so that’s one easy to find out when it’s ready!
Of course, there are many other hunger and poverty organizations–just choose one you particularly click with and go to work. We’re coming up on the holidays–consider an alternative gift market that features empowering gifts. When you’re doing your own giving, consider making donations to organizations in the names of your children’s teachers, Sunday school teachers, pastors, mail carriers, bus drivers, hair stylists, and so forth. Be an advocate on hunger and poverty issues by writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper about local hunger initiatives, set up a “backpack” program in your church that sends children home with a backpack of food to help them get through the weekend, and so forth. There are so many opportunities out there. Especially at this time of Thanksgiving when, here in the U.S., all the talk is about food, we should be thinking and praying for those for whom food is in short supply. Give thanks, and give.
This blog post is part of our series on the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations as part of the End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign. Millennium Development Goal #1 is “Eradicate Extreme Poverty and H.” Please visit www.endpoverty2015.org for more information on the MDGs, including fact sheets and updates on advances on this goal.