The Millennium Development Goals or MDGs are listed as follows
- Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
- Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
- Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
- Goal 5: Improve maternal health
- Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
- Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
As we draw close to the deadline by which the goals were meant to have been achieved I sense an increased nervousness as in some countries we are no where meeting those goals.
Last week the BBC screened a documentary Zimbabwe’s Forgotten children by Xoliswa Sithole a south African film producer who grew up in Zimbabwe.
Xoliswa had started out with an idea of making a film about her childhood in Zimbabwe but instead took a different course as the reality of life for children in Zimbabwe unfolded before her eyes. The film follows young children in their roles as carers of terminally ill parents, bread winners for their families and all they want to do is play or go to school. They tell us time and time again we want to be like other children, go to school and play!
I am not the soapy type that cries during films but like Xoliswa I found myself sobbing uncontrollably as the children recounted the day to reality of their existence and the pain they felt. I felt her pain and wanted to reach out and do something there and then. I could finally understand why my good friend Kevin dubbed the BANANA MAN started on a journey to feed thousands of children in Zululand a land he had never visited or even heard of
Fortunately the film ends on a positive note as all the children were removed from their dire circumstances into better environments where they could be looked after.
Back to the heading of this post- Are Millennium goals helping me?
Given the evidence presented in the BBC’s documentary ZIMBABWE’S FORGOTTEN CHILDREN- the answer would be an emphatic NO. The documentary dated 2010 depicts children and women for whom the first 4 goals have not been met with no prospect of that happening either.
Questions that come to mind as I think about this are
- what should the UN and the rest of us do to ensure that the MDGs are met by 2015?
- Is it too late for some?
- What is really stopping us from achieving those goals
As Xiloswa repeatedly pointed out Zimbabwe used to be a country that took pride in its education system exported food all over the world but has reduced its citizens to starvation and disease.
If the MDGs are to be met, why is the world standing by as a nations falls apart in this way and innocent children suffer so?
Do you think the Millennium goals are working for such children?
Do share your views.