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A Glimmer of MDG Success
Isn't it funny how something's popularity can integrate it quickly into common, generic American lexicon? To record anything on TV is now not just a universal noun, Tivo - but you also can Tivo (even if you have DVR). To Google is the verb form of Google the website, and pretty much means any websearch, even if you happened to Ask Jeeves instead.
Speaking of said search juggernaut Google, I'm signed up for a few "Google Alerts" (Why? Because they're fun, informative, and keep me more in touch with what's going on with my job/life than I otherwise would be) - including one for "Millennium Development Goals" - hits that invariably are from foreign presses, hardly ever any domestic ones. Having been on this job with Bread for the World for well over a year now and having traveled to Scotland for the G8 and getting to meet poverty-fighting delegations from all over the world, it is readily apparent that the MDGs are regularly discussed, prominently written about, and taken very seriously by the rest of the world. The Goals were an international agreement and are achievable and mean the difference between life and death for millions of people.
And yet we hear hardly peep about them in the United States. Well, certainly Bread for the World and the ONE Campaign seek to change that...as do other partners in the ONE Campaign. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of setting up a Bread for the World Offering of Letters Workshop here in Austin. Our keynote speaker was Philip Berber, chairman and CEO of A Glimmer of Hope, a ONE Campaign partner and an organization doing amazing, sustainable development and poverty reduction in Ethiopia. Mr. Berber made a fantastic presentation on how their money is used (100% to effective projects) in the "entrepreneurial" style of development - a business-like mentality like Bill and Melinda Gates have and that our government is capable of with a little added attention and effort.
It was inspiring to hear their successes - but also to hear him make the connection between the on-the-ground they are doing as a foundation and the need for macro-level action at the policy/governmental level that Bread, DATA, ONE, et al work on to make sure there's a "fence at the top of the cliff, not just ambulances always being driven at the bottom" in the words of Bread founder Art Simon. His presentation was truly a testament to the achievability of the MDGs...
Oh yeah, my Google Alerts! Here's the connection and one of the alerts I received today, from AllAfrica.com: UNDP Lauds Ethiopia's Efforts to Meet the MDGs. It was fitting (and extremely hopeful) timing I thought in light of Mr. Berber's presentation and the example they are setting in that country - and I can't help but know that A Glimmer of Hope is somewhat responsible for the high marks given the country in that article. Mr. Berber also mentioned AGOH's approval from the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and how AGOH works "with the government, not through it" to maximize development in that the people themselves decide what they need money for - clean water, good schools, etc - and it's achieved, built, done by them with investment. How exciting! (And a welcome distraction from my typically venting rants at my own blog)
Now, if only articles like the one above were daily headlines in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, etc. - Americans already supportive of ONE would see that success can happen with their voice and those just stumbling across the news would be uplifted and seek out how to keep this progress going. The circle of life. And success. And knowledge.
And before you know it, the MDGs will be the next "hip" addition to Webster's Dictionary. And "to MDG" will be the verb used when all the countries meets their goals. And when you're busy celebrating this monumental occasion out in the streets with your neighbors, remember to ask Jeeves to Tivo the nightly news on every major network for you for posterity. It will be that big - here, there, and everywhere.
Until that day...
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