All posts tagged: Millennium Development Goals

SDG 7: Access To Energy Can Lead To Gender Equity

At this time last year, the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was being analyzed as their 15-year stretch was coming to a close. As I contribute to the Girls’ Globe coverage of the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this year, I think back on an article I wrote about MDG 4: Reduction of child mortality. ​The MDGs were launched in 2000, and projected to be accomplished by 2015. Last year, I wrote about how we failed to meet the targets for MDG 4 . The UN update on MDG 4 explained that, “Despite determined global progress in reducing child deaths, an increasing proportion of child deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. Four out of every five deaths of children under age five occur in these regions.” A few questions arose for me upon hearing about the roll out of the SDGs: “Are we just throwing the MDGs by the wayside?” and “Will the SDGs be treated in the same way; if they fail, they will be forgotten in 2030?” Through reading …

The Power of the Adolescent Girl

When the Millennium Development Goals were implemented in 2000, Naw Cynthia was an adolescent girl striving for an education with little support from her family, her country of Myanmar, or the world at large.  Today, as global leaders recently met for the United Nations General Assembly to establish new goals for 2016, the face of this agenda is an adolescent girl – a girl in school, safe, not married off, and able to aspire to follow her dreams. The theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child on October 11th is ‘the power of the adolescent girl’.  Global communities are being called upon to commit to critical investments in quality education, skills, training, access to technology and other learning initiatives that prepare girls for life, jobs, and leadership. The world recently witnessed the courage and power of an adolescent Pakistani girl, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafazi, who fought the Taliban for her right to attend school.  Malala’s story, detailed in her book I Am Malala and her upcoming documentary, He Named Me Malala, …

MDG 5: Moms still need our help, especially in rural areas

By Kristyn Zalota, Founder of CleanBirth.org As we approach the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, it is clear that many countries will not achieve the 75% reduction in maternal mortality prescribed by MGD Goal 5.  According to the World Bank, “…of all the MDGs, the least progress has been made toward the maternal health goal.” The good news is there has been 45%
 drop in maternal mortality between 1990-2013 with the rate of maternal deaths shrinking from 380 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 210 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013. There is consensus that future efforts must be focused on women in developing countries. 99% of the 800 women who die each day due to birth-related complications live in the developing world. Just 50%
of women in developing areas receive sufficient antenatal care. More than 24% women/girls in sub-Saharan Africa lack family planning services, leading to unplanned pregnancies and HIV. We also now know that within developing countries, there are often disparities in maternal care between rural and urban areas. UNDP finds, …

Education is the Answer

Education enables girls to achieve their rights.  It empowers girls with confidence and independence.  It provides girls with a path out of poverty, and it gives girls hope for a better life. Education is a silver bullet for empowering women and girls worldwide.  Education is the ANSWER. But girls need access to education.  The primary barriers preventing girls’ access to education are lack of schools, distance to schools, conflict, hunger and poor nutrition, school fees, disabilities, and being the ‘wrong’ gender. Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady Delta is one of the poorest-of-the-poor regions in the country.  Access to education is severely hampered by typical barriers as well as weather, geography, and natural disasters.  Cyclone Nargis wiped out 60% of the schools in the southeast portion of the Delta in 2008.  Villages in the Thabaung district are flooded half of the year from monsoons and the Delta’s low lying lands just 3m above sea level.  Children typically travel to school by boat, frequently traveling through shark-infested waters. Educational Empowerment, in collaboration with Helping the Burmese Delta, recently built a primary …

Women Inspire: Self Reliance through Education

Written by Melody Mociulski, Founder, Educational Empowerment Having just returned from 3+ weeks in Myanmar, I am struck by the numerous instances I witnessed of girls and women empowered by education – all resulting in their increased independence, self-confidence, and self-reliance. In today’s world of injustices, human rights abuses, and violence, it was uplifting to learn of positive outcomes and the power of the human spirit.  During my visits with Educational Empowerment’s (EE) partners, I interviewed numerous women and girls to learn of their life struggles, dreams, and thoughts on education. It was saddening to hear their stories of trauma created by poverty, sexual assault, natural disasters, and violence.  Yet, it was extremely inspiring to see how education has helped them to overcome these tragedies and to prevail. Naw Cynthia, one of EE’s partners, told me of the physical and sexual abuse she endured during her childhood.  She always knew that education would be her liberator.  Cynthia is now a well-educated and respected proponent of quality education and literacy in Myanmar.  She shares her story with adolescent …

Education: Girls’ Beacon of Hope

Written by Melody Mociulski, Chair and Founder of Educational Empowerment Girls around the world today are struggling to achieve their basic human rights – protection from forced labor, early marriage, conflict, and sex slavery; access to education; prevention of needless death from pregnancy and childbirth; freedom to determine for themselves their life path. In the face of these ongoing and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, natural disasters add yet one more barrier for them to overcome. On Friday May 2nd, 2008, Cyclone Nargis, the 8th worst cyclone ever recorded, hit the Ayeyarwady Delta in Myanmar.  Approximately 150,000 people were killed, and 20,000 girls and boys were orphaned. Villagers were starting their day as usual when all of a sudden the wind whipped up the river and the water began to rise.  Trees and houses crashed down and floated away.  Families were separated.  Darkness came.  Although crying of children and animals could be heard, no one could see anything.  The water kept creeping up.  In the morning, all was mud and destruction. Children tried to find their families …

Maternal healthcare in Tanzania: Giving thanks for little victories

For those of us passionate about improving access to quality maternal healthcare, thinking about progress towards the MDGs can be disheartening. But this holiday season, as we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, we are reminding ourselves to be grateful for the little victories. A long way to go It’s a sobering fact that, despite encouraging steps in the right direction, we are very far from reaching our goals (1). The global maternal mortality ratio has dropped by 45% between 1990 and 2013: far short of the 75% target. The maternal mortality ratio in developing regions is 14 times higher than in developed regions. 300,000 women worldwide died in 2013 due to pregnancy or childbirth related causes. Tanzania: The national context Kupona Foundation is a non-profit committed to improving access to quality maternal healthcare in Tanzania. If I focus on the Tanzanian context, the picture is still bleak. Every year, 8,000 women die as a result of childbirth or pregnancy related causes (2). For every woman that dies, 20 more will develop an infection, injury or …

Conflict and Displacement: Impact on Girls’ Education

Can you imagine living as a refugee – or as a stateless person with no nationality?  Camps overflow with cramped quarters, no privacy, insufficient latrines, and scarce school options.  Girls are tasked with gathering firewood. They easily become prey for assault when venturing out at dawn to gather wood. The number of refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced and stateless people worldwide has, for the first time since World War II, exceeded 50 million people.  80% are women and children. Failure to resolve and prevent conflict is the number one cause of this displacement.  And it’s the primary barrier preventing children – especially girls – from realizing their right to education. Myanmar has been immersed in civil wars and conflict since the 1960’s. At that time the military junta enacted the Four Cuts policy, consisting of “attacking villages, forcing ethnic villagers to move into heavily controlled relocation sites, destroying their homes and crops, and planting landmines in their former villages and farms to prevent their return”. Impacts on displaced children are severe – increased risk of human rights abuses, …

The Hidden Price of a Girl’s Education

Fifteen year old Aye Sander lives in the Buddhist nunnery, Chanthar Aung Nunnery School, in the poor outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar.  An avid reader, she is receiving a quality education.  Unlike girls her age attending government schools which teach rote memorization, Aye Sander is learning critical thinking – how to identify, assess, and solve problems – an immeasurable life skill. 350 girls attend Chanthar Aung Nunnery School and forty orphans, like Aye Sander, live there.  With seven classrooms and eleven teachers, the school is overcrowded.  A new building stands nearby, half finished, without funding to complete the roof and flooring.  All their food is cooked over wood fires. Only one of the buildings has electricity. The school depends primarily on donations.  Novices walk through the village twice a month asking for rice and donations.  It is always a struggle to make ends meet and is made more frustrating by the fact that monks are allowed to ask for food on a daily basis. The head nun, a lovely and gracious woman, cares deeply for all the …

The Adolescent Girl Moment: Passion is Our Fuel But Not Our Plan

Guest blog post by Judith Bruce, Senior Associate and Policy Analyst, The Population Council In a recent interview, I was asked, “Can you tell a story of a girl who has touched you?” This question is not surprising; the stories of the poorest girls in the poorest communities are compelling. However, although these stories fuel our passion, they do not reliably move us to effective action. Without clear, targeted, evidence-based plans and resources on the ground, the impressive adolescent girl campaign will have few lasting results. Images of girls, individual success stories, and the recent UK/UNICEF Girl Summit provoke the powerfully emotive right side of the brain, but may not fully engage the logical and analytical left side. It is that left side we require to move this agenda forward and to Earth. Further, the very success of this beautifully crafted campaign may unintentionally suggest that girls’ telegenic presence in development communications reflects substantial programmatic investment on the ground. It does not. Though investments in poor adolescent girls are central to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals, …