• Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Development for the Developing World

Much attention in this country is given to the amount of financial aid that we and other developed countries give to developing nations – particularly in support of the UN Millennium Development Goals. So it should be. However, financial support is only one part of the equation. It is also essential that people in developing world receive the training and support necessary to create sustainable businesses that can make them self-sufficient and in charge of their own destiny.

Many NGOs and even for-profit companies are working on this. Micro finance is a big business – made famous in part by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner (along with Grameen Bank) Muhammad Yunus in his book, Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty (btw, his latest book is calledA World Without Poverty).

Yunus and Grameen Bank deserve a post of their own. However, I write today to tell you about Technoserve, whose mission is to “help entrepreneurial men and women in poor rural areas of the developing world to build businesses that create income, opportunity and economic growth for their families, their communities and their countries.” They live into this mission by focusing on three practices:
• Developing Entrepreneurs
Identify and train aspiring entrepreneurs.
• Building Businesses and Industries
Help build thriving enterprises and industries, linked to dependable markets.
• Improving the Business Environment
Promote progressive business practices and a supportive business environment.

Technoserve was founded in 1968. In 207, they helped 706 businesses to achieve sales of $149 million. That’s quite a success story! Currently, they partner with such corporate titans as Google.org, Microsoft, Lenovo, Cargill and others. They also receive substantial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID. I encourage you to read more about Technoserve by clicking here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just ONE Question

Only two questions about global poverty have been asked in the history of modern presidential debates.

It's a shocking figure and in 2008, we need debate moderator Jim Lehrer to ask John McCain and Barack Obama "Just ONE question" on their plans to fight global poverty.

I just took action with the ONE Campaign and you can too, here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

High-level Event, UN Headquarters, New York, 25 September 2008

This year marks the halfway point on the schedule set for the completion of the Millennium Development Goals. The UN Secretary-General and the President of the UN General Assembly have called a high level meeting in New York on September 25 to discuss the status of the MDGs and the potential for the future.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the following of this meeting in April:

"The year 2008 should mark a turning point in progress towards the MDGs. ...Together with the President of the General Assembly, I am convening a special High-level Event on the MDGs on 25 September in New York. This gathering will bring together world leaders, representatives of the private sector and our civil society partners to discuss specific ways to energize our efforts. I expect the meeting will also send a strong message that governments are ready to rise to the financing for development challenge. I look forward to working with Member States to make the September event an unqualified success. Together, we must make this year one of unprecedented progress for the poorest of the poor, so that we can realize a better, more prosperous future for all."

This is an important meeting when world leaders will talk about their commitments to the MDGs. Lets hope that their resolve is strong and that the will of the people compels them to redouble their efforts to accomplish these incredibly worthwhile goals. Learn more here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Sad State of the Campaign

I haven't blogged in a while - got a little tired after the two national conventions. I'm dismayed at the way that the campaign has evolved. Why are we so obsessed with McCain's choice for a running mate? What does the choice say about McCain's judgment? Does education, demonstrated intelligence, a grasp of the issues even matter anymore? It is scary to think that the candidates can stoop so low given the gravity of the issues that we face as a nation - both internationally and domestically. The events of this weekend involving Lehman, Merrill and AIG are a case in point. Clearly, there is much purging yet to come in the banking system. These are real issues that deserve real, substantive consideration by the candidates, including the VP nominees. I believe that the two presidential candidates are men of honor and considerable skill. It is sad to see them stoop so low - to see them compromise what I believe to be their values just to win.
Come on people - rise above the pettiness, live what you believe, wrestle with the issues honestly, and let the people decide based on real information!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Girl Effect

Did you know that 72 million children do not attend school and that the majority of them are girls. Want to change the world? Give these girls the opportunity to go to school and to get an education. CARE says: "When girls gain basic skills like reading and writing, they grow up to earn twice as much money as their peers without education. They have fewer, healthier children. And they are more likely to reinvest their earnings in their families and communities."

Watch a cool CARE video called The Girl Effect by clicking here.

Of course, the same holds true here in America. Invest in education, in providing literacy training, in giving children the opportunities that many of us take for granted. Nothing is more life transforming, individually and systemically, than basic education. That is why it is one of the Millennium Development Goals (#2, behind ending poverty and hunger).

It is the beginning of a new school year here in America. As you drive your child to school, or watch him or her get on the bus, think about the incredible gift that they receive each day. And then think about the fact that millions of children will never receive that gift - unless we do something about it.

Learn more at CARE.org.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Reflections on the Political Conventions

I watched as much of the Democratic national Convention last week as I possibly could. I loved the speeches by Michelle, Ted, Hillary and Bill. I especially liked Beau's introduction of his father, and of course, Joe's speech. I felt energized, hopeful, and encouraged by the passion, eloquence and enthusiasm of each speaker.

I was so filled with anticipation as I waited for Barach to address the convention from Mile High. It was the forty-fifth anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech. What a great time to see Barach Obama accept the Democratic nomination for president. He didn't disappoint. Hs eloquence is amazing. He gave content to his ideals, and he demonstrated that he has the ideas necessary to lead America.

This week, the Republicans meet. Part of me wants to say, "Who cares." Part of me wants to watch and comment sarcastically on Twitter or my Facebook status update. It is as though no matter what any of them say this week, I won't possibly like it. It is not helpful to be that closed minded. I do myself and the people with whom I converse a disservice by not embracing the process with an open mind. It makes me wonder how many of us are so partisan in our politics that we are more concerned about winning than about leading, more concerned about being right than about listening to others who just might be right as well.

So, as much as I don't want to do it, I'm going to listen with as open a mind as I can muster. I'm going to listen to Sarah Palin tonight and listen to how she plans to help John McCain to lead this country should the Republicans win. I'm going to listen to John McCain tomorrow, and rather than dismiss him outright, I'm going to think about what he has to say.

I encourage all of us to remain open, to learn from those with whom we disagree, and to recognize that all of us want what is best for our country, even if we disagree considerably about what that is. This is no Joe Lieberman appeal to Democrats to support McCain. It simply is an appeal to listen rather than speak, to consider that we can learn from "the other side" and a reminder that the political debate, ultimately, is good for all of us.