The Millennium Development Goals (MDG), when declared in September 2000 must have seemed unreal to most with any grasp of the world’s poverty situation. However, more than 10 years after, it seems like the goals were exactly what the world needed to get the ball rolling in an organized fashion.
Global Monitoring Report 2011: Improving the Odds of Achieving the MDGs—an update on meeting the targets, published by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund—says that two-thirds of developing countries are on track or close to meeting key targets for tackling extreme poverty and hunger. It also predicts that with improved policies and faster economic growth, these countries can still achieve the targets in 2015 or soon after.
Trends are positive, as latest stats show that the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day is projected to be 883 million in 2015 as compared with 1.4 billion in 2005 and 1.8 billion in 1990. With more commitment from development partners and governments, the situation could be even better. The report places Nepal in the group of nations that have achieved more than 50 percent of their targets on most key issues.
Heifer’s projects in Nepal address key issues of the Millennium Development Goals. Through the Values-Based Holistic Community Development model, Heifer helps poor families overcome poverty using livestock, agriculture, improved skills and microcredit. Families move out of poverty to start contributing to the economy. Heifer also strengthens social structures and bonds, creating a strong community social capital. This modality creates a safety net for people who have recently overcome poverty, assuring that they don’t fall back into poverty with the next fluctuation.
Perhaps in the race to the MDG finish line, the implementers and development partners need to look back at the work done and assess its sustainability. It only takes a small mishap, economic, environmental or others, for the stats to change to negative. Social safety nets and community development foundations assure that the community is proactive in predicting these fluctuations and has a plan to mitigate their effects.
No doubt Heifer’s model works. Now it’s time to accelerate our work and do more. It’s time to put the pedal to the metal.