We can work together to bring hope and change. Photo: Ralph Hodgson/Tearfund
We can work together to bring hope and change. Photo: Ralph Hodgson/Tearfund


By Helen Gaw

In September 2000, 189 nations agreed to the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The aim of the goals is to halve extreme poverty in all its dimensions by 2015.

Ten years since the goals were agreed, the world's leaders are again meeting to review progress. It is now more obvious than ever before that climate change is perhaps the greatest threat to the MDGs. Our environment needs sustaining, otherwise we will not be able to meet the goals - we may even end up in a worse position than when the goals were set.

The goals are related to each other and often progress in one goal means progress in another. For example, improved sanitation will help to reduce maternal and child mortality (Goals 4 and 5), reduce the spread of some neglected tropical diseases (Goal 6) and encourage girls to stay in school (Goals 2 and 3).

This issue encourages us to persevere, even though the goals are so large that we might wonder whether we can make a difference. A Chinese proverb says 'The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones'. Faith can also move mountains!

Overall the progress made so far is too slow to achieve all the goals by 2015, but as many of the articles in this issue show, there is always a reason for hope. As well as doing some simple practical things, we can speak out, asking our governments to act and keep the agreements they made in 2000. Micah Challenge is bringing together Christians and churches in many nations to do just that. Perhaps there are some activities in your country you can join?

The next issue will focus on Leadership.  

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 83 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 83, please click here (680KB).

  • Bringing hope to the slums

    by Dr Kiran Martin. It is estimated that more than one billion people in the world live in slums. By 2030, it is likely that five billion people will be living in cities. Four billion of these will be living in cities of the developing world. One in five of the world's slum dwellers live in India. Although India as a country has become richer in recent years, the situation for people living in the slums has not changed.

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  • Combating tropical diseases

    Goal 6 aims to reduce the incidences of life-threatening diseases. More than one billion people - one in six people in the world - suffer from one or more of the diseases that the World Health Organization has called 'neglected tropical diseases'. These diseases can debilitate (weaken), deform, blind and kill. Here we share some practical advice about four diseases, one in each of these categories.

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  • Education for all in Haiti

    by Joanna Watson.  Good quality basic education can transform a society. However, many poor families in Haiti do not have schools in their communities. Where schools exist, too many people cannot afford to send their children to them.

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  • Fair trade

    Compiled by Helen Gaw. Goal 8 is about countries and international organisations working together to relieve poverty. The goal includes developing fairer policies between rich countries and poor countries, the reduction of poor countries' national debt and increasing worldwide access to communication technologies and medicines.

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  • How to build a bicycle ambulance

    People often die because they cannot get help quickly enough. Mothers and babies die in childbirth because they are too far from a skilled attendant. Men suffering wounds from fighting or from an accident at work bleed to death because they cannot get to a hospital quickly enough. People suffering from life-threatening sicknesses sometimes die because transport to find help was not available or they could not afford it.

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  • Improving health through water, sanitation and hygiene

    by Sue Yardley. Reducing child and maternal mortality are targets within Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. In 2010 many donor governments and international agencies are focusing on these issues. There has been some encouraging progress in meeting these goals, but greater effort is still needed to achieve them. Improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene education (WASH) can help significantly to improve the life chances of children and ...

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  • Preparing to give birth - A choice for women

    by Dr Maureen Dar Iang. In some countries in the world, women can choose how and where they would like to give birth. Different kinds of care are available. Often women can choose whether to give birth in a hospital or at home.

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  • Promote gender equality and empower women

    by Idrissa Ouédraogo.  From my point of view as a man, I consider women and men as partners in all the processes of life. That means they should share rights as well as responsibilities within the family, and in the whole community and society.

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