Source: USAID Blog
In 465 days we will see which Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) we achieved and where we fell short. As the focus sharpens on progress and impediments to reaching our objectives, the clearer it becomes that the eight MDGs are fundamentally interdependent. Progress towards an individual MDG can accelerate advancement elsewhere; stagnation in one area risks impeding progress towards other goals. To advance, we must balance the focus on single sectors with a cross-sectoral vision that ensures we foster long-term prosperity and well-being.
This interconnectedness is driven home every time I visit the field. In Kenya, I spoke with women and men about a project to increase resilience by diversifying sources of income; communities were given six cows to fatten and sell for a profit. The business helped the community ride out droughts and increase income (MDG 1). It also empowered women (MDG 3) by vesting them with responsibility for the animals, traditionally a man’s role within Maasai society. The women, in turn, used the profits to pay school fees for families too poor to send their kids to school, contributing towards universal education (MDG 2).
Data makes the intersections even clearer. For example, fostering universal primary education (MDG 2) promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment (MDG 3). The World Bank finds that a girl’s completion of primary education will increase her lifetime wages by 5 to 15 percent. That investment can also reduce child mortality (MDG 4); according to the United Nations children under 5 have a 5 to 10 percent lower mortality rate for each additional year their mothers are educated. Universal primary education could also reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS (MDG 6); UNICEF estimates that educated girls are half as likely as uneducated girls to contract HIV/AIDS.