The end of May saw the unveiling of the final report of the UN’s High Level Panel, co-chaired by David Cameron, on what will replace the Millennium Development Goals during the next chapter from 2015 to 2030.
The 12 new Goals proposed in the UN’s report remind me of the 6 goals in Jeevika’s own Operating Plan for our work in village India during the coming 3 years, and what’s nice is the key aims that we share – ‘empowering girls and women’ is the UN’s no. 2 priority, and ‘universal access to water & sanitation’ is their no. 6.
Actually these are very closely linked, and we rate water & sanitation as the top of our ‘conditions for livelihood’ in the villages where we work: two particular examples are restoring traditional village water resources to stop women wasting half their days walking for water, and channelling rain water from school roofs to supply toilet and washing facilities dedicated for girls to stop them opting out of school.
Ensuring health & nutrition are the UN’s new no. 4 and 5 Goals, and we see them as equally integral to village livelihood. For example, we support two of our Indian NGO partners providing specialised support to HIV/AIDS sufferers in Tamil Nadu, particularly women, while village seed banks and worm-composting techniques are two ways we help women to set up and maintain kitchen vegetable gardens for better family nutrition.
No. 8 of the new UN goals is ‘creating jobs and sustainable livelihoods’. Extra income generated by women through working in Self Help Groups typically finds its way to the heart of the family in a way that their husbands’ earnings don’t. In Orissa, one of India’s 3 poorest states, our projects for women’s honey-production, and for crab & prawn cultivation for export, are having measurable impacts on family well-being.
The phrase ‘Small is Beautiful’ constantly comes to mind when little organisations like Jeevika can contribute to universal development goals by leveraging their efforts through on-the-ground NGO partnerships and women’s groups in village communities.
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