Monday, 11 June 2012

Contributing to the Millennium Development Goals

We've mentioned previously that this project is addressing two different Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.  Here's a bit more about what we're doing and how it's contributing to realizing these goals.

Millennium Developmeng Goal # 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
It's easy to imagine the difference universal education could make in the world.  Making education accessible to all youth is a huge way to break the cycle of poverty.  With education comes employment.  With employment come opportunities - not just for yourself, by for future generations.  This might be the best way to reverse the downward spiral to absolute poverty.

Madagascar 2012 is contributing to this by making education more accessible in rural areas, which are normally quite difficult environments to promote education in.  Youth are normally needed for farming and other work.  Transportation to school is also quite difficult in rural areas.  By building dormitories, youth, in particular girls, will be able to board right at the school.

It's not just about primary education though.  By contributing to the accessibility of secondary education, which Madagascar 2012 is doing, the literacy and numeracy gained in primary school go further than simply developing youth.  It literally contributes to developing a nation.

Millennium Development Goal # 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
This one might seem a little unclear.  How do we promote gender equality and empower women?  There are a lot of great ways to do this, and in fact, this project will deal with this goal in three different ways!  Gender inequality can be found around the world in many different ways.  One way is through access to education.  This is a big one.  If girls cannot go to school, they are bound to work in what is considered a very vulnerable sector: being self-employed, or working unpaid within the home.  When girls are able to attend school, they can contribute to so many different parts of society.  They are able to secure gainful employment and serve as role models to other girls.  This is where the dormitories come in.  Barriers to education for girls include simply not being able to get there.  By building a campus and dormitories for girls, they will be able to board right at the school, eliminating the need for daily transportation to school.

Another barrier to gender equality is the presence of designated sanitary facilities for girls and boys at school  This goes a long way to promote gender sensitivity and awareness by showing that men and women are different, but equal.  It also contributes to a safer school environment for girls.  This aspect of gender equality is being addressed by building a washroom facility on the secure campus for the girls who are staying at the dorms (and other girls who are attending the school).

More than anything though, by making it possible for girls to go to school, it reduces their domestic responsibilities, which have traditionally included tasks like fetching water (also addressed by this project by digging wells right in the community).  When older girls are literate, employed and educated, they serve as role models for younger girls.  It makes it possible to imagine something much bigger than might have otherwise been possible.

Want to learn more about the United Nations Millennium Development Goals?  Visit http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/

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