United Nations Millennium Campaign

Written by AmeriCorps members Asya Tsarkova and Hope Brigham

Every month, the AmeriCorps members participate in a monthly training day as part of our service year. Our trainings topics have varied from group formation and community outreach, to resume building, and cultural sensitivity. Our AmeriCorps group has been very lucky to have presenters from both the Community Health Center Inc. and outside agencies. On Tuesday May 15th our Global Health themed training was one of the unique trainings in which our own members created a presentation for us. The informative presentation was on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.  Callie Moore, Corazón Irizarry, and Brianna Martinez put an incredibly informative presentation on three of the millennium development goals: child health, maternal health, and combating HIV/AIDS. It is always a wonderful experience to be intellectually stimulated by your peers and Callie, Corazón, and Brianna did just that with the presentation they worked so hard on. It included a jeopardy game, a fascinating presentation on all three of the millennium goals, as well as Corazón’s  first hand experience with studying maternal health and intercultural birthing practices as part of her Fulbright in Cajamarca, Peru. Can we have “amazing AmeriCorps peers” for 200 please, Alex?

End poverty by 2015 is the main goal, or promise, as it is referred to by the creators of this initiative. This historic promise was made by 189 world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 when they signed onto the Millennium Declaration and agreed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Our presentation described the eight goals as: 1) Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty 2) Achieve universal primary education 3) Promote gender equality and empower women 4) Reduce Child Mortality 5) Improve maternal health 6) Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases 7) Ensure environmental sustainability 8) Global partnership for development. We were given more detailed examples of the goals about child mortality reduction, maternal health improvements, and the fight against major diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. These goals were set in place with measurable targets and clear deadlines for improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. World leaders have agreed to achieve the goals by 2015, and although they have been working hard since 2000, they still have a lot of ground to cover. The most important aspect of this entire initiative is to generate awareness and work towards fulfilling each goal.

The Millennium Development Goals are viewed as a unique opportunity to finally end poverty. For the first time, commitments have been made at the highest political level to see these Goals achieved and end extreme poverty. For the first time, there is an agreed global compact in which rich and poor countries recognize that they share the responsibility to end poverty and its root causes. The main idea is that the world has the money, resources and technology to achieve these Goals.  For most of us AmeriCorps members, this was the first we were hearing about these goals.

Our fellow members did a fabulous job taking a certain goal and breaking it down by the major targets established by the campaign leaders. Every few years, each goal is tracked and reevaluated with statistical data that can determine if efforts are working in any way. For example, goal number six is about combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. There are 3 targets within the goal which are: 1) have halted by 2015 & begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. 2) Achieve by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it. 3) Have halted by 2015 & begun to reverse the incidence of Malaria and other major diseases. As of recent investigation, target 1 has been noted and the officials have said “The spread of HIV Appears to have stabilized in most regions, and more people are surviving longer”. Target 2 has been described as “in 2003 an estimated 400,000 people were receiving the life-prolonging treatment for people living with HIV; 5 years later, by December 2008, that figure had increased 10-fold- to approx. 4 million people”. Target 3 had an update almost 8 years ago of “If current trends are sustained, the world as a whole will have already achieved the goal target of halting and reversing the incidence of tuberculosis in 2004.” The target is now focusing more on eliminating risks if malaria with mosquito net distribution, and proving readily available treatment of HIV/AIDS to the world’s poorest, regions.

As you can tell, this campaign is filled with a huge amount of information about many specific topics and goals that go into even more detail once you really dissect into them. I barely touched upon one goal’s targets and updates, and even with the information provided, I know there is way more to cover to actually understand this campaign as a whole. This presentation really generated a lot of thoughts about what goes on in the world on a daily and yearly basis to provide the people of the world with the most basic of needs. It’s hard to think that CHC works so hard to tackle the health disparities among the citizens of Connecticut at a successful rate, and then we realize that millions of people die from lack of proper nourishment, lack of health education, lack of immunizations, lack of global efforts all across the world…but people are out there every day trying to improve and extend lives in one way or another. The model CHC instills within the Health Care field is something that should be mimicked. Our year of national service here within the US is designed to strengthen communities in many different ways, and we sometimes forget about exactly what the entire world deals with when it comes to ALL contributors of poverty, not just the ones we are familiar with here in the states. It definitely was a great campaign to learn more about, especially as a training tool as we prepare to finish up our time with AmeriCorps and move onto future endeavors. We recommend learning more, Millennium Development Goals Combined.Final is the PowerPoint presentation created by our fellow members. Enjoy!

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