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Millennium Development Goals: Reversing Extreme Poverty by 2015

A Life Changed

Acan, age 11, Uganda

Welcome to the most ambitious agenda you’ve likely never heard of — one to which ChildFund contributes daily.  

On Sept. 8, 2000, the 189 member states of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration, which included a commitment to “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty.”

In 2001, as an action plan based on the Declaration, the U.N. General Assembly endorsed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a list of specific, targeted steps toward measurably reversing extreme poverty by 2015:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
  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. Develop a global partnership for development.

Interestingly, almost 10 years since their unveiling, research commissioned by the U.N. Foundation showed that only 10 percent of Americans are aware of the MDGs’ existence. However, when those surveyed were presented with the details of the eight goals, 87 percent believed that the U.S. should be involved in the efforts to achieve them by 2015.

This September, organizational and world leaders will convene in New York at the U.N.’s MDG Summit, to accelerate the MDGs’ progress. (Read ChildFund President Anne Lynam Goddard’s blog.)

By definition, almost any active humanitarian organization is working toward at least one of the MDGs. ChildFund’s programming touches most of them, especially those directly concerning children and women.

To learn about one example of our many efforts toward MDG 1 — to “halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less that $1 a day and who suffer from hunger” — look at some of our work in Ethiopia.

Because ChildFund’s community-based approach is holistic, many of the children we serve benefit in ways that address multiple goals. Acan, who lives in Uganda, is one child who benefits from this holistic approach.

In addition to this example of progress toward eradicating poverty and hunger, ChildFund has made Acan’s education possible — a full course of primary schooling for all children is the chief aim of MDG 2. Malaria, which is the sixth goal, is only a bad memory to this young Ugandan. She and her family now have access to a safe water source, which is part of MDG 7.

ChildFund’s work in Afghanistan also addresses multiple MDGs, from eliminating gender disparity at all levels to reducing by two-thirds the under-5 mortality rate.

And how many of the MDGs does ChildFund work toward in Sri Lanka? We invite you to take a stroll through our archives at to learn much more about how and where we work to reverse extreme poverty worldwide.