Goal #1: NO POVERTY

By Amanda Mootz, Advocacy Mobilization Specialist for World Vision

End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

In a rural Kenyan village in June 2016, I met John and Grace, a couple who had to bury two of their children just after their first birthdays because of malnutrition. Malnutrition sounds so clinical. They died because they didn’t have enough to eat. With my own 1-year-old son at home, I couldn’t hold back my tears as they shared their story. I know the sound of my son’s hunger cry, and I now understand how critical nutrition is for the exponential growth that occurs during a child’s first year of life and the years beyond. I could not comprehend the despair this mother must have faced as she watched her children waste away in her arms.

John and Grace put faces to the facts – 767 million people in our world live in “extreme poverty,” which the World Bank defines as living on less than $1.90 (USD) a day. This means that like John and Grace, there are 767 million others who have more mouths than they can feed, have no meaningful or stable work; no bank accounts or safety nets; no running water, electricity, or toilets; and no health insurance or access to basic health services. These families live at the mercy of what they can yield from their small plots of land, if they’re fortunate enough to have one, likely surviving on one meal each day…or less.

World Vision is working to end this crushing poverty in all its forms. In nearly 100 countries, we partner with national and local governments, community stakeholders, and donors to create a different future for families like John, Grace, and their children. But 767 million is a daunting number, and a compassionate response to poverty of this magnitude requires systemic solutions of equal scale. That’s why we advocate to the U.S. Congress about the importance of foreign assistance, supporting developing nations in improving access to education, health care, clean water, financial safety nets, and meaningful livelihoods for everyone.

Goal #2: ZERO HUNGER

By Steve Reynolds, Director of Advocacy Mobilization for World Vision

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Most of us know what it’s like to feel hungry. Maybe you had to skip breakfast and “tough it out” till lunch. Or maybe you were invited to a friend’s house for dinner and just couldn’t face the eggplant parmesan they served. When I’m hungry, all I can think about is food! Just imagine what life is like for the more than 795 million people worldwide who suffer from chronic hunger. Not the “rumbly tummy” kind of hunger that you and I feel, but painful, mind-numbing hunger that doesn’t go away.

This is the kind of hunger that Global Goal 2 seeks to address. It challenges us to end hunger and malnutrition – once and for all — by 2030, and to ensure access to safe, nutritious, and enough food for people worldwide.

World Vision knows from long experience that to end this kind of hunger, you can’t just rely on food “handouts.” While this may be appropriate in some cases — a sudden natural disaster for example — what’s needed is a complete system of activities that combine to make plenty of food available all year round.

We call it “food security.” In some places, it may look like an irrigation system, which allows farmers to grow two or even three crops in a year instead of one. In other places, it may look like a women’s cooperative where women can borrow seeds and tools, gain advice on how to grow more nutritious vegetables for their children’s health, or find markets where they can sell their surplus.

Ending hunger requires a holistic approach. Can a child go to school and study properly if she is constantly thinking about how hungry she is? Can a mother feed her newborn if she herself is severely malnourished? The answer is “no.” That’s why Global Goal 2 — Zero Hunger — is so vital.

Goal #3: GOOD HEALTH & WELL-BEING

By Lisa Bos, Director of Government Relations for World Vision

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Global Goal 3, Good Health and Well-Being, seems like an obvious goal for everyone in the world, especially regarding children. Addressing health was a major component of the precursor to the Global Goals, and a tremendous amount of progress was made in saving lives — since 1990: maternal mortality fell by 45 percent, and there has been an over 50 percent decline in preventable child deaths.

But success can sometimes lead us to think the work is done. With health, we know that’s not the case. Millions still die from malaria, HIV/AIDS, pneumonia, and diarrhea, not to mention the threats of diseases like diabetes and cancer. Thousands of mothers die every year during pregnancy and childbirth. New and old viruses plague us all.

But our approach to “good health” can’t be just a focus on one intervention or one disease. You can fix one issue (a malnourished child), and they suffer because of another (a mosquito bites them and they get malaria). This is why it’s so important to have well-trained community health volunteers (CHVs), a critical component of how World Vision operates our health programs.

CHVs look at the whole child and the household, ensuring that children eat nutritious food, are sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets, and have a source of clean water. They teach mothers how to breastfeed properly and teach children how to wash their hands after using the latrine. They are on the front lines to ensure that good health messages are spread to even the most remote villages and households.

Good health is critical to ending poverty. Without good health, families and communities are not productive. Children are out of school. Meager family funds are spent on medication and visits to the health facility. But with the help of CHVs, we know we can continue to make great strides in achieving the goal of good health for everyone around the world.

Goal #6: CLEAN WATER & SANITATION

By Greg Allgood, Vice President of Water for World Vision

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Clean Water and Sanitation is considered by many experts to be the goal that is most likely to be achieved first. This is based partly on the fact that 2 billion people were reached with clean water in the 15 years prior to the goal, and now there are only about 663 million people left to reach by 2030. This is good news because clean water and adequate sanitation are fundamental to development.

Currently, women and girls bear the burden of walking around an aggregate 125 million hours a day to fetch and haul water for their families. Often, this water is not safe for human consumption. The impact? Women and girls lack equal opportunities such as being in the classroom and engaging in economic activities, and almost 1,000 children a day die from diseases related to unsafe water, poor sanitation, and insufficient hygiene.

The good news is that by providing access to clean water and sanitation for all, we’ll make progress in eliminating extreme poverty and achieving zero hunger, good health, quality education, and gender equality – each a different component of the Global Goals.

World Vision is now the largest nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world. This was achieved through an effort to enhance our partnerships with governments and the private sector, which resulted in increasing our impact 10-fold within the last five years. We exceeded our goal to reach one new person with clean water every 30 seconds and now have committed to reach one new person with clean water and basic sanitation every 10 seconds by 2020.

At this rate, we’ll reach everyone, everywhere we work by 2030, which will play a major role in accomplishing this goal. World Vision and our partners have a commitment to providing sustainable clean water, sanitation, and hygiene through a comprehensive, community-based approach that stresses local ownership and provides opportunities for market-based approaches.

Photo: John Onywoo and his wife, Grace Atieno, have three living children — two of whom live at home. The third is at boarding school. © 2016 World Vision/ photo by Laura Reinhart

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