How have the Millenium Development Goals progressed 15 years on?
The Millennium Development Goals were formulated by governments as a strategy to combat a whole host of humanitarian issues, including education and poverty. Despite these efforts, and some positive achievements, there are still a large number of Africans living below the poverty line. Over half of the population in Burkina Faso still earn less than $1.25 a day. So there is a desperate need to continue work in this area, whilst other humanitarian emergencies such as epidemics also demand international attention. The socio-economic impact of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone reminds the world of the fragility of these states’ institutions. Health care systems and medical training needs urgent improvement.
The spread of Ebola has shocked the world because of it’s high mortality rates and the speed with which it seemed to spread. In this climate it is easy to forget that HIV/AIDs, Malaria and Tuberculosis continue to weigh heavily on the shoulders of African nations, Burkina Faso among them. Whilst the goals are not being successfully met in any African regions, countries are at least moving towards universal access to HIV treatment. But as always, the provision of tangible resources and infrastructure is not enough; education must be implemented at grassroots level if there is to be prevention as well as solution.
Gender equality is also high on the agenda of the Millenium Development Goals. Encouraging statistics from UNESCO suggest that the percentage of girls enrolled in to primary education has fallen to 6%, and yet only 2% of Burkina’s children attend any form of pre-school. Pre-primary education is considered critical for early childhood development, laying the foundations for future education.
The issue is two-pronged; a shortage of school places, and a lack of opportunity.
To alleviate the problem means schools providing 4,194 new classrooms per annum; twice the current rate of building
Of course, the constant factor, one which is intricately entwined with every issue the Millennium Development Goals address, is hunger and poverty. You don’t need to look up statistics to know that poverty is a tragic smear, to varying degrees, on the landscape of every African nation. And poverty will not be eradicated until the infrastructure is created to give an entire generation a fair chance of access to education.
64% of Burkina Faso’s young adult population (aged 20-24) currently go through and average of less than two years of schooling. International charities are approaching the lack of access in a variety of ways. Our food programme provides each child with one meal a day, going some way to lift the burden of walking a long distance to school with an empty stomach.
As with all provisions of donations, buildings and resources, it’s most important to support this with entirely sustainable infrastructure. A robust education system, fully trained teachers, food in young bellies and vocational courses for older generations are a good start on this journey.