How Irish NGOs are contributing to the Millennium Development Goals

17/09/2013 at 11:26 am Leave a comment

On 25 September, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will attend a UN Summit in New York, taking stock of progress in the fight against global poverty. 

The Summit will conclude that there is plenty of good news in relation to the fight against extreme poverty. And Irish NGOs have tangible examples of how innovative projects are contributing to the enormous progress worldwide.

We have listed a few of these examples below, grouped by Millennium Development Goal:

 Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Target 1.A: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day
  • Concern piloted a social protection scheme in the slum areas of Nairobi, which is being replicated by the Kenyan government in Mombasa.
  • Value Added In Africa works with African producers to move them from suppliers of raw materials to producers of high-quality goods for export, ensuring higher incomes for local communities.
  • Irish NGO Addressing the Unaddressed is working in a slum in Kolkata to provide slum dwellers with a legal address, opening up opportunities for them to open bank accounts, register with the authorities and find legal employment. “Four billion people are excluded from the rule of law, as the lack of a legal identity often prevents them from enjoying their rights as citizens. Setting up an addressing system is the first step towards tackling that issue.”
  • Childfund Ireland helps women obtain micro-credits.
Target 1.B: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
  • Christian Aid helped coffee growers in Nicaragua to form a fair trade co-operative, which now has a three-year contract to supply Irish company Bewleys.
  • Oxfam Ireland is driving a national campaign to empower female food producers in Tanzania.
  • The “Clean Clothes” campaign aims to raise awareness and mobilise consumers to pressurise manufacturers to take responsibility for workers’ rights.
Target 1.C: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Target 2.A: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
  • Ÿ  About two thirds of all schoolgirls in Kajiado, Kenya, are absent from school on a regular basis. Research has indicated that this is largely due to insufficient sanitary facilities in the schools to address the needs of a menstruating girl. Irish NGO Aidlink has teamed up with Kenyan NGO the Girl Child Network in a programme to address this issue, by providing sanitary towels, as part of a broad programme to improve girls’ participation in education.
  • Plan Ireland harnesses children’s energetic use of playground seesaws to supply clean water to primary school
  • The Mavambo Trust in Harare, Zimbabwe tackles school dropout rates among orphans and vulnerable children. The Accelerated Literacy and Numeracy programme, supported by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and funded by Misean Cara, will now be rolled out by UNICEF across 600 schools nationwide, meaning 40,000 children will be given a chance to catch up and re-enter mainstream education. 
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Target 3.A: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Target 4.A: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Target 5.A: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio
Target 5.B: Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health
  • The Irish Family Planning Association supports the work of organisations such as the UN by campaigning for improved sexual and reproductive health for women around the world.
  • Several Irish NGOs are providing funds and advice to grassroots organisations working to increase access to health services for marginalised communities, training health workers or by working with governments to shape international health policies.


Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Target 6.A: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
  • Funded by Misean Cara, the sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles are running a programme in rural Tanzania, providing HIV and AIDS outreach services in 12 villages. Testing people for HIV and providing life saving ARVs for hundreds of people.


Target 6.B: Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
Target 6.C: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
  • Irish Aid supports search for malaria vaccine
  • Habitat for Humanity Ireland works with vulnerable communities in Zambia to improve access to simple, decent housing and water and sanitation facilities, the result of which has seen a reduction in incidences of malaria and other diseases.
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Target 7.A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources
Target 7.B: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss
Target 7.C: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
  • Progressio Ireland works with communities in Peru, that grow asparagus for the Irish market, to help them convince the authorities of the need for a better and fairer water management system.
  • Habitat for Humanity Ireland works with vulnerable communities in Zambia to improve access to potable drinking water and basic sanitation which it views as a key component of adequate housing.
Target 7.D: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers
  • See Addressing the Unaddressed (Goal 1)
  • Habitat for Humanity Ireland works with vulnerable communities in peri-urban areas of Zambia to improve their living conditions which includes the provision of adequate housing and the attainment of land tenure rights.
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
Target 8.A: Develop an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial systemTarget 8.B: Address the special needs of the least developed countriesTarget 8.C: Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small island developing StatesTarget 8.D: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term MDG8 is different and distinct from all of the other goals. While Goals one to seven focus largely on developing countries, Goal 8 deals with global rules and international commitments.

  • Irish NGOs, through campaigns such as “Act Now on 2015” are working to ensure Ireland honours its commitment to invest in overseas aid. They also campaign for a fairer trading system and tackling the debt burden under which so many countries suffer.
  • Trócaire supports Demand Food Not Fuel – a campaign to end land grabs for bio-fuels.
  • Christian Aid Ireland highlights that tax avoidance costs African countries more than they receive in overseas aid.
  • Irish Aid helps improve port facilities in developing countries, to facilitate exports
  • The Debt & Development Coalition campaigns in Ireland against unjust debts, where poor communities are made to pay for debts incurred by unwise lending policies.
Target 8.E: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
  • Organisations like Oxfam Ireland are campaigning for a change to trade rules and intellectual property rights to bring down the price of essential medicines.

For more information about the Millennium Development Goals, see these resources.

And this 2-page briefing sheet shows some of the enormous progress made towards the achievement of the Goals.


Entry filed under: MDGs, NGOs. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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