Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Soapbox #1

I don’t talk about water very much on this thing. I make passing references to it, and cite literary quotes on it (mostly from Herman Melville, Mark Twain, and Norman Maclean), but I really haven’t gotten into any relevant topics on the matter. Part of it is because some of you are my Kennedy/Jenks coworkers or engineering buddies from college, who are far more knowledgeable on the subject than I am. Also, I figured I get on my soapbox plenty enough without talking directly about the area of study and engineering to which I’ve so far devoted my adult life, including this year in Moz.

This is all to say, I’m gonna start writing about water and sanitation. I like learning stuff and I think writing about water will help force me to research more. I want to start broad, with the world and Mozambique first and eventually get down to more details. Hopefully, you can learn stuff along the way.

There are these things called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are eight objectives toward improving the world as agreed upon by the United Nations. The benefit of MDGs is that they provide clear objectives and a definite time line. They began in 2000 and will run until 2015, where their success will be evaluated. The goals are:

1. End Poverty and Hunger
2. Universal Education
3. Gender Equality
4. Child health
5. Maternal Health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS
7. Environmental Sustainability
8. Global Partnership

MDGs are a big deal. The goals are ambitious and include sub-goals such as: Goal 1.A: By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day or Goal 7.C: Halve, by 2015 the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. I'll get back to Goal 7.C more, but the goals also tell us about the world today. They tell us what we think the biggest problems facing the world's poor are and how we can change them. The goals also are interrelated, because education for women increases child health while promoting gender equality.

As we are approaching 2015, the world is actually on pace for a few of these goals. Of course, not all countries or continents are created equal and their success rates are unequal, too, but I’m gonna leave it at that for now.

Your brother,

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