In four short months presidents and prime ministers from around the world will gather at a major UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals. The meeting will be a major stocktaking of what has been achieved and what has not; which policies work, and which don’t; but most of all it will focus on how can governments renew their commitments to reach each of the eight MDGs by 2015.
Fortunately, there are a number of MDG success stories that government officials and development practitioners can draw upon to make the case for the MDGs. And as of today, a fascinating new experiment in social media is making those stories easier to access. The UN Foundation (which sponsors Dispatch) and Devex just launched a platform in which development professionals can share their on-the-ground success stories and challenges while working on MDG related projects around the world. The idea is to facilitate a direct dialogue with an array of on-the-ground practitioners about what has been working for them, with the ultimate goal of making the delivery of assistance more efficient.
Between now and the UN Summit in September, the site will host a conversation on each of the eight MDGs. Anyone who has something to add can just log in and join the conversation.
The site kicks off with a conversation about MDG 1: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. So far, discussants have come from a pretty diverse crew. Microsoft has chimed in, but so has one Enock Mugabi from a small Ugandan NGO who tells the story of successful project he worked on. Here’s Enock:
Between 2004-2009, I worked for a Danish organization called MS Uganda. We had a trade Empowerment theme where we were supporting small holder farmers in increasing acreage for maize, the quality and linking them to markets. Special emphasis was put on the youth and women and 70% of our beneficiaries were single and married women. The small holder farmers that benefited could only manage half an acre before the project but after, they were cultivating 4 acres. So, they were food secure as well as economically secure. After the 4 years, an evaluation was done and 80% of them had registered success and one fascinating experience was that, one couple managed to educate two of their daughters in a good private school and by the time we left they had qualified to go to the University. This was a strategic achievement and they were very proud of it.
It will be interesting to see how the conversation evolves as the site grows and the discussion moves to each of the other 7 Millennium Development Goals. I highly recommend folks check back regularly. I know I will.