September has barely ended, and I’m already looking forward to September 2015, when United Nations representatives will discuss and articulate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were set in 2000 and included 8 bold objectives to be met by 2015:
- To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- To achieve universal primary education
- To promote gender equality and empower women
- To reduce child mortality
- To improve maternal health
- To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
- To ensure environmental sustainability
- To develop a global partnership for development
At the 2015 summit, world leaders will acknowledge that many countries haven’t achieved all their goals and will discuss how to make progress in the coming years. SVH/Ayni Wasi is part of the large web of governmental and non-governmental organizations working towards the achievement of the MDGs. Our promotoras provide health education to their communities to fight hunger, empower women, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. By improving health in their communities, the promotoras also contribute to breaking cycles of poverty.
The intention behind the Sustainable Development Goals is to build upon, rather than divert focus from, the MDGs. A lot of work remains to be done, especially in under-served communities. For instance, although Peru met its goal to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, predominantly indigenous communities are still lagging behind. In rural areas the prevalence of underweight in children under 5 averaged 8.2% over the past decade. That’s a four-fold difference from their urban counterparts, who only suffered a 1.9% prevalence of underweight . We hope that the post-2015 goals encourage countries to act with the explicit understanding that national statistics may not depict the reality experienced by the entire population. That is to say, we believe that the post-2015 development goals should focus on inequalities within as well as between countries.
In order to raise awareness of health inequalities within Peru, SVH/ Ayni Wasi is participating in the Article 25 movement. Tomorrow, October 25, we will set up a wishing wall in Ollantaytambo’s central plaza. The idea is for passers-by to write down and clip notes to the wall expressing what they would like for the international community to do to improve life for marginalized people here and everywhere. The promotoras will put up pictures that represent the health inequities that their communities face. These include photographs of:
- Dirty rivers – expressing the wish for the public to realize that potable water still hasn’t reached the most remote parts of Peru
- Roads, barren lands, poverty, and inaccessible clinics– expressing the wish for the public to realize that health is still out of reach physically and financially for many indigenous communities.
- Absent ambulances and hospital beds – expressing the wish for the public to realize that many health posts in rural Peru are still understaffed and still lack resources.
The promotoras will invite others to add their own wishes to the wall. Check back next week to see photos of this exciting Article 25 awareness-raising project!
– Written by Katherine Un