What Now?

Written by: Candice – Youth Ambassador
In 2000, world leaders came together and created the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight goals to reduce extreme poverty to be achieved by 2015. These goals include improving maternal health, eradicating extreme hunger, and fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Fast forward to 2014. Although some progress has been made, the world is nowhere near close to achieving these goals by 2015.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I went on a trip to Ottawa with the Millennium Development Kids, an organization of children and youth who aim to encourage the governments who signed the MDGs to follow through on the promises made. The goal of the trip was to deliver a petition by the Millennium Development Kids. This petition called for the Canadian government to make good on its promise to designate 0.7% of Canada’s gross national product to official development assistance.

When we got to Ottawa, we sat in on a House of Commons session, where we got to see the petition get presented to the Members of Parliament (MPs). The MPs gave our group a standing ovation for our work in collecting signatures for this petition, making us feel the importance of our accomplishment. We all walked out excited and proud of ourselves for achieving this awesome feat . As I walked out of the House of Commons, one question popped into my head: “Now what?” Sure, the MPs were applauding us now, but what action would they take to make this petition come to life?

The question of “what happens next?” haunted me on the entire bus ride back to Toronto. By now, the MPs would have moved on to their next order of business, and things may have Although it seemed like the MPs were so inspired by the action that our group had made, the reality is that Canada is not following through on its promise it made in 2000 to follow through on the MDGs.

Canada has made important strides towards supporting the MDGs, including promising to give $3.5 billion towards child and maternal health between 2015 and 2020. Although this significant step has been taken, there is still so much more to be done. That pledge addressed two of the MDGs, but what about Canada’s commitment to the other six?

Now for the question you must be asking: “So what can we do?”

1. Keep petitioning. We need to call out our government to uphold the promises its made, as well as let the government know that the MDGs are important to us. Get people to sign the petition, write a letter to your local MP, or tweet your MP. Get the message out there.

2. Tell a friend. Knowing is half the battle, so tell a friend about the MDGs. Let people know about these goals, and how achieving them will better the life of BILLIONS of people.

3. Don’t stop. One thing this trip has taught me is that perseverance is key. Your voice is important, so let it be heard. Don’t let discouragement stop your voice from making an impact.

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