No doubt some readers could, without breaking a sweat, rattle off all eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which were adopted by 191 countries in 2000 to reduce global poverty in half by 2015. Others may have trouble remembering them, much less understand how to help realize them. (And admit it: Some of you confused MDGs with MGDs and thought this article was about beer.)
In a better world, goals such as reducing the deaths of children under 5 and improving access to drinkable water worldwide would be the focus of nonstop discussion and action not only in our worship communities but across our nation. But whether it’s the daunting scope of the problems the goals address, the isolation many Americans experience from people actually living with the problems, or the trivial preoccupations of most public discourse, the goals—with the possible exception of one that touches on global warming—have yet to fully engage many people of faith or the rest of society.
A range of television, movie, and Internet-based documentaries offer intriguing snapshots of the problems that inspired the goals and compelling solutions that could help make the MDGs more urgent and accessible to a broad audience.
1. Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
This goal aims to reduce by half the number of people worldwide who make $1 or less a day and who suffer from severe food insecurity and malnutrition.
Small Fortunes: Microcredit and the Future of Poverty highlights the growth of the microcredit movement, where locally based institutions offer small sums to the impoverished to help them build their own businesses. Small Fortunes profiles microcredit successes in Bangladesh, the Philippines, and the United States. (2005)