Millennium Development Goals & Africa: Is There Any Hope?

Dire is still the situation in Africa

Somalia witnessing an ever-expanding famine whilst the rest of the Horn of Africa continue to look to the skies for any form of precipitation.

And though all major newspapers have ceased to cover the devastating 'stories' seen in the drought regions, the crisis is still monumental and still harrowing.

According to the Guardian, approximately 12 million people are being affected by the drought, with 3.5 million people in Somalia alone requiring food assistance.

Despite the money raised – around $1.1 billion so far, $1.3 billion short of what the UN require for the Horn of Africa – and aid provided, carcasses of livestock, some 90% in certain areas of Somalia, are being piled up and disposed of; families are still travelling from the harsh regions of Bakool and Mogadishu, as well as the eastern borders of Ethiopia, by foot, to places other than what they left behind in the hopes of stumbling upon enough water to soak their lips.

No amount of contribution from sympathetic nations, nor the bottomless wallets of compassionate individuals, appears to bring the relief that these people so desperately seek.

With the deadline to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) fast approaching it is difficult to predict what the fate of the drought-affected will be.

The MDGs, a set of 8 Goals, were set by the UN in 2000 in the hopes of alleviating poverty and bring about a more egalitarian distribution of wealth and opportunity across the hemispheres.

Throughout the years the progress on each MDG is monitored; unfortunately, more often than not, Africa has remained to be a high alert continent with slow progression in some targets like the enrolment of children in primary education and HIV prevalence.

According to the 2010 report progression in MDG7 – specifically the proportion of population using improved drinking water sources – was somewhat visible in some of the urban regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. This advancement, and rightfully so, was viewed as a great step in the right direction, especially in light of the social and political turbulences some countries experience when handling and distributing such basic resources.

And yet, this small step forward appears not at all significant now in the giant leaps the Horn of Africa has taken backwards in 2011.

In July 2011 the General Assembly of UN gathered, against the backdrop of the droughts, to address the rights to safe drinking water; aside from a call for more aid, many of the country leaders had no alternative form of resolution that could be quickly presented to the African masses.

Representative from Djibouti, Roble Olhaye, stressed with “[only] a few years from the 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadline to halve the number of people without drinking water and sanitation, it [is] inconceivable to bridge that gap without major actions by States”.

So what is the best line of action? How can one bring about thick grey clouds? What is the solution for the water- and food-deprived souls?

A humble suggestion from a compassionate individual: lose no hope. Continue to provide aid. And pray; for rain, for ease.

Images from photoguy1970IFRC and