https://dfid.blog.gov.uk/2011/09/22/powerful-stories-of-lives-saved-and-lives-improved/

Powerful stories of lives saved and lives improved

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dr Mary Robinson. Picture: USAID

Yesterday, Secretary of State Mitchell and I co-hosted an event along the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to celebrate successes and innovations towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Indeed, the world has much to celebrate. Through partnerships between communities and governments and the integration of new, non-traditional players we are witnessing significant progress:

  • In Brazil, 12.2 million people have been lifted out of poverty. Brazil’s BolsaFamilia program has used cash transfers to empower mothers, resulting in a reduction in malnutrition and an increase in school enrollment and medical care.
  • Zambia has educated 20,000 teachers, providing roughly one million children with access to school. Community schools are also flourishing, creating an opportunity for local groups to initiate and manage schools for their children.
  • In Nepal, the risk of death during childbirth has been halved.Childbirth is no longer the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.
  • Ethiopia has provided nine million households (63 percent) with healthcare, pioneering rural access through the Health Extension Program. This program has contributed to reducing the incidence of malaria by half and doubling family planning coverage.
  • The GAVI Alliance has helped immunize 288 million children, saving five million lives. This public-private partnership has set an additional target of immunizing another quarter of a billion children in the next five years, saving another 4 million children’s lives.

These are a few of the examples we heard yesterday; powerful stories of lives saved and lives improved - stories that development investments are paying off and delivering results.

In this fiscally-constrained environment, we need to make a compelling case for development assistance. We need to show that we're delivering real results. We need to show that development serves our vital security and economic interests. And we need to show that we’re reforming the way we do business - to maximize the impact of the taxpayer dollars we spend.

Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell with Desmond Tutu. Picture: USAID

We at USAID have been focused on reforms: making our assistance more cost-effective; strengthening our monitoring and evaluation; ensuring accountability and transparency; and emphasizing results.  We’ve been inspired by the commitment of Andrew Mitchell and DFID on these same issues.

We’re also pleased to announce that, as part of USAID’s reform agenda, we launched the USAID Policy Framework 2011-2015 just a few days ago. This document establishes our Agency’s development priorities and targets through 2015. It was just a year ago here at the UN, that President Obama launched his vision for how America would approach global development, elevating its role to a new level. Our Policy Framework integrates President Obama’s vision with our internal reform efforts. It affirms our collaboration with communities, governments and other donors to help catalyze progress toward meeting the MDGs.

Towards the end of the event yesterday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson took the stage and reminded us what is at stake for the world in the work that we do. Inspired by the stories we heard, armed with the lessons of what works best, and focused on reforms that improve our effectiveness and deliver results, we renew our efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals.


Please note, this is a guest blog. Views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of DFID or have the support of the British Government.

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