September marked the 2nd birthday of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs are an answer to the question “How can we end poverty, protect the planet, and promote peace and prosperity for all?” In September 2015, more than 150 world leaders came together at the UN Development Summit to adopt these ambitious global goals and their associated targets and indicators. The goals incorporated the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 2000, the first iteration of a concerted global effort of this kind.
The month of August was a very challenging one for many people. Mother Nature asserted herself across the globe, and reminded us all of the power she wields over our lives. As images continue to roll in of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey, an equal amount of images depict the heroism and bravery of those who chose to put themselves in harm’s way to help neighbors and strangers alike. It is these images and these stories that remind me that we are a caring people dedicated to serving when called upon, and it reaffirms the importance of ParticipAid’s work building leaders, local capacity, and community resilience.
At my house in city of Portland, all of our trash and recycling is picked up and taken away. Like magic. All we have to do is separate it into 3 bins and put the bins on the curb. All we have to think about is which day is trash day. It’s amazing! In Nepal they don’t have anything like that. With few exceptions, everyone has to figure it out on their own. What would you do with all your garbage?
Four or five years ago a community organizer friend of mine worried that the word “community” was losing its oomph, and wanted to come up with a new word to get the point across. I remember thinking that was silly, how could the word COMMUNITY lose its meaning? I looked it up, and Merriam Webster gives exactly twelve definitions of the word. Since when can a word mean so many things? But just because a word is working for a lot of people in a lot of different ways doesn’t mean we have to abandon it. We just have the job of being specific about the way that we use it.
Our goal here at ParticipAid is to bring more decision-making power to rural people, and we’re thrilled to see that Nepal’s government stepping up for the same goal. Until recently, there has been no local government in Nepal. A centralized government in Kathmandu made all of the decisions about the lives and livelihoods of rural folks. Those days are in the past. Just a couple of weeks ago Nepal held its first local elections in 20 years!