The establishment of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 has been a huge milestone in the history of modern international development. As they expire in 2015, discussions on what should replace the MDGs have begun.
In the meantime, progress has been made over the last decade. According to the 2012 Progress Chart, MDGs have been attained or will be attained by 2015 in areas such as reducing extreme poverty and hunger by half in Eastern Asia, equalling girls’ enrolment in primary school in Africa and Asia, and combating the spread of HIV/AIDS in Southern Asia. While many areas still need to be addressed, here’s a look at some social enterprises and businesses from around the world founded post-2000 that have been contributing towards the MDGs.
MDG 1 – Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
Since 2008, the BASF and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit initiative “Strategic Alliance for the Fortification of Oils and other Staple Foods” has been providing affordable and enriched staple foods. These foods are enriched with Vitamin A and other micro-nutrients through food fortification, and are sold in over 30 countries such as Brazil and Cambodia.
Social Enterprise Water Africa trains unemployed local youth to manufacture hand pumps. These hand pumps are sold to enhance the quality of drinking water and irrigation systems. When used by farmers, it leads to improvement in farming and livestock raising, thus creating more income in the community.
MDG 2 – Achieving universal primary education
For every sale of a solar powered SUNNAN lamp in an IKEA store, another modified lamp is donated to developing countries through UNICEF since 2009. These lamps provide proper lighting to children for learning assistance, and are highly resistant to tough living environments.
Carulla Foundation’s 2008 AieoTu initiative provides quality education services to low income households’ children in Columbia. The Carulla Foundation covers 30% of the AieoTu’s costs, and the remaining is covered through fees from high income families’ children.
MDG 3 – Promoting gender equality and empowering women
Established in 2007 in Uganda, Living Goods operates a micro-franchise model, similar to Avon, of independent women entrepreneurs. The Living Goods entrepreneurs earn modest incomes through door-to-door sales of health-related products at affordable prices.
Hathay Bunano Proshikhan Samity employs Bangladeshi women artisans to produce children’s toys and clothes that are sold in Australia, USA, UK and other European nations. Through this organization, which was launched in 2005, women are able to obtain economic freedom and rural employment opportunities without any debt.
MDG 4 – Reducing child mortality rates
In 2006, Danone Poland introduced a nutritious milk porridge product to combat malnutrition amongst children. The milk porridge, called Milk Start, is enriched with vitamins and minerals, and is sold to low income families in Poland.
Grameen Danone Foods, a joint venture launched in 2006, produces nutrient-enriched yogurt called Shakti Doi. These reasonably priced yogurts are sold to children and mothers in poor Bangladeshi communities.
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