In 2000 the UN developed eight millennium goals they would like to meet by 2015. These guidelines were agreed to by world leaders at the Millennium Summit after the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration in 2000. There are fewer than 500 days until they meet their deadline.


Eight specific goals were chosen including:

1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

2. Promote gender equality

3. Empower women

4. Reduce child mortality

5. Improve maternal health

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

7. Ensure environmental sustainability

8. Develop a global partnership for development

This article suggests that in these last 500 days the international community should turn its attention to child marriage, targeting funding to education in conflict areas, and making schools safe zones.

The Education Countdown campaign shares that 14 million girls under the age of 18 become brides each year. In Niger, 75 percent of girls are married before they’re 18, resulting in many of them not going to school etc.

In conflict areas around the world, schools and universities are often used for military purposes. Such use doesn’t just interrupt the educational process, but also provokes attacks from opposing forces. School should be a safe haven for children in such dangerous and frightening times. Flexibility is essential when combating this issue because standard educational practices might not be realistic in these environments. Funding is also needed to help rebuild schools, buy furniture and books, and support teachers.

The Lucens Guidelines is a contract with the purpose of protecting schools and universities against armed groups for military purposes. In addition, the guidelines hope to help reduce the impact of armed conflict on students’ safety and education. If we can get the world to agree to these guidelines in 500 days, then we can be one step closer to reaching this goal.

Meeting the millennium goals in 500 days is going to be difficult, but the author suggests we should take inspiration from Malala Yousafzai, “We should believe in the power of our voice and we should believe that yes, it can really bring a change.” These goals might seem far off but we all should be motivated to improve the world.

Every young person should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, they just need a chance.

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Summary by Chelsea Waddell, WACC intern (Fall 2014)