The United Nations in Malawi on 24th October 2018 presented the stories of ordinary Malawians with extraordinary courage, talent and drive to make a difference in their communities and show the way to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Malawi. This was part of United Nations Day celebrations in Lilongwe.
The contributions of the individuals were documented in an SDG video presented at the celebration (the link to the video will be released without delay). Their actions include promotion of girls’ education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, zero hunger, renewable energy production, inclusive societies and mediation, overcoming poverty and adapting to climate change, among others.
UN Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres said there are many individuals and organisations working to advance the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in Malawi as evidenced by significant progress the country has already recorded on some SDGs targets. She also quoted the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to underline that the UN and its staff will not give up on overcoming poverty and supporting Malawi to take development to the next level following the SDG agenda.
“Practical actions of individuals help to put a human face to the SDGs. They show us that achieving SDGs is possible in Malawi,” said Torres. As an example, she mentioned: “Interventions to end malnutrition continue to bear positive fruits.”
She also acknowledged that gender parity in primary education was already achieved, noting that similar success would soon be made in secondary education if the country continues to improve girls’ primary to secondary school transition. To achieve this goal undergoing national efforts to keep girls in school will be boosted.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe described development as a process that ought to improve the quality of people’s lives, saying the individuals recognised during UN Day commemoration demonstrated the meaning of development in improvements of their lives and communities.
“Development is not about building a bigger house than that of your neighbour,” said Gondwe. “It is about improving lives of people who do not have access to better quality of life like those living in remote areas who, for example, can’t drink safe water.”
“One chief has said his community no longer suffers from cholera which was their big problem because they now have safe water and good sanitation. That is development,” said the Finance Minister.
He commended the UN for its contributions towards improving lives of Malawians, saying the UN has supported government to reach vulnerable people in farthest areas with development interventions.
During the commemoration, the UN Communications Group displayed existing work under the SDG pillars of peace, poverty, prosperity, partnership and planet. Products from projects supported by UN agencies were also in display. Salama Africa Singers and Dzaleka Acrobats from Dzaleka Refugee Camp, and Music Crossroads also spiced the commemoration with music and acrobatics performances, so participants could celebrate the 73th anniversary of UN and the over 50 years of engagement with Malawi.