I've curated a list of simple ways in which each of us can incorporate the UN's Millenium Development Goals into our daily lives.
Wear your words.
Many of us wear T-shirts that advertise brand names. Why not try something different and wear one that conveys a positive social message? Perhaps “Stop HIV/AIDS” or “We are all one human race.” Wear it, live it, and speak out with style. (Millennium Development #6: Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases.) Maybe sell these T-shirts as a fundraising campaign.
Celebrate motherhood around the world.
Next Mother’s Day, surprise your mom with a fair-trade gift. Many typical gifts, including chocolate, coffee, and flowers often come from regions where women are exploited in the fields or factories. When you buy fair trade your mom will know you care – not only about her but about mothers around the world. (Millennium Development Goal #5: Improve maternal health.). Maybe organize a sale at your club meeting for such products as a fundraising idea.
Adopt a Village.
Come together with others in your workplace, faith group, or school to adopt a community and build a school overseas. For as little as $5,000, you can build a classroom and transform the lives of children for generations to come. Through Lions in developing countries, you can even help in the construction process. (Millennium Development Goal #2: Achieve universal primary education.)
Use a cup that shows you care.
Purchase an environmentally friendly, reusable coffee mug. Sure it’s a small action, but your love affair with fair-trade organic Arabica could save 365 disposable cups a year from being thrown in the garbage. (Millennium Development Goal #7: Ensure environmental sustainability.)
Step up against AIDS.
Put on your running shoes and get moving! Participating in a charity marathon or walkathon is a great way to meet new people, get involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other causes, and improve your health all at the same time! (Millennium Development Goal #6: Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases.)
Try a taste of something different.
Host a “taste of the nations” dinner party for your neighbours in which you cook different recipes from around the world. Accept $10-$15 donations on behalf of a charity that feeds the hungry. Provide your guests with printed information about this charity at the door, and set up a babysitting service so everyone can come. (Millennium Development Goal #1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.)
Make the 0.7% commitment.
If we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the world’s wealthy countries will need to honour their promises to devote 0.7% of their gross national income to development assistance for things like poverty reduction. Exactly how much is 0.7%? Find out by making a commitment of your own. For one month, donate 0.7% of your paycheck to a good cause. (Millennium Development Goal #8: Develop a global partnership for development.)
Give a gift that keeps on giving.
Next time you find yourself hunting for a birthday gift for that special someone, make a donation to an international charity in his or her name. Every year, more than 10,000 children never reach the age of five – your gift may help a child reach his or her next birthday. Donate to LCIF. (Millennium Development Goal #4: Reduce child mortality.)
Know your clothes.
Set aside some time to look through your closet. Do you know how your clothes are made? Do the brands you buy help create sustainable incomes or trap underpaid workers in a cycle of poverty? When you decide to buy something new, make responsible choices. Me to We: Responsible Style empowers you with ethical options at www.metowestyle.com. (Millennium Development Goal #8: Develop a global partnership for development.)
Host a movie night with a message.
Raise awareness about an issue affecting our global community by gathering family or friends or in a Lions club to watch a movie about a world issue. When the movie ends, talk about it. For the adventurous, being food and music from that part of the world. The list of movies is endless, but here are a few to get you started: City of Joy, Salaam Bombay, Hotel Rwanda, The Constant Gardener. (Millennium Development Goal #8: Develop a global partnership for development.)
Write for rights.
Around the world, women’s rights are violated every day. In some places, women are paid less than men for doing the same work or are victims of domestic violence. Research an issue that affects women, then write a letter to a political leader asking for urgent action. (Millennium Development Goal #3: Promote gender equality and empower women.)