Making the Millennium Development Goals Happen

Unique Online Platform Lends Voice To Aid Workers, Development Professionals

January 18, 2011


Alexis Krieg

As world leaders focused their attention on strategies to accelerate progress on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations Foundation and Devex teamed up to give aid workers and development professionals the platform to share how they are advancing the MDGs each day. To recap this unique, real-time online dialogue, the UN Foundation and Devex released a special report today highlighting the six-month global conversation in which aid workers and development professionals from around the world shared their successes and challenges in achieving the MDGs.

“The MDG’s are not only a “to-do” list for the UN and world leaders, but they are everyone’s “to-do” list,” said Aaron Sherinian, Executive Director for Public Affairs for the UN Foundation. ”The innovative online discussion on highlighted the importance of working together to tackle the biggest problems facing the world today — from global poverty to women’s and children’s health, hunger, and education. The development community knows these are not impossible problems — they are challenges the world can meet if people are aware and become involved.”

Raj Kumar, President of Devex said, “Policy makers and leaders around the world are developing plans to ensure their programs will align with and help achieve the MDGs. We thought it was important to ensure that the voices of on-the-ground aid workers and development experts were heard loud and clear, and formed a vital part of the kinds of decisions that affect millions.”

In the special report highlighting the lessons learned from the online conversation, Devex and the UN Foundation spotlight some of the key points made by aid workers during the MDG online dialogue. The voices — their ideas and questions — offer an important body of knowledge for the entire development community. Over a six month period the conversation amassed a highly diverse set of contributions:

  • Thousands of international aid and development professionals from over 175 countries visited the conversation website:
  • Hundreds of development professionals contributed their stories of real-world successes and challenges working on global development projects.
  • Participants represented a diverse array of development sectors including global health, microfinance, transportation, human rights, and water management.

Participants in this online dialogue included representatives from the American Red Cross, CARE USA, Microsoft Corporation, Plan International, UNICEF and many others. Contributors discussed how their organizations have been able to implement innovative and novel approaches to move closer to the MDGs despite the inherent challenges posed by conflict, climate change and financial calamities.

The online conversation can be viewed at


About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through campaigns and partnerships, the organization connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. For more information, visit

About Devex
Devex is a social enterprise bringing efficiency to international development through recruiting and business information services. Our members find development projects, business and career advice, jobs – and professional connections – on  Founded in 2000, Devex serves a global community of 500,000 development professionals and one thousand donors, companies, and NGOs.  With a mission to bring greater efficiency to international development, our global staff of 100 in four offices (Barcelona, Manila, Tokyo, and Washington, DC) works to provide innovative products and services to address the needs of each member of our development community. Development professionals or organizations working in the field of international development, humanitarian relief and global health, are invited to join us on

Media Contacts:

Amy DiElsi, United Nations Foundation: 202-492-3078 or
Pauline Zalkin, Devex: 202-709-6494 or


Sample quotes from contributors to the MDG Online Conversation:

‘To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger we must think of alternative approaches and solutions based on local demand, developed in a participatory manner…’
Nazmul Chowdhury, Practical Action

‘Cambodia was also one of the nations hardest hit by HIV and AIDS in East Asia and the Pacific, peaking at 3.3 percent in 1998. However, in response, the country implemented one of the most effective national responses, resulting in a decline attributed to increased condom use and high treatment rates amongst people living with HIV and AIDS…’
Penny Campbell, UNICEF

‘In order to promote more effective aid, all donors need to provide aid information in a common format to help donors to better coordinate aid. Comparability is what transforms more aid information into better aid information.’
Claudia Elliot, Publish What You Fund

‘We enable these organizations – NGOs, governments and others – to more effectively serve people in need through technology. ICTs [Information and Communication Technologies] need to be designed for challenging environments and need to have local organizations with rural ICT expertise for ongoing support and expansion of these systems…”
Wayan Vota, Inveneo

‘Despite a notable progress in maternal mortality reduction…many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are still off track in achieving Millennium Development Goal 5 to improve maternal health… In response to these issues, Save the Children has developed and implemented the Household to Hospital Continuum of Care (HHCC) model that links families and households to the care they need. As a result of the HHCC program, a significant increase in maternal care services and family planning has been made throughout communities in Vietnam, Mali, Guinea, and Nigeria.’
Defa Wane, Save the Children USA

‘Equally important to empower women, is to empower men, in our parts of the world, in male-dominated domains, he is the brother, father, husband…who can hinder a woman’s progress or support it. He is a key player in this equation.’
Reem N. Bsaiso, World Links Jordan