THIS week, world leaders assemble in New York to review the progress on the MillenÂnium Development Goals adopted 10 years ago. Overall, the world has scored on some of the goals, but performed miserably on others.
If the world were a football pitch with everybody playing and UN agencies, governments as well as NGOs acting as coaches, we would have scored far beyond the targets.
However, the pitch has been dominated by the coaches while the most critical players, namely the intended beneficiary communities, have mostly been inactive. Whereas some progress has been made, we are far from achieving reasonable living conditions, especially in Africa.
In Uganda, for example, the population below the poverty line reduced from 56% to 31% between 1992 and 2006. At this rate Uganda is likely to achieve the target of reducing the population living under extreme poverty to less than 10% by 2017, yet the masses still cry foul.
On Goal number two and three; achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality, the introduction of Universal Primary Education in 1997 doubled primary school enrolment to 7.2 million children in 2006. However, more than half of the girls who enter P1 drop out before P7 and by senior six, girls constitute only 37% of the students.
Two areas where Uganda has scored worst are Goals four and five; to reduce child mortality and to improve maternal health.
About 7.6% of the babies born in Uganda die before their first birthday and 13.7% die before they are five. Out of every 100,000 deliveries, 435 mothers die of complications related to child birth. This compares poorly with a target of reducing maternal mortality to 131 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015.
To achieve the eight MDGs, there is need to adopt a participatory approach where the beneficiary communities are engaged in identifying problems and solutions, with the experts acting as facilitators. Development cannot be imposed on people. They have to own the process.
MDGS: We need the communities to score