Secretary-General's remarks to the media at Mwandama Millennium Village
Mwandama Millennium Village, Malawi, 30 May 2010SG: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and also farewell.
As my visit to Malawi comes to a close, I would like to thank President Mutharika and the people of Malawi people for their warm welcome and generous hospitality.
I depart with tremendous optimism for the future, in part because of what I have seen here.
This is a crucial time for African development. And this Millennium Village of Mwandama is in many ways a model for how to do it.
Five years ago, one of every three people in this village was not getting enough to eat. Most children did not go to school. Exposure to HIV/AIDS was dangerously high.
Today, I met with many of the people who live here. They told me their stories. I heard what life was like in the past, and how it is today.
The good news is that people's lives are far better. The vast majority of families now have enough food. I saw that for myself at the community Grain Bank. Thanks to new fertilizers and seeds, the area's small farmers produce a surplus of grain.
Mwandama has seen dramatic improvements in health and education. Bed-nets have been distributed to all households. Nearly everyone now has clean drinking water. Significantly more children go to school, including many more girls. Roughly 40 per cent of vulnerable people now get tested for AIDS.
I saw many people using cell phones, and even solar-powered lights.
The key to these successes is strong leadership and good policy – specifically, well-integrated investments in education, health, agriculture and technology.
These programmes are all pragmatic, results-oriented and scaled to the real needs of real people. And this is only the beginning.
I congratulate the leadership of the village and the whole community – especially the women of Mwandama – for their hard work and their commitment to a better life for their children and for generations to come.
Today, I call on every country to look closely at this success. It is case study in what is possible, even in the poorest places in the world.
The message I want you to take away is this: we should support these ambitious strategies for meeting the MDGs. They work.
They offer real-world, real-people evidence that we can achieve the Millennium Goals – on schedule and with the resources world leaders have already committed to.
All we have to do is try.