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Goals for a New Millennium

In March 2008, Lions formally committed to helping meet the eight Millennium Development Goals defined by the United Nations.

In March 2008, Lions formally committed to helping meet the eight Millennium Development Goals defined by the United Nations.

Goals for a New Millennium

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Touchstone Story #87

At the 30th Annual Lions Day with the United Nations in 2008, Lions Clubs International took its longstanding relationship with the U.N. to a new level by formally agreeing to help meet the world’s most critical humanitarian needs.

During the 20th century, people had made huge progress in science, education, medicine and human rights. But at the start of the new millennium, many developing countries found their poorest citizens still struggling to obtain food and water. Women and children often suffered the most from a lack of basic necessities, education and healthcare. 

In 2000, world leaders came together at U.N. headquarters in New York and committed to reducing this disparity by 2015 through eight Millennium Development Goals. The goals were ambitious:

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development

Lions Clubs International has worked with the U.N. since 1947 to promote peace and prosperity, and Lions clubs around the world have been feeding the hungry and helping to fight diseases for decades. When International President Mahendra Amarasuriya sought additional ways for Lions to serve developing countries, he knew where to turn. On March 14, 2008, at U.N. headquarters in New York, President Amarasuriya signed a letter of intent representing LCI’s commitment to help meet the eight Millennium Development Goals.

Lions throughout the world began to focus on the goals. Lions of Sri Lanka collaborated with local health institutions, the ministry of health and UNICEF to help reduce child and maternal mortality rates through health education and training programs. Meanwhile, in Brazil, Lions worked to support education for their nation’s children by spreading the Lions Quest program, which trains teachers to promote positive youth development. 

In Kenya, Lions focused on combating HIV/AIDS by establishing the Lions Comprehensive Care HIV/AIDS Clinic for Children to serve infected children and their mothers. Each month, approximately 1,440 children, ages newborn to two years, receive treatment while their mothers receive counseling, education and reproductive health services.

Although many of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals have yet to be met in full, by drawing attention to these eight areas of need, countless people around the world have been helped—often with a smile from a Lions volunteer. 

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