Thanks to unrelenting focus, effort and generosity, huge success has been had since 1990 in reducing child mortality rates. Furthermore, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has taken an impressive nose dive. These successes should be acknowledged as a critical step forward for humanity.
But we cannot take our sights off the work still left to be done.
1 in 9 children still die before the age of five in sub-saharan Africa.
This not a statistic to grow numb to. Each of those 16,000 children is someone's darling, is a family's blood line, is a little bundle of hope.
$5 x 7.3 billion people = roughly $36 billion dollars. Spreading this cost between governmental and non-governmental entities across nations clearly isn't going to happen anytime soon.
Now let's take Tanzania, home to our beloved Baby Home.
$5 x 50 million people = $250,000,000. Less absurd than the fiscal requirement to save an entire world of babies but, unless you're a developing country, even this amount is still comical.
But imagine if the U.S.A. took on Tanzania. A mere $0.80 donated per year per person would make a substantive difference in the health of scores of vulnerable Tanzanian babies. $0.80 per person, per year. I spend $5 almost every morning on a Starbucks latte and an over priced yogurt because of my inability to put together my own breakfast in the face of my two children's incessant morning demands. That's roughly $1800 a year on unreasonably priced caffeine.
We've all heard this sort of reasoning before. Many of us are beyond being moved by it. We're jaded, perplexed, concerned, and sad. The state of the world, the injustice of the birth lottery and the financial inequities of our markets are not going to be fixed by my skipping out on a latte here and there, I say to myself protectively. When would the giving be enough? What would it take to change the tides for good? So what if the U.S.A. took on Tanzania...which of the other financially secure nations would take on all those nations in the hot red zones of the map above? Is the very underpinning ethos behind charitable giving even the answer?
Charitable giving is complex. No doubt. But it's worth taking a pause each and every day to reflect on our world's very uneven balance - a balance that could shift with a massive fluttering of support from humanity, for humanity. In essence, the 'butterfly effect' but with butterfly wings dusted with $5 bills.
In a climate of exciting progress but endlessly more left to do, I have to believe in the change that can come from all of us fluttering our wings for the greater good. Join me.