Improving the human condition with Bill and Melinda Gates with Goalkeepers, an initiative to spur action and track progress toward the goals. An interview via National Geographic:
Susan Goldberg: I’ve just read the Goalkeepers report. Why did you decide to start doing this?
Melinda Gates: Because we think that the news—that the world has made this incredible progress, this increase in lives saved, the reduction in poverty—that news isn’t really out there. The UN set these amazing goals for the future to help us continue to reduce poverty, and we want to make sure that we hold people accountable for that progress and really inspire the next generation of leaders who are going to take these tasks on.
SG: One of the things I liked about the report is that the audience is treated as adults—you’re saying there are some areas where it’s really tough and we’re not making as much progress as we’d like. You talk specifically about how while poverty is going down everywhere, it’s not going down quite as fast in Africa.
MG: When we travel on the continent, we see this unbelievable potential, particularly with the young people coming up who have so much energy and ingenuity. But the reality is there’s also poverty. And so how do you make sure that the progress that we’re seeing that’s moving forward in places like Rwanda or Ethiopia, that it reaches everybody? And that the lessons that are being learned in certain countries are spread?
SG: What are you seeing in different countries? Who’s doing a great job?
Bill Gates: Even a very poor country can do a good job on health, can do a good job on agriculture, on education. That provides a lot of hope because you can copy what’s being done there. Rwanda has been a big outlier in the quality of those health services. Ethiopia, on agriculture, is growing over 5 percent a year. In education Vietnam is one we talk about, because they’re so far ahead of where you’d expect given their wealth. But it’s when you get those three things together—health, education, agriculture—that eventually these countries can become self-sufficient.