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Blwyddyn Newydd Dda / Happy New Year

‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions and a number of friends and colleagues have informed me of their noble intentions for 2011, including supporting local business and shunning products containing palm oil.  These good intentions made me realise that I hadn’t even considered my New Years resolutions.  So, what did I need to change?

Worryingly, when I considered what I needed to improve, the list kept growing.  There were the obvious ones: go to the gym, eat less junk, etc.  But these seemed feeble compared to my friends’ efforts.  Then it came to me.  And it was a light bulb moment!

For months my dining room light has not worked.  Mr E has prodded the switch, stared at the fuse box, and even changed bulbs (it’s a convuluted LED chanderlier type thing) but to no avail.  So have we called an electrician, asked a knowledgable friend, or consulted a DIY manual?  No!  We have done nothing.  Instead we enjoy dinners by candlelight with the adjoining kitchen lights on.  And this is not because Mr E is prone to romantic flights of fancy.  No, it is sheer laziness.  We have a stop-gap, it works, and most of the time we can ignore the problem.  It is only an issue when people come for dinner, and then we say, “We’re in the process of getting it fixed…such a nuisance….should be sorted in a couple of weeks”.  The light has been broken for over 6 months!

Mr E and I are not unique.  One of my friends has had a lightbulb out in her hallway for months and rather than changing the bulb, she has been relying on a plug-in night light!  And lots of us know we should eat less and do more, but instead we dream of ‘miracle diets’ and ‘celebrity fitness regimes’ when we know they won’t work, and aren’t good for us.  BUT ignoring the problem and hoping for a quick-fix is what we do.

This ostrich-with-head-in-sand approach is favoured the world over.  And not just by individuals, but governments too.  At the start of the millennium, world leaders pledged to work to eradicate global poverty, hunger and disease, setting eight Millennium Development Goals to meet by 2015. These may be the most significant New Year’s resolutions ever!  Save the Children is particularly concered with Goals 4 and 5:

  • MDG4: Reduce by two-thirds the mortality rate among children under the age of five.
  • MDG5: Improve maternal health: Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio and achieve universal access to reproductive health.

Progress has been made but leaders need to act to achieve their promises.  24,000 children under the age of five will die today – their lives cut short before they’d really begun. Most of their deaths could have been prevented. But the reality is that not every child has an equal chance of survival. Children from the poorest and most marginalized communities are most likely to die.

And that’s the point.  These children, and their families, need our help to hold world leaders to account.  Just like me and Mr E with our dodgy lighting, it’s public scrutiny that  forces action.  So, if you only make one resolution this year please make it to join Save the Children’s global campaign to save children’s lives.  You can find out more at our Every One campaign website.  This will be my New Year’s resolution for 2011: to actively support this campaign to build a better future for children worldwide.  Join me.

And my lighting problem?  I’m calling the electrician today!

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