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About the Author

Johan Knols
Blogger, safari specialist, professional wildlife guide (Woerden, Netherlands)

Johan Knols is the owner of the planyoursafari blog. He studied tourism in the Netherlands and has been working in the African tourism industry for nearly 15 years. Starting as lodge manager in the Serengeti in Tanzania, he eventually owned his own mobile safari company in Botswana. Johan received his professional wildlife- guides licence in 1998 and was awarded the title of Honorary Wildlife Officer with the Botswana Wildlife and National Parks authority in 2005. During his time in Africa he has managed upmarket safari lodges and has done overland trips in the luxury and semi-luxury sector. At the moment he is a full-time blogger giving tips and advices on everything related to African safaris.


Millennium Development Goals For Dummies

Published 14th July 2010 - 17 comments - 6855 views -

I thought it appropriate to pencil down some words for those amongst us who have no idea about the MDG’s 2015, what they mean and what they imply.

The result is the Millennium Development Goals for Dummies.

Goal 1:
End Poverty and Hunger

No, poverty does not mean that you can’t afford a second vehicle or that you can only afford to go on a two week holiday instead of a three week one. It also doesn’t mean that you can visit the beautician only once a month.

Poor are those that live on one (1) dollar or less a day.

In beer terms this means being able to buy only half a glass, in a developed country’s pub, a day.

The word ‘hunger’ refers to a situation in which there is a chronic shortage of food in your stomach.

It has nothing to do with hunger for money, hunger for victory or a bishop named Hunger that lived in the Netherlands and was the main character in Utrecht between 854 and 866. Not that I ever met him.

Goal 2:
Universal Education

Ever looked at the stars and wondered what is out there. Ever wondered how far the moon is from earth? Well sorry, universal education has got nothing to do with studying the universe or the education of green men.

Universal education is meant for those living on planet earth and is aimed at sending every boy and girl to school so they can finish primary education (=what you learn at school). That is the education until roughly their twelfth (12th) year of life. Get it?

Goal 3:
Gender Equality

So you know what gender equality is? Wrong again. It does not mean that men have to become transvestites or have to remove those body parts that make them men.

Gender Equality in the MDG’s refers to the fact that boys and girls should have the same opportunities in secondary education (remember what education is?) and all levels of education afterwards. Yes, believe it or not, there are lots of people that like to study (unlike you).

Goal 4:
Child Health

Does not refer to not eating crisps or sucking candy. It also doesn’t refer to the band aid on that bruised knee or the gap between two (2) milk teeth. It’s a bit more serious than that.

Goal 4 tries to eliminate child death under the age of five (5) due to hunger (see above) and poverty.

Goal 5:
Maternal Care

Have a look at the below video.


There is absolutely nothing in it that has to do with the maternal care that goal 5 tries to improve. I said NOTHING!

What goal 5 tries to achieve is less baby dying while their mother is giving birth. It also aims to give women worldwide access (amongst other things) to contraceptives. (No, not those pills your daughter took to a Dance party. Those you gave her not to fall pregnant!)

Goal 6:
Combat HIV/Aids, Malaria and TB

We are not talking about fighting gambling addiction and the ‘Happy In Vegas’ (HIV) mentality. We are talking about a sexually transmitted virus that is lethal. Malaria is also not the exotic name of a South American woman but a, by mosquitoes transmitted, disease that is extremely dangerous. TB stands for a disease of the lungs and not ‘Too Bad’ (as an answer for all the misery in the world).

Goal 7:
Environmental Sustainability

Env-iron-mental has nothing to do with an iron mentality or something. Nor does sustainability have anything to do with a washing powder that removes stains.

This goal is trying to reduce loss of biodiversity ( I know, another difficult word, but it basically boils down to letting as many plant and animals species live and survive) and the access to clean drinking water (=liquid coming out of a tap). This goal also tries to reduce the number of people living in slums. You know, those houses built out of carton and scrap metal, that you produce so much of?

Goal 8:
Global partnership

Please for once forget about playing golf and your glow balls. Also, the second word is alien to the boat your business partner recently bought.
Here we are speaking about worldwide cooperation when it comes to trading and financial systems , debt relieve and making technologies and communication widely available.

In case you still haven’t got a clue what the goals are trying to achieve, please refer back to goal 2.


  • Helena Goldon on 14th July 2010:

    As often - funny. Well done, Johan!
    Reminds me of your other post:

  • Carmen Paun on 14th July 2010:

    Great, you actually make it funny and far-reaching! Just great Johan!

  • Andrea Arzaba on 14th July 2010:

    Hahah I loooove your post! Thank you so much for putting a big smile on my face smile

  • Johan Knols on 14th July 2010:

    If you ladies have a few other ‘tips for dummies’, please put them forward.

  • Benno Hansen on 14th July 2010:

    Nice article, Johan! “MDG for dummies”... love it grin

  • Johan Knols on 14th July 2010:

    Benno I am sure you can come up with some tips for the dummies as well. Let me hear them.

  • Jan Marcinek on 14th July 2010:

    This is a perfect article. Great idea! I like it.

  • Johan Knols on 14th July 2010:


    Come on guys, Th!nk and hand me some more tips!

  • Luan Galani on 16th July 2010:

    Johan, funniest ever. I’m thinking…

  • Clare Herbert on 16th July 2010:

    We should send this to the G8s, methinks smile

  • Johan Knols on 16th July 2010:

    On a more serious note:
    During my last weeks, reading for the first time about issues dealing with the MDGs, I noticed how often I would get tired, uninterested and outright bored reading all the stuff being produced by committees, organizations and the big UN. No wonder hardly anybody (apart from those making a buck or two out of it) is listening. What I have been trying to do is put the MDGs in the spotlight AND writing about them in an airy way. Personally I believe it is the only way to let the Dummies see the light.
    (@Clare: be my guest)

  • Luan Galani on 16th July 2010:

    @Johan, I see clearly your point. And I think you’re right…much of boring stuff being produced by such agencies. That’s why human stories make a huge difference. However, those materials are of the greatest importance to give us a real sketch to prepare our stories.

  • Clare Herbert on 17th July 2010:

    @Johan: You’re so right. I read a lot on development for work and it’s like reading the phone book! Dull, complex, badly written and ENDLESS. I get that these are complicated issues, but writing in a clear, straight-forward manner would make life a hell of a lot easier for everyone involved methinks. Although, the conspiracy theorist may argue that keeping the facts hidden in such tedious documents means serves their agenda.
    Writing airily about death and destruction or economics and policy is always a big challenge.

  • Johan Knols on 17th July 2010:

    @Luan & Claire,

    For me that is the biggest discovery so far and also the most frustrating one: Boring, unreadable and dusty stuff written by people who in my opinion are not really interested if Joe Block understands what is happening around him. And let’s face it. The less Joe Block understands, the less questions he will ask, with the result that the powers that be can continue what they did and will do into eternity. All on a very handsome salary.

    Now get me right, I am not saying that they are totally waiting their time, but things could speed up and the message should be wrapped in such a way that also Joe Block won’t be a Dummie much longer.

  • Clare Herbert on 18th July 2010:

    Here here, Johan. The less people know, the less they want to know and the more free reign the UN can have with their money.

  • Johan Knols on 18th July 2010:


    I am not under the impression that the UN is wasting the money they hand out. But what worries me is the amount of people working for the UN. By putting that in contrast with what they produce I think the employees earn handsomely. So yes, it is in their interest to be vague.

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