5 Reasons to Give Thanks in 2013

Flickr User: U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Creative Commons License
Flickr User: U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Creative Commons License / Flickr User: U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Creative Commons License

It's easy to look around us and focus on the bad news. Yes, there are crises around the world that need our help. But today, let's also focus on some of the good news—and have a sneak peek at more progress coming next year.

1. Infant Mortality is Down

Compared to the year 2000, infant mortality is down by 2.65 million each year. That means 7,256 children's lives are saved each and every day. In a TED Talk (above), U2 singer (and ONE campaigner) Bono put that number in perspective:

Let's just stop for a second, actually, and think about that. Have you read anything anywhere in the last week that is remotely as important as that number? Wow. Great news. It drives me nuts that most people don't seem to know this news. Seven thousand kids a day.

2. Worldwide Poverty is Down

Image courtesy of the United Nations.

In 1990, 43% of the world's population was living in poverty. In 2010, it was 21%. While that number is still too high, it means that worldwide, we have halved the poverty rate in just 20 years. That's astounding, and it actually happened five years ahead of the UN's Millennium Development Goal.

3. Ethiopia Has Drastically Reduced Malnutrition

Ethiopia's Community Based Nutrition program is dramatically reducing malnutrition rates in many of the country's most vulnerable communities. In the community of Wolaita, malnutrition rates have dropped by 75% in just three years.

In this uplifting talk by statistician Hans Rosling, we can see how Ethiopia's model can work elsewhere (stick around for the Ethiopia bit starting around 1:25):


4. Catapult Has Funded 300 Projects for Girls and Women

Catapult is a crowdfunding site focused on projects that help girls and women around the world. They don't take a cut of the money you donate, and the projects span all sorts of issues, from fuel-efficient stoves in Darfur to a theater project in Morocco. But the big news is that Catapult has fully funded 300 projects (and counting). That's news worth celebrating!

5. India is On Track to Be Declared Polio-Free

Here's a bonus item. India has been fighting polio for decades, with an incredibly ambitious "surge" approach that appears to have worked. If there are no new cases of polio identified in India, the WHO will declare India officially polio-free early in 2014. Think about that for a moment—a country with 1.2 billion people has eliminated a disease that has destroyed lives for countless children and families. While the proclamation has not been made yet, this one's looking really good.