On Thursday, July 14, our much-loved former President and CEO Michael Elliott died. Michael led our organization with passion and compassion—two qualities you can see here. He wrote this for the ONE blog in 2015 to coincide with an incredible article he wrote for TIME called “The Age of Miracles.” It’s an inspiring piece. President Barack Obama clearly thinks so: He praised the idea in a speech he gave on development just a few days after Michael’s death. We’ve reposted Michael’s blog now so a wider audience can be moved by his words.
This year, we can do something remarkable: make what was once miraculous commonplace.
In a piece for TIME, I’ve written that I believe we live in the age of miracles. You can read the piece here.
These miracles aren’t about weird stuff that can’t be explained: they’re about saving lives, connecting people around the world, lifting families out of poverty – and they can be attributed to the sheer imagination and greatness of humanity. To people like you – who raise their voices on behalf of others around the world.
In 2015, we are calling on even more people to stand up and raise their voices, so that these miracles get even more common. We have a real chance to make the age of miracles last, and help even more people live happy, healthy lives.
Here are nine reasons why this is the age of miracles:
1. Global extreme poverty has dropped from over a third of the world’s population in 1990 to just 14.5% in 2011 – less than half of what it was.
2. Since 2000, worldwide malaria mortality rates have decreased by 47%, or nearly half.
3. In 2003 in sub-Saharan Africa, just 50,000 people were on lifesaving antiretroviral drugs to combat HIV/AIDS; now that figure is more than 9 million.
4. In 2012, there were some 57 million more sub-Saharan African children in primary school than in 2000 – that’s nearly as many as the population of California and New York State combined.
5. In the 1970s, less than 5% of the world’s infants received some of the most basic life-saving vaccines; now, it’s more than 80%.
6. Partly because of vaccines, deaths of children under five have been cut in half since 1990, from 12.7 million per year then to 6.3 million in 2013. That’s six million children that would have died who lived!
7. The number of people killed in wars each year has dropped from some 33,0000 in 1950 to less than 1,000 in 2007.
8. The explosive growth of mobile telecommunications in Africa has had huge benefits – for example, women smallholder farmers can send and receive payments with complete security.
9. Millions of people, just like you, have put pressure on their governments to fund and implement policies and interventions that have saved and improved the lives of millions.