Ana and the new sustainable development goals

Ana Patricia reckoned she had been a child rights activist for nine years – since she was three, in fact.

That’s when her mum, Daysi, first took her along to a meeting organised by World Vision in Nicaragua. It was about the right of children and women not to be physically abused in the home and community.

Daysi is still a vigorous Justice Promoter in her community. Ana, now 12, has been a leader in a children’s network in her school at Las Canoa, near Tipitapa, since she was eight.

Ana dreams of a community built on the principles of love and fairness. No aggression or abuse toward children or women or other vulnerable people. 

Nicaragua is far from the only country in the world where questions about children’s education, behaviour and interactions can include “a good beating” among the answers. It takes some courage to speak out to adults and your own young peers against the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children.

“Violence revolts me,” Ana told me, with passion. She showed me a model village she has made, with which she helps anyone who will listen to understand her personal dream for the future.


There is a lot of good development thinking in there – she’s a partner with World Vision, after all! – but at its root, she envisages a community built on the principles of love and fairness. No aggression or abuse toward children or women or other vulnerable people. No discrimination. Opportunities for all.

The Sustainable Development Goals

Children like Ana give me hope that we can influence the global discussions about the new development agenda which will follow the Millennium Development Goals.

Over the next six months, Heads of State must weave together hundreds of strands of input and advice and produce a single garment we are all happy to wear – the Sustainable Development Goals.

At the core will be a clarion call to end extreme poverty by 2030. We believe this will only be possible if the needs of the most vulnerable children are explicitly addressed.

We must listen to children like Ana and apply the kind of measures which will ensure that women and children who missed out on the benefits of the Millennium Goals are not left behind again.

Among recent signs of hope is the Group of Friends for Children and Sustainable Development Goals, announced by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Massood Khan, to which 30 nations have already signed up.

Efforts like that encourage me that good collaboration in the Sustainable Development Goal process can lead to a better world, like the one in Ana’s model.

If we all speak up now, and our political leaders listen, the “SDGs” will be like a love letter to the world’s poorest – love in action.

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.