RTE Television

What In The World?

What In The World? returns with a new four-part series focusing on the Millennium Development Goals and features compelling stories from some of the poorest people on the planet in Bangladesh, Malawi, Vietnam and Zambia.

Presented by Peadar King, This series will focus on the Millennium Development Goals, the commitment by the nations of the world "to free people from abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty and to free the entire human race from want".

The programmes will ask challenging questions about the ability of the Millennium Development Goals to respond to the desperate conditions of people like Aminur Rahman.

Episodes

Programme One

In Bangladesh, water threatens the lives of the coastal people in the Bay of Bengal. But here it is the increasing frequency of cyclones that is devastating the area. Aminur Rahman's life was utterly upended during one of these cyclones. He graphically re-lives the afternoon in which he desperately tried to hold on to two of his children and that moment of recognition when he was forced to realise that they were dead and he had to let them go.

Programme Two

In Malawi, frail elderly Nana Chinegowe is left to care for her three orphan grandchildren, 11-year-old Nelson, 10-year-old Mathero and five-year-old Blessings. But other than occasional casual work as a day labourer for which she earns €0.30 a day, she has no mean to support them. Hunger stalks their lives. Water, however, is plentiful, at least during the rainy season. Sometimes even too much so. The roof of her tiny one-roomed block-built house is porous and the rain teams in. These are the ultra poor of Malawi. Dispassionately but with tremendous emotional power, Nana tells us their story.

Programme Three

What In The World? returns with a new four-part series focusing on the Millennium Development Goals and features compelling stories from some of the poorest people on the planet in Bangladesh, Malawi, Vietnam and Zambia. Presented by Peadar King, the third programme in the series visits Vietnam.

Vietnam will forever be remembered through the lens of war. First China, then France then China again and perhaps most devastatingly of all the United States of America. Bruised, battered and beaten be decades of imperialist interventions, and then by the heavy handed centralism of the first decade of communist rule, today it tells an altogether different story.

Just twenty years ago almost 60% of the population were living in poverty. Today that figure is down to 14% and dropping. The food poverty rate has been reduced by more than two-thirds, from 24.9 per cent in 1993 to 6.9 per cent in 2008.

When it comes to poverty reduction, we seldom hear of good news stories but Vietnam does just that. There has been a profound transformation in Vietnamese society and its people are keen to demonstrate just how much things have changed. And change for rice farmer Tho Thi Nguyen means a new kitchen and cooking at the turn of a switch. But economic transformation has come with a price. Freedom of expression is heavily curtailed and people are allowed tell the international community about this transformation as long as they genuflect and give praise and thanks to the great leaders of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

This series will focus on the Millennium Development Goals, the commitment by the nations of the world "to free people from abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty and to free the entire human race from want".

The programmes will ask challenging questions about the ability of the Millennium Development Goals to respond to the desperate conditions of people like Nana Chinegowe.

What In The World?
  • RTÉ One, Thursday, 11.10pm