Africa has made remarkable progress toward achieving United Nations global development goals such as expanding primary education and advancing the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

But the continent still lags in reducing extreme poverty and hunger. That’s why world leaders are gathering in New York from September 25 to 27 — to set a new agenda for inclusive economic growth.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development builds on real progress in three key areas, as these profiles show.

Empowering people

For decades, a vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition has meant that children in the Senegalese village of Sylla Diongto have been smaller than they should be. Many struggle in school. Some will never realize their full potential.

(USAID/Morgana Wingard)

Hapsatou Kah is changing that. She’s an expert in agriculture, runs a livestock program, and is improving the health and economic prospects of her community in myriad ways.

Empowered with training and support from Feed the Future, Hapsatou shows her neighbors how to plant healthier and more diverse vegetables, share recipes for new nutritious meals and teach good hygiene skills.

At one point, the village had over 50 cases of malnutrition. Now, says Hapsatou, “it’s nearly nonexistent.”

Building inclusive economies

As the Maasai people of Tanzania modernize, they are faced with one major obstacle: When the sun disappears, so does the light.

(USAID/Morgana Wingard)

Life off the grid means no light switches. No electronics. No refrigerators. Mothers deliver babies in the dark; children who wake in the night are fed and changed chiefly by touch.

Until recently, this was Teresia Olotai’s world. But that all changed when electricity arrived as part of a Power Africa project. The project installed solar microgrids to deliver power, along with a refrigerator, a water-purification system and a laptop.

Teresia and her neighbors use the refrigerator to preserve food and medicine. The light bulbs that line their livestock pens thwart predators and thieves. Children study in their homes after school.

“The life of my kids will be better because of the electricity,” Teresia says.

Improving sustainability and resilience

For most of the year, millions of Ethiopian pastoralists — nomadic people who move with their livestock in search of good pasture or water — worry about the skies.

(USAID/Morgana Wingard)

Like many of them, Dhaki Wako Baneta has faced extreme droughts, and tough choices about whether to sell off her cows and sacrifice long-term earning potential. But thanks to a USAID program, her cows provide a healthy income in a place where economic opportunities are severely limited.

She collects her milk and that of several neighbors and sells it, every day, to a regular buyer. As a result, Dhaki makes more, transforming her earnings into food, care for her children and investments in new livestock.

Dhaki has a sense of security she never had before. “Selling to one person reduced the burden from our former workload,” she says. “My life is changing now because I am a focal person in my community.”

These three individuals have done their part and you can too. This site explains how. And check out how Africans crowdsourced a song to publicize the cause.