Youth Leaders Engage with UN SDG Action Campaign during ECOSOC Youth Forum

The 2018 ECOSOC Youth Forum took place on 30 – 31 January 2018 at the UN HQ in New York City. The Youth Forum brought together hundreds of young leaders, ministers, civil society organisations and UN agencies to discuss the role of youth in building sustainable and resilient urban and rural communities.

The Forum presented the UN SDG Action Campaign with the opportunity to bring the SDGs to the forefront of the discussions, to re-connect with some of our longstanding partners, as well as to inspire young leaders to #Act4SDGs and to foster new partnerships.

Highlights

Campaign workshop for Youth Leaders from Northern Africa & Arab States:

A workshop was organized to inform and train twenty young change-makers from the UNDP Youth Leadership Program on SDG Action campaigning. Stories from the Humans of MY World Campaign (now in Nigeria!) were shared, MY World 2030 was introduced as both a data collection and advocacy tool, and a brainstorm took place about possible activities to be carried out during the Global Day of Action.


Youth Leaders from Northern Africa and Arab States explain how to #Act4SDGs during the ECOSOC Youth Forum. #Youth2030

Side-event on the importance of mainstreaming the SDGs in Education:

Organized by UN Youth Delegates and hosted at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations, a discussion took place on how to better integrate the SDGs in our education systems. Rosario Gravito shared best practices from the Millennials Movement in Peru, while other campaigns and toolkits such as the World Largest Lesson (Project Everyone), MY World 2030 and MY Campus (UN SDG Action Campaign) were shared.
More information can be found here!

UN Virtual Reality (UNVR) experience during DPI NGO Youth Representatives Event

During DPI’s youth event Virtual Reality Screening was used to transport viewers into real life crisis situations in both urban and rural areas.  The concept has proven it’s impact, and also this time around youth leaders were both touched and inspired by the immersive storytelling portfolio of UNVR.

Important: Youth Leaders, Civil Society organisations, and others, can still register for the Global Festival of Action on Sustainable Development taking place in Bonn on 21-23 March. Register here!

All questions related to our youth engagement portfolio may be directed to jilt.vanschayik@sdgactioncampaign.org

Mitchell Toomey: “Youth power can lead the way towards the SDGs and the ambitions of countries all over the world”

Source: African Newspage/January 10, 2018

Mitchell Toomey is the global director of the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General administered by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

How important are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Africa, in terms of achieving sustainable development in the region?

I think the Sustainable Development Goals are everyone’s responsibility and Africa deserves to achieve the SDGs just like other regions deserve to do so; we had the MDGs and countries like Nigeria were an incredible success in rallying people around some specific goals.

Moreover, the SDGs represent a much more ambitious agenda; they are not just about people’s survival but actually about ensuring people thrive. So, Nigeria is an obvious leader in Africa and with such a large youth population and potential we want to make sure the SDGs work here so that Nigeria can lead other countries in Africa.

We are already 2 years into the implementation of the SDGs, how has Africa fared in terms of achieving the goals?

Well, I think every country is different, every country has their own development plans and one thing we have learnt is that you can’t just bring something new and expect everyone to enforce it immediately; already there is the Africa Agenda 2063, which is a very important agenda that came before the SDGs. So, we have to be humble enough to understand that people already have their own plans.

Two years on, we are very happy to see how governments have taken them very seriously; they have set up departments and commissions to make sure there is some accountability in the implementation of the SDGs. Many countries have come to New York to talk about their action plans and what they want to do. However, two years on we can say the goals are still in their very early days.

The next few years will really determine how much progress we will see in terms of implementation of the goals. So, in 2019 the heads of state of all countries will gather again in New York to review the progress we have achieved in 4 years – it will be an incredibly important period. Therefore, we are confident that by then many countries would have achieved some of the progress necessary for the success of the goals.

Two key sectors of the world’s population i.e women and youth are very vital to the success of global development frameworks like the SDGs. How do you think given women and youth the opportunity to key into the implementation of the Global Goals will aid the successful realization of the goals?

Well, one reason the youth are such a focus of the goals is that the youth themselves helped designed the goals; when we were deciding what the goals would be we challenged young people from around the world to help us decide what the goals would be and they responded in amazing ways: by telling us what was happening in their communities and hence what the goals should be.

As such, most of the goals are youth-centered which means the youth can relate to them; we make sure that the icons are very friendly and easy to understand so that even children can understand these goals.

The reason is we are in a period of tremendous change in the world and young people are the future; the ability to access information, find networks of people, and learn new things using digital tools are what matters. It is a much different world than it used to be and young people are the ones who understand it best so we need to follow their lead in making these goals a reality.

And women have always played a very critical role in society even though sometimes such a role is marginalized outside of the traditional economies but we believe by giving everyone in the society the opportunity to participate we will achieve explosive growth which will lead to development in all countries.

Agenda 2030 is a very ambitious development framework that hopes to change the face of the world particularly here in Africa, around gender, education, governance, and public health. Where do you hope to see Africa by the year 2030 in terms of achieving these goals?

It is hard to generalize for Africa as different countries are at different starting points; different countries are progressing in different ways. We have to be very honest that different countries will progress in different ways.

Imagine how much the world has changed in the last 15 years, imagine all the things we never dreamed we could do like standing here and having this conversation with you and getting it out on the internet for everyone to see, we just would not even have thought it would be possible. So, I think if anything the goals aren’t ambitious enough to match the ambitions of young people around the world.

This article is culled from African Newspage – a digital newspaper for development reporting. View the original piece on their website.

SDGs brought to first internship fair of the German Foreign Office in Bonn

Almost 300 university and tertiary-level students had the opportunity to experience a first-hand interaction with the UN SDG Action Campaign last Saturday, the 20th of January, at the first Internship Fair at the German Foreign Office premises in Bonn.

Apart from receiving information on internship opportunities at UN agencies, they built up their knowledge about the SDGs and learned about several ways to engage, such as answering the My World 2030 survey.

Many have also shown interest in volunteering for the annual Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, which this year happens in Bonn from 21-23 of March. The call for volunteers to support the preparations, communications, and delivery of the event is now open and those fluent in English can apply.

The fair brought together 25 international organizations and EU institutions in the region, including several UN organizations such as United Nations Regional Information Centre, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, World Health Organization and International Organization for Migration.

The region of Bonn is considered a sustainability cluster since it gathers several global players and around 150 NGOs working in the fields of development co-operation, peacekeeping, renewable energies, and sustainable resources management.

We encourage all students to stay connected with us by following us on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), volunteering for the festival and engaging with the SDGs in their local communities!

MY World 2030 Survey launched in Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network member countries

Rising up to the challenge of leaving no one’s voice behind, the network of volunteers Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) has officially launched the MY World 2030 UN Global Survey on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) online across all 36 CSAYN countries globally.

As a post-launch, some CSAYN countries have launched the survey offline in Central Africa (Yaoundé, Cameroon), East Africa (Zanzibar, Tanzania) and Europe (Bonn, Germany) for now while waiting on other regions to join efforts.

Based in Cameroon, CSAYN links volunteers with a strong interest in climate-smart agriculture and environment around the world. Climate-smart agriculture can contribute not only to achieve SDG #2, focused on ending hunger, but also relates to ending poverty (SDG #1), sustainable management of water (SDG #6), sustainable economic growth (SDG #8) and action to combat climate change (SDG #13).

In Yaoundé, the offline survey was launched by CSAYN in the International Relations Institute of Cameroon. Attended by well over 300 students of diverse disciplines of international relations, the event was followed by discussions centered on how data collected from the survey can influence policy decisions in the United Nations, as well as resolve key challenges in Africa.

“Watching how participants took the survey with so much excitement, passion and a strong conviction that their votes could make sustainable development a reality has encouraged our work towards being ambassadors for the goals in every local community”, says CSAYN country coordinator Nche Tala Aghanwi.

Although many still continue unaware of the SDGs in Cameroon, particularly in rural communities, discussions made clear how important the goals are for people and the extent to which they cut across their daily experiences.

The MY World Survey has also started to make its way towards local rulers. “One of the most inspired persons I encountered was a traditional ruler who explained to me that this survey has served as an evaluation tool of his rule and the level of amelioration or deterioration of major social services in his village since he became the chief”, says Aghanwi.

In Tanzania, CSAYN has engaged a community of 170 smallholders in Zanzibar in the offline survey, motivated by the interest of rural youth and women in climate-smart agriculture. Members of the Tanzania CSAYN team have also discussed with Zanzibar local farmers how to improve the production of cassava by intercropping it with sweet potatoes or yams in order to increase food security, contributing towards achieving zero hunger by 2030.

In Bonn, Germany, the offline survey was launched in the margin of the Global Landscape Forum. A cross-section of 50 delegates took part in the survey and committed to become SDGs Advocates within their communities, institutions, organizations and countries.

The results of the survey collected by CSAYN will help feed into the UN’s and governments’ monitoring of progress on the SDGs, raising awareness of important issues and giving a “people’s perspective” from the ground, in real-time.

Take the MY World 2030 survey here and raise your voice too about what SDGs are most important to you!

Action for SDGs: Youth Entrepreneurs for Social Good

Young people are the core power to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.  Therefore it is essential to introduce them to the concept of sustainable social businesses and the role of innovation so that they can better lead the innovation in industry and infrastructure and solve social problems through unique innovative ways.

“Youths show a great sense of social responsibility. They understand the concept of social business and they have their own innovative ideas. I hope that they can put their plan into practice and more exchange opportunities between China and Bangladesh can be organized.”

Lamiya Moshed, Executive director of Yunus Center

China-Bangladesh Social Business Young Leaders Program is organized by Youthink Center and gets support from Yunus Centre, Social Business Youth Alliance, Grameen, Intel and other social businesses in Bangladesh. It is a one-week program where the participants will engage in dialogue with Nobel Laureate and SDGs advocate Professor Muhammed Yunus, visit Grameen Bank, lead a social business in Dhaka and then design their own social business idea.

Students talking with Nobel Prize Laureate and SDGs Advocate Prof. Muhammad Yunus

The student teams undergo three main phases:

  1. Learning: Students learn about social business and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  2. Field Visiting: Students go to different social businesses to learn about their models and practices.
  3. Designing and competition: Students design their own social business and present it to partners and stakeholders.
Bangladesh entrepreneurs presented lectures on project promotion, investor’s
attraction, branding construction etc. and provide one-to- one training to help participants design
their business plan.

Feeling inspired to take action?
JOIN the Global Day of Action “We the People #Act4SDGs on Sept 25

On 25th September 2017, 2nd anniversary of the SDGs we are calling for actions across the world to tell people about the global goals and tell our leaders how we are performing. We the People #Act4SDGs.

Read more stories of Action for SDGs from all over the world and be inspired …

 

Action for SDGs: Civil Society takes the lead! Peru and the Agenda 2030 Ambassadors

The 2030 Agenda Peru Ambassadors Program is promoted by The Millennials Movement, the World We Want Platform and the UN Inter-Agency Network for Youth Development – Working Group on Youth and Gender Equality.  The Program aims to facilitate the educated participation of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the process of dissemination, sensitization, implementation and citizen monitoring for 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals at the country level.

Youths discussing SDGs with the CSO Red de Mujeres Iberoamericanas

Through the program, the participant CSOs members join a capacity-building and evaluation process, deliver actions to sensitize their community the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, articulate their organizational goals with the Sustainable Development Goals and bring the voices and opinions of Peruvian men and women to UN and global leaders through the survey My World2030.

“The 2030 Agenda Peru Ambassadors Program, have allowed us interact with other people with similar ideals as our organization, making us feel that we are not alone, that we are accompanied by other youth who have the same desires to make of this a better world.”
– Jessica Danae Tapia Acero, Youth for Change / Líderes por el Cambio

Facilitating this way is a sustainable and inclusive process to achieve the SDGs by 2030. It is important to mention that the program raises awareness about the importance of gender equality to achieve the SDGs through program curricula and as a transversal matter. As it is hard to think about sustainable development when 50% of the population worldwide can’t give their 100% to achieve it.

Peru’s Youth Ambassadors for the Agenda 2030
Credit: Inpulsa Turismo

In 2016 the program reached 16 regions of Peru where 22 CSOs and 162 of their members became “citizen ambassadors” for the 2030 Agenda. 57 actions on the ground were delivered and 2,557 My World surveys were facilitated.

“The Ambassadors Program for the 2030 Agenda has shown us that it doesn’t matter how small the decisions we make every day are, every single decision in every single regards can actively contribute to achieve SDGs by 2030.”
– Rosario Diaz Garavito, The Millennials Movement

The 2030 Agenda Peru Ambassadors Program promotes participation of the CSOs and visualization of their effort as relevant contributions in their communities. CSOs have been contributing to the development process through their communities for quite some time, but many of them do not relate their efforts as contributions to achieving sustainable development at the national level, as some of them are not even familiar with these international instruments.

ICJ Lima

It is clear that the program contributes to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).  The program also includes gender equality approaches that need to be considered while delivering concrete actions to Peru. Peru is a country with different issues regarding gender inequality, according to the last National Gender Inequality Report 2015, the levels of inequality include both economic and political spheres.

Feeling inspired to take action?
JOIN the Global Day of Action “We the People #Act4SDGs on Sept 25

On 25th September 2017, 2nd anniversary of the SDGs we are calling for actions across the world to tell people about the global goals and tell our leaders how we are performing. We the People #Act4SDGs.

Read more stories of Action for SDGs from all over the world and be inspired …

 

Support UNICEF Innovations new call for support for VR/AR

REPOST: Our friends at the UNICEF Innovation Fund have released a call for proposals. Deadline is 17 September. Brief summary below, and full posting here: http://unicefstories.org/vr/.

The Innovation Fund allows UNICEF to quickly assess, fund and grow open-source solutions that can improve children’s lives. Financial and technological support is available for companies that can show a strong founding team and a clear path to improving the lives of children.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking for start-ups that are developing and piloting new open source VR/AR solutions. We are looking to make investments in 1) software for authoring or consuming these new realities, 2) platforms and ways providing wider access to that software, 3) platforms and ways providing better tools for content creation (such as a template, workflow, or format), and 4) particular applications of content.

For our next VR/AR cohort of investees we are particularly interested in the following applications of content:

  • Learning
    Teaching people to perform simple tasks, in many languages, with higher retention rates and better motivational levels (examples: how to install a water pump; how to recognize malnutrition in under 5-year-olds; how to teach seamstresses to perform simple procedures). VR/AR also presents new ways of increasing access to experiential learning, including for people with disabilities.
  • Understanding complex environments
    Accessing large amounts of data and deciphering them in a better way. Getting a simple picture from a complex collection of data points (examples: converting history of GIS data points from refugee camps into a VR environment for better planning; improving situational awareness for emergency responders).
  • New ways of storytelling
    Undiscovered ways of using VR/AR to tell a story, especially by bridging cross-cultural gaps and creating a dialogue.

Be daring: Applications to the Fund are accepted on a rolling basis. However, to be considered for the VR/AR-focused cohort, we ask you to submit your application by September 17, 11:59pm EDT.

SDGs at the German Government’s Open Days

On 26th and 27th August 2017, the German Government held their annual Open Days, this year under the motto “Fancy a date with democracy?”.

People in Berlin had a chance to visit the German Chancellery and the Federal Ministries as well as the Press and Information Office. The UN SDG Action Campaign coordinated an interactive space on the SDGs at the Chancellery Gardens jointly with the German Chancellery sustainable development team and the German Council on Sustainable Development.

Overall, the Open Days attracted more than 120.000 visitors, including families and young people who all had the opportunity to interact with the German federal government and administration.

The Campaign team raised awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals and featured a range of innovative tools for citizen engagement. Children and adults were especially keen to try United Nations Virtual Reality and get an impression of what life is like in Liberia after Ebola, in a refugee camp in Jordan or in the Gaza strip. Many visitors took the opportunity to share their views on the Goals by taking the MyWorld 2030 survey and checking out the views of other citizens from around the world on the MYWorld 2015 and MyWorld 2030 data visualization platforms.

The Open Days also featured the Humans of My World exhibition, which showcases personal testimonies from around the world on why the SDGs matter to the people being quoted.

Read more about the Government’s Open Days 2017 on the website of the German Federal Government here (in German).

Stay up to date and catch the next SDG Action Campaign Hub by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Have your Say on the SDGs taking the MYWorld2030 survey.

Making Periods Normal – Educating on Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights

Young girls in different parts of Bihar often grow up with limited knowledge of menstruation and about their sexual and reproductive health rights. They often find themselves with incorrect information about their bodily changes. Sexual & reproductive health education is rare in schools and most often, majority of young girls do not attend any formal education.

Restless Development is the implementing partner of the project named ‘Making Periods Normal’, funded by Rutgers WPF. The programme is being implemented in the Munger and Bhagalpur district of Bihar, from 2014 to 2017. The target groups of this programme are women, out-of- school and in-school youth, men and stakeholders like ASHA, Aganwadi, community leaders etc.

The programme focuses on promoting knowledge among girls and women on puberty, menstrual health and sexual and reproductive health as well as creating conducive environment for them by engaging stakeholders.

“I preferred to stay at home during my menstruation to avoid embarrassment, I did not know how to use a sanitary pad or the hygiene practices during my periods. In 2015 I attended the menstrual health management session conducted by Restless Development, and learned about hygiene practices to avoid infection”
Mamta Kumar,  a 15 year old, is currently one of the 40 trained educators

Educators giving a session about SRHR

Restless Development conducted a needs assessment and its results are shocking:

  • 75% of girls across India don’t have any knowledge of what material should be used during menstruation and were majorly using cloths which were unclean.
  • 25% of out-of- school girls were not using anything during their periods.

To tackle the issue of insufficient information on menstruation, they are implementing a full programme specially designed for young girls on menstrual health hygiene management. The sessions are designed in a manner that give young girls the space to learn about body changes and speak about their health issues.
In order to provide a more holistic approach Restless Development includes trainings for teachers, mothers, peer educators and young boys in our programme. They created a pool of 40 peer educators specifically trained to provide knowledge and guidance to young girls in their communities and districts.

Raising awareness not only among women

“I did not have the courage to share my health problems with my mother, I did not have the confidence to do so.  A friend told me about the menstrual hygiene management session by Restless Development. I then understood the menstrual cycle & spoke about my irregular periods to the volunteers”
Rinku Kumari, 19 year old, Bhagalpur, Bihar

  • The number of girls who could report menstruation as a sign of puberty went from 4% to 58%.
  • 80% of young people involved in our intervention could identify problems experienced by girls during menstruation.
  • 92% of girls who used cloth during the menstruation said that they dried their used cloth in sunlight.
  • Awareness about sexually transmitted infections increased to 78% from 58%.

The objective of this initiative is to educate young people on puberty and menstrual health to help them adopt safe health practices, and educate teachers/parents, peer educators the importance of educating young girls on menstrual hygiene. Reaching more than 90,000 young people and having trained 40 educators on Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), restless development did not stop there and eventually designed a special mobile app called M-Sathi to make SRHR education accessible to all.

To know more about Restless Development: http://restlessdevelopment.org/our-work-with-girls-1

We invite you to follow this special blog series on the High Level Political Forum 2017 “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world” to find out more about the action taken by citizens and organizations of the country presenting their Voluntary National Review on the SDGs

Advocating for the SDGs through poster challenge in Saskatoon, Canada

In 2015, 11 year-old Sumaya Murabit noticed that there was very little awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals in her local community in Saskatoon, Canada which made it difficult to actually mobilize others into action.

Eager to create awareness and mobilize action Sumaya brainstormed different ideas; in the end she felt that the most cost-effective and practical awareness raising idea was a poster challenge. “With posters it is more fun. Other things like essays make it feel too much like school work and for things like making videos a lot of us don’t have cameras or computers. So the posters were easier because we could do it in art class at the schools and even at home it is not expensive and its fun. And sometimes it’s easier to express your ideas in art.”

Picture 7
(c) A. Murabit – SDG Poster Challenge organizer Sumaya Murabit addressing the audience

After getting her family’s support, Sumaya approached her school teacher, principal and the Saskatoon Public School Board to tell them about the Goals and her idea for a “Poster Challenge” where students designed posters based on the goals. Sumaya also emailed the City Mayor, University Professor Keith Walker and well known radio personality David Kirton. She recruited them onto the “judging panel” and by creating more collaboration with other sectors was able to ensure greater public and media awareness. In the first year, three classes participated in the poster challenge.

Now in its second year, students from three grades in 14 schools – a total of 42 classes – in the city cake together at Roland Michener School Saskatoon where the final posters were viewed and the winner and finalists were announced.

Picture 5
(c) A. Murabit – SDG Poster Challenge Finalists with judges and speakers

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark spoke to students about the importance of local leadership and taking action, Chief of Staff Michelle Beveridge spoke about women’s leadership, Saskatoon Public Schools Director Barry MacDougall spoke about how an idea – with action – can transform the world, indigenous rights activist Andrea Ledding spoke about her work advocated for murdered and missing aboriginal women and the necessity to start now (even if that means starting small). Whitney Graves from Rock 102 told everyone to just “do whatever they put their mind to (unless it’s illegal)”.

Picture 6
(c) A. Murabit – Saskatoon City Mayor Charlie Clark with SDG Poster Challenge organizer Sumaya Murabit and SDG Poster Challenge four top finalists

The students each spoke about their posters, which Global Goal meant the most to them and what they felt needed to be done to actually achieve them. The winner of the poster challenge was 13 year old Jordyn Guan whose poster focused on “Quality Education”.

Jeff Shepherd, principal of Roland Michener School is incredibly excited to see the challenge continue to grow over the next 13 years, anticipating that next year at least 24 schools city wide will be involved. He encouraged all students with ideas, telling them that while it may seem small, it can impact so many and turn into something great.

All 17 finalist posters have been framed to be showcased by the Saskatoon Public School District and City of Saskatoon.

(C) A. Murabit – Quality Education by Jordyn Guan (Winning Poster)