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.”

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(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.

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(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)”.

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(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)

Youth Entrepreneurs take center stage with Road to Nairobi 2016 Project at GPEDC

At the end of November, a diverse group of stakeholders met in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss critical issues at the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation’s second High Level Meeting. Building upon months of grass roots organization in the lead up, Building Bridges Foundation, with partners UN SDG Action Campaign and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ensured the ideas and opinions of young people had a special role at the conference.

For young people, by young people, the project highlighted the entrepreneurial solutions of 80 young entrepreneurs in eight countries. Their stories were shared on the Humans of MY World blog, in blog posts, in exhibitions, and in a final report that was presented to important delegates at the HLM2.

The project, Road to Nairobi 2016 has empowered young entrepreneurs across Eastern and Southern Africa to share their experiences, challenges, and ideas for local solutions to tackling the SDGs. The Building Bridges team departed South Africa in August with the mission of revealing the challenges and priorities of young entrepreneurs in eight countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. The team named a national Building Bridges Ambassador in each country who supported the local coordination on the ground. This included an open call for submissions of ongoing business solutions to addressing the SDGs in both rural and urban settings. The best were chosen to first compete to become the national winner in their country, and then were flown to Nairobi to compete in the global competition. The journey also included national youth forums with policy makers to discuss the results, where MY World 2015 results helped frame the discussions.

The youth entrepreneur’s stories were profiled on the Humans of MY World photo-narrative blog along with an identification of their most important SDG. Banners were printed for an exhibition at the conference, which also included UNVR demonstrations, selfie booths, Humans of MY World voting, previews of the publications created to support the project, the actual bus which was driven across the continent, and the ability to interact with the young people involved in the project.

Two side events were organized around the Building Bridges project. Firstly, the team presented the preliminary findings of an in-depth evaluation report of the project to Ms. Liliane Ploumen, co-Chair of the GPEDC and Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, who stressed the need to include young people in the decision making process:  “Too often we talk about young people without having them in the room.”

Ms. Sicily Kariuki, the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs of the Republic of Kenya stated “We must invest in youth so that they attain skills and nurture a culture of entrepreneurship.”

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The team also presented a draft of their report of the Humans of MY World – the storytelling project done in collaboration with the SDG Action Campaign. Mr. Seing Falu Njie, Regional Director for Africa, reinforced the UN SDG Action Campaign’s commitment to facilitating and ensuring people around the world have a means to voice their opinion through their diversity of projects, such as MY World 2030 and partnerships.

The second event presented the opportunity for 3 of the young Building Bridges ambassadors and others from the region to compete in the “Get In the Ring Competition,” occurring in Africa for the first time. The event mimics a boxing match, placing two competitors in the ring for lightning elimination pitch rounds until one is crowned champion. Unfortunately, the Building Bridges representatives didn’t get the gold this time, but it was a revealing lesson about capacity building with young entrepreneurs from the region for the next project.

The final report about the project will be released at the Global Festival of Ideas in March, 2017.

 

HM Queen Rania meets with the ‘Mark a Difference’ volunteers

5th February, 2014 (Petra, Jordan)

The “Mark A Difference” volunteers in Jordan reiterated their commitment to the Post-2015 cause and to the dissemination of the MY World survey in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. As a member of UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel (HLP), formed to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, Queen Rania met with these very active and enthusiastic youth to discuss the roll out and the outcomes of the “Mark A Difference” campaign in Jordan.

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Since the launch of the campaign by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in May 2013, the volunteers have been a valuable asset in spreading the survey across the Kingdom. Aged between 13 and 25 years old, this young crew comes from the different governorates of Jordan and is determined to give a voice to people in their local communities, and the opportunity to tell global leaders what is the future they want.

During the meeting, HM Queen Rania asserted the important role young Jordanians played in promoting the survey across the Kingdom, thus contributing in identifying priorities and challenges that will help shape the post-2015 agenda. The Queen noted that the volunteers’ participation in promoting the survey is a valuable experience, allowing them to get to know, firsthand, the priorities of their country and find ways that can help overcome the challenges of the development agenda.

Volunteers shared with the Queen their experiences from working in the field, noting that the people they encountered showed great interest in participating in the survey and were delighted to voice their opinions and share their thoughts on national development priorities. “It is really fulfilling to see children in schools reading the survey carefully and discussing what they want to vote for” – said Doha, a volunteer from Amman.Image

Preliminary results from the MY World survey show that the first priorities for Jordan are better job opportunities and better education, followed by better healthcare and honest and responsive government. In this regard, Ali –a volunteer from Irbid- stressed that the first two priorities are closely linked: “If students do not get a proper education, an education that gives them the necessary knowledge and skills to work, then no company will be interested in hiring them”.

Her Majesty added that it is crucial to publish the results of the survey so far so that decision makers and stakeholders can benefit from them. The words of HM Queen Rania strongly motivated the volunteers who are ready to expand their network and continue their efforts in disseminating the survey and the results across the country.

Young representatives also attended the meeting from various local organizations, including Irbid Youth Volunteers, Family Kitchen and X Feer. 

Continue reading “HM Queen Rania meets with the ‘Mark a Difference’ volunteers”

Strategic Partnership with Young People – Key to the World We Want

Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development, Amina J. Mohammed talks with a Willice Onyango, The International Youth Council Kenya.
Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Amina J. Mohammed chats with a youth delegate in Kenya recently.

Doing it with young people rather than for young people will be a catalyst change for change in the next development framework.

The High Level Panel on post 2015 Development Planning is submitting its report to the UN Secretary General in the end of May. The Panel agreed that its vision and responsibility should include a determination to “end poverty in all its forms” and to “have in place the building blocks of sustained prosperity for all”. They also felt there is strong interest in going beyond poverty reduction to include job-creating growth, protecting the environment and providing equity, peace, security, justice and freedom. The Panel agreed to develop a global agenda with global responsibilities. This vision is widely expected to be bold and ambitious. As the Panel prepares to submit its report, the challenge is to ensure that the report sets a framework for a transformative, universal, people-centered development while clearly outlining a bold and relevant commitments needed to ensure a new paradigm for sustainable development that is deeply grounded in sound economic, social, cultural, civil human rights obligations and easy to galvanize collective political action around. Continue reading “Strategic Partnership with Young People – Key to the World We Want”