Open letter from the SDG Advocates

On 22 September, the SDG Advocates have released an open letter urging everyone to co-own the responsibility of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The letter states that the 17 SDGs “have the potential to make us the first generation to put an end to extreme poverty, the most determined generation to fight inequality and the last generation to be threatened by the effects of climate change.”

The Advocates also urge everyone to “take the substantial and specific actions required to create a better world for all.”

The UN SDG Action Campaign, with the support of Mediacom, secured full page adverts in the Economist European edition (22 October issue) and the Financial Times UK edition (7 October) to publicize the letter, to encourage engagement of all stakeholders in the agenda.

Harnessing Youth Entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe: Key to a Better Future

Entrepreneurship is the key driving tool for most African economies. It facilitates effective economic growth and development for enhanced sustainability. Most young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs who strive to see a better Zimbabwe in the near future have taken this to heart.

The youth peak bulge has not spared Zimbabwe, as estimates reflect that it is probable that 60% of Zimbabwe’s national population is under the age of 30. Like many other young people in Africa, Zimbabwean youth have been challenged by the predicament of high unemployment rates and limited civic engagement opportunities, amongst other adversities.

img_3250 img_3266

The informal sector dominates the Zimbabwean economy. More youth are now entering the scene with hopes of economic survival, yet the job market is not opening up enough opportunities for them. This has been lamented by many youth entrepreneurs. Despite many of them having received a good education, some are still unable to find stable, formal jobs.

Most universities are churning out more graduates than the economy can sustainably accommodate in its current state. However, many of the schools are also channeling out students who have more book knowledge than the technical skills required for self-sufficiency in the current market.

my-world-zimbabwe

The MY World global survey shows that in Zimbabwe most people want a good education. The sampled entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe reinforced this. They want to see an education system which explores more and delves deeper into instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in its curriculum. They wish to have an education system which is not over-reliant on job acquisition immediately following graduation, but one that instead focuses on acquiring a set of business skills which will help in the development and sustenance of entrepreneurial ventures. It is with this notion that the entrepreneurial spirit could be embraced and fueled by graduates, or within the universities’ immediate communities.

The exact unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is currently unknown, but estimates as high as 95% have been calculated for the country. Youths face an uncertain future, but for many of them hope has been rekindled with the surge of entrepreneurial ventures. The hope is to create self-employment opportunities that will lead to a constant revenue flow, allowing sustainability in line with household expectations.

The Building Bridges’ Road to Nairobi 2016 project seeks to harness the spirit of entrepreneurship within all youth to inspire hope for the future, in which effective growth and sustenance is in reach.

img_3560

Zimbabwean youth entrepreneurs face a range of challenges such as lack of financial assistance and restrictive government regulations on company registration. These difficulties hinder them from seeing their dreams as viable ventures.

Despite the many struggles that youth encounter along the way in changing the current economic landscape, they continue to shed light on the hope that entrepreneurship is key to a better future. From the exuberant energy exhibited by most entrepreneurs, it has been established that youth have the innovation and energy that is required to drive successful enterprises and entrepreneurial ventures

img_3305 img_3939

Youth are characterized as vibrant, go-getters and enthusiastic, and such energy if well applied, will lead into the successful implementation of the SDGs. Zimbabwean entrepreneurs are working on challenges they identify in their communities, such as the lack of access to basic education, unaffordable healthcare, health problems due to poor cooking fuels and many more.  

The future is in the hands of youth who define and map the journey that lies ahead. It is with this notion that youth could be effectively equipped with the necessary business skills to be the ones to see through the successful implementation of the SDGs.

These are a few of the solutions to improve the entrepreneurial spirit amongst youth in Zimbabwe deduced from the hearts and minds of the surveyed entrepreneurs:

  • Terrence: Government should create an enabling environment, incentivize people through the creation of funding structures, and build a strong database for youth entrepreneurs to access mentorship who will oversee the successful running of the businesses.
  • Candice: Youth should be made aware of the beauty of entrepreneurship. People have great ideas but they can’t develop them without assistance.
  • Shaun: Government could have proxies in youth businesses to ensure that they are run sustainably. This way you can give funds and ensure they will be paid back.
  • Tinashe: Entrepreneurship should be made part of the curriculum. The youth needs to get inspired, motivated.
  • Tichaona: We need a hub for entrepreneurs. We need IT skills and to make changes through technology.
  •  Chiedza: We need a transparent government where ministers are held accountable. They should focus on advancement of the country rather than how much they can make by helping you.

Author: Kudzanai Chimhanda (Country Team Zimbabwe of the the Building Bridges Foundation)

img_3606

img_3584 img_3898

We're Hiring in Bonn! Join our growing Global Campaign Center

Do you want to be a part of the UN SDG Action Campaign’s brand new Global Campaign Center in Bonn, Germany and work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

The Global Campaign Center is designed as a strategic hub for the UN SDG Action Campaign to deliver on its mandate to inspire people’s action on the SDGs, connect and amplify stakeholder efforts, including those of the UN system and Member States, open up measures of accountability, aggregate citizen-generated data, showcase impact, share best practices, and incubate and test out innovative efforts around SDG implementation.

If this sounds exciting to you, then here’s your chance because we are actively looking for new talents to join our dynamic team. As the Campaign begins to build our Global Campaign Center in Bonn, Germany, we want to encourage everyone with the passion for Sustainable Development and the technical portfolio in Communications, Administration, Project implementation and Event Management to apply. Below are the opportunities, click the links to learn more and APPLY before 21st October, 2016!

Media and Communications Consultant

Support the media and communications efforts around key events of the UN SDG Action Campaign in Bonn and internationally

Support the media and communications work of the Global Campaign Center in Bonn

Contribute to the communications efforts of the Campaign

Administrative Consultant

Provide effective administrative and logistical support for the establishment and effective functioning of the Global Campaign Center in Bonn

Support the launch of the Global Campaign Center, the SDG Action Forum and other relevant Campaign events in Bonn and internationally

Provide support to office maintenance and assets management

Project Consultant

Support in the product design activities of MY World 2030, securing of key partnerships, design of the web-portal and strategic input into the promotional plans in collaboration with the MY World 2030 working group

Support in maintaining relationships with key internal and external partners and stakeholders

Events Management Consultant

Support the launch event of Global Campaign Center in Bonn

Support the organization of the SDG Action Forum in Bonn

Support the organization and management of other events in Bonn

Championing Youth Entrepreneurship in Mozambique with Building Bridges

img_2571The Road to Nairobi 2016 Project, with the support of the local World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper Hub, traveled around the greater Maputo area to meet 10 youth entrepreneurs working in a variety of sectors, in order to learn from their challenges and to get a better understanding of their lived experiences. The ventures discovered ranged from a tech startup working on information asymmetry in the labor market, to a design firm which transforms waste into materials for interior design. These individual stories are featured on the Humans of MY World photo-narrative blog.

global-shapers-gbph_-77global-shapers-gbph_-90

The path of an entrepreneur in Mozambique can be difficult and trying at times; a few of the entrepreneurs we met noted how the economic climate is having an impact on their businesses. Even so, some young people are choosing entrepreneurship as an alternative to looking for a job, where they are confronted by a youth unemployment rate estimated at around 80%. The young people who are resilient enough to try youth entrepreneurship need support, role models and an enabling environment. 

Frederico Peres Da Silva, co-founder of a tech startup in Maputo, recognizes the importance of entrepreneurial role models: “If you are in the [United] States, a CEO understands the value of mentoring a startup. You know why? Because he’s heard of Facebook, he’s heard of Snapchat, he’s heard of WhatsApp. He goes, ‘Oh, what if this is the next Facebook?’ To change that perception in Mozambique you need to have a couple of references in the market. You need to have your champions.”

global-shapers-gbph_-25
Graca Machel, SDG Advocate speaks at the Mozambican Building Bridges Forum

Young Mozambicans that have taken to the MY World global survey prioritize good education as one of the key areas where  they hope to see positive improvement. The youth entrepreneurs we met further discussed the current education system and their experiences with it.  However, they are not only focused on education in general, but see the importance of having practical skills and experience in the workplace as the key to success in their entrepreneurial journey.

Lack of technological infrastructure and resources are other challenges to educational access and entrepreneurship in Mozambique. Frederico is using technology to help young unemployed Mozambicans access the job opportunities through their phones.

img_2754Where gaps and challenges exist, young people in Mozambique are stepping up to empowering each other and themselves. Marlene de Souza found that young people were unable to communicate and translate their knowledge into action in the workplace. She started a company which offers training to university students on skills such as how to successfully enter the job market and how to communicate with “attitude,” so that these students can bridge the gap between the academic and labor market.

Diogo Lucas started a business to help SMEs access finance and gave them the tools to mature into sustainable businesses. According to Diogo, this is something SMEs really need: “There are opportunities for small businesses but they’re not developing because there is not enough support, there’s not enough money. Bank finance is hard to come by with all these challenges. When I was travelling across the country I realized that it’s not because they have bad businesses. It’s because people don’t have the skills or the ability to access capital that can help them grow and develop.”

img_2779

Sázia Souza runs a company which offers tech solutions to companies and private individuals. Twice a month, she and her team trains children on how to use computers. When asked about her passion for technology and education, Sázia said: “Mozambique has a problem when it comes to using technology. People are not prepared for the future. Technology is growing too fast. When you go to some schools, they don’t even have computer lessons. Even the teachers don’t know how to use the computers.”

Youth entrepreneurs in Mozambique are working to carve a bright future for themselves. They are working together and with other young people to support skills development while growing a culture of entrepreneurship. To help them on this path, it is important to understand the Mozambican context as well as the lived experiences of rural and urban young Mozambicans in order to empower them for success. The Road to Nairobi team spoke to youth entrepreneurs and asked them what changes they would like to see to support youth entrepreneurship in Mozambique:

  • Lineu: More young people need to have the courage to start for themselves. I started with nothing and almost 100% of the people didn’t believe in me.
  • Claudio: When you register a business, you are sent from one place to another. The process will be better when everything is in one place. It should take less time and require fewer documents.
  • Wilton: Government must create conditions for young entrepreneurs to develop businesses. Especially fiscal policy because currently, police doesn’t differentiate between being a young entrepreneur or an old entrepreneur.
  • Sides: We need more incubators with people who have been trained to support youth entrepreneurs.

Authors: Samantha Ndiwalana (Project Manager of the Building Bridges Foundation) and Annemarelle van Schayik (Research Manager of the Building Bridges Foundation).

#UNGA71 – Bringing Peoples' Voices into the mix

From Nigeria to China, From UNHQ to Microsoft, the SDG Action Campaign working with Multi-Stakeholders to Ensure We Leave No One Behind during the 71st UNGA.

dataplayground-19-1
It’s been a busy 71th UNGA week. At the SDG Action Campaign, we spent the week strategizing with partners from around the world on how to bridge the technological divide, adopt innovative communication methods and more effectively build multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder partnerships. This is done in the effort to ensure that throughout the SDG advocacy and implementation process, the voices of the most marginalized are heard loud and clear. Together with world leaders, governments, youth-led organizations, parliamentarians, and the private sector, this week we delve deeper into how to make the ambitious SDGs a reality for everyone, everywhere on a local, regional and global level. Here’s a brief recap of all the exciting innovations, conversations, events, and actions from UNGA 2016 Week!

At the Inter-agency UNDG Side-Event, SDGs Coming to Life, the Germany Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, made a clear call to action for everyone to join into the SDG Action Campaign. It was wonderful to see this packed event bringing together Member States, Civil Society, Youth, and Private Sector colleagues. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, urged everyone to take action and to bring inspiration to those who need it the most. Together, indeed, we will bring the SDGs to Life!

In case you missed this incredible event, check out the SDG Action Campaign’s newest video highlighting you, the people, and how we’re going to leave no one behind for the #SDGs.

nigerian-partners

On 21 September, the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations co-hosted a UNGA side event with the SDG Action Campaign on multi-stakeholders’ engagement in the implementation of the SDGs in African nations. In his opening remarks, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama illustrated the need for country-level, multi-stakeholder engagement, proclaiming that for the SDGs to be realized, we need ALL HANDS FIRMLY ON DECK.

For the SDG Action Campaign, the UNGA week came to a brilliant conclusion with the annual Data Playground event in collaboration with UN Global Pulse and Microsoft. Kicked off by a High-Level Panel discussion attended by the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor for Agenda 2030 and Senior Executives from Twitter, Microsoft and the Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data. The event showcased innovative data and solutions from across the UN system, featuring showcases and workshops from the SDG Action Campaign, WFP, UNICEF, UNDP, OCHA and many others. 

dataplayground-31-1

Throughout the week, we had many visitors and received a particularly warm visit from the Campaign’s long standing Chinese youth-led organization partner, Youthink Center. 17 students and young professionals from across the country discussed with the Campaign grassroots engagement strategies for the SDGs and MY World 2030 as it relates to their lives and communities.

The @SDGAction helped facilitate a portal to be installed in the Sputnik Center inside of UNHQ. This offered world leaders an unique opportunity to virtually meet with refugees and people from vulnerable communities. The Netherlands was a major sponsor for the Portal by Shared Studios and Minister H.E. Ploumen used this innovative technology to meet and converse with refugees living in Iraq. Through the Campaign’s UNVR.org series, we were able to virtually introduce a young Syrian girl named Sidra who lives in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan to the Foreign Minister of Malaysia.

Many of these activities were planned to fall within the inaugural #globalgoals week, a joint initiative of SDG Action Campaign, UNDP, UNF and Project Everyone. The week saw a huge host of activities to promote and engage people everywhere in the achievement of the Goals. The week also saw the SDG Action Campaign launch two exciting pieces of content in collaboration with the above partners, the ‘We have a Plan’ video and ‘Numbers in Action’ we encourage you to view these and give us your feedback. Let us all keep taking bold action towards fulfilling this ambitious agenda for people and planet.

So you ask, now that the GA is over, what’s next? Here’s a hint: See you in Bonn (Check out this video)!