Winners of the first United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Awards announced

The Awards Ceremony honored winners in seven categories during the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany, highlighting transformative action for the SDGs around the world

March 21, 2018 (Bonn) – The winners of the first United Nations SDG Action Awards have been announced this Wednesday by the UN SDG Action Campaign, demonstrating the extraordinary momentum towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in different corners of the earth.

See photos of the Awards Ceremony

The Awards Ceremony was held in tandem with the second edition of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany, and honored initiatives in the categories of communicator, connector, includer, innovator, mobilizer, storyteller, and visualizer.

“These are ‘Action’ Awards because we need more than words: our winners dared to believe and act for change. They are perfect examples of the wonderful work that’s happening around the world led by thousands, if not millions, of people”, said Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

The winning initiatives are fighting corruption in Nigeria, mobilizing Belgians to implement the SDGs in their daily lives, empowering children through photography and digital skills in Bangladesh, promoting human rights education in Sri Lanka and much more. Evidencing the multi-sectoral engagement to achieve the SDGs, the winners span over private and public sectors, as well as civil society and grassroots movements.

Over 700 nominations from 125 countries in 7 continents were submitted. An expert judging panel evaluated submissions against the degree to which actions were deemed to be transformative, inclusive and impactful.

In addition, an open vote was held on the website of the UN SDG Action Campaign where visitors could rate their favorite among the 38 finalists to win the People’s Choice Award.

“Great solutions for the world’s challenges can come from anywhere. We hope everyone is inspired by these stories and consider submitting their nominations for future Awards. These are the first winners of a community that will continue to grow”, said Toomey.

ABOUT THE UN SDG ACTION CAMPAIGN

The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN-Secretary General, administered by the UNDP to create awareness about the 2030 Agenda, empower and inspire people across the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while generating political will, and help make the Goals attainable by 2030. For more information, please visit https://sdgactioncampaign.org.

ABOUT THE GLOBAL FESTIVAL OF ACTION

The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development is the world´s annual event to celebrate, empower, and connect the global community driving Action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Organised by the UN SDG Action Campaign with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Festival connects an inspiring mix of business leaders, activists, UN representatives, academia, governments, innovators, global organisations, and the media from across the globe. Taking place in Bonn each year, the Festival provides a dynamic and interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, tools, and approaches to SDG action and connect organizations and individuals from different sectors and regions to exchange, build partnerships, and make the impact of their solutions scale.

1 Million Impact Campaign / OKYD Project

There is nothing like taking it really personal and proclaiming yourself an ambassador

Taking SDG ambassadors to local level in Benin

Communities and citizens (including youth) have little knowledge of the UN SDGs and contribute little to its implementation in Benin. This initiative mobilizes volunteers to act for the SDGs. It is part of a global campaign that aims to reach 1 million individuals around the world  in 5 months to inform them about the SDGs.   This approach is unique in Benin, as nobody else is doing it.

In Benin, 120 City Ambassadors from 52 towns, including 18 women were recruited and trained. All the 120 City ambassadors implement at least one activity/event. But because of the lack of commitment, engagement and financial resources, out of the 120 City Ambassadors, 35% (42 members) did not reach their main goals during the term.

The main success is that out of the 120 City Ambassadors 65% (78 members) were able to reach their main goal which consisted in organizing in-person seminars and events to promote the SDGs and impact at least 1,000 people during the term.

For example, Mrs. Daga Assiath worked hard and successfully on SDG 13 with others stakeholders as SDGs City Ambassador at Porto-Novo. By the end of November 2017 in Benin, around 115,000 persons in 52 cities were impacted.

This initiative is an innovative project but it has challenges to its implementation. Some country Ambassadors were not able to recruit the city Ambassadors and implement the project on volunteer basis because of lack of commitment, engagement and financial resources. It is such a challenge that the project will start giving an award to the Best City Ambassador with a certificate and prize at the end of the term selection process.

Through this project, citizens and communities know more about the SDGs because activities were implemented in local language and in a familiar environment, so they were free to ask any question to understand more about the SDGs. In the coming future, the project will keep growing in Benin in order to reach all the 77 cities and adding new activities and projects.

Who is behind this?

Agbadjagan Yacinthe Vidéou

GoalsOnWheels

Travelling through schools makes the SDGs classroom huge

Travelling through schools makes the SDGs classroom huge

GoalsOnWheels is truly unique. An intense effort carried out voluntarily by an individual to reach the most unreached with the SDGs. The project has reached 88 schools so far, impacting about 80,000 individuals. It is not just addressing the SDG awareness gap but also inspiring others to follow suit helping the cause to reach a larger audience and multiply the impact. The initiative paved the way for many localised solutions specific to the issue. It has drawn attention from global peers who are willing to replicate the initiative in their countries.

An inspiring story of this initiative is that when the project leader met a student, Rithwik, in the initial days of the campaign. The campaign gave him a stage to speak and only then they could know how intelligible that kid was. He has volunteered to lead SDG 13 within his school. Recently, the project leader has revisited them and was surprised to hear and see transformational change. Rithwik convinced not just his friends but the school management to reduce usage of polythene bags and the school has taken a resolution to make the premise a polythene free zone. He says now he wishes to become a global climate champion by saving his planet from climate deterioration.

This is all what the initiative aspires to do, apprise and inspire. The current ambitious target to reach hundred thousand students is only a initial phase of the global impact going to be created. In the next phase multiple campaigns will be launched across the world. Together with all the countries, large scale implementable solutions will be worked on. Furthermore, this entrepreneur is working with the local government to make their policies in line with the SDGs.

Who is behind this?

Akhilesh Reddy Singi Reddy

For more information:

Visit http://singanna.com/goals-on-wheels/

SDGs Youth Training Canada

Youth is already organized, you just have to knock on their student groups’ doors

Youth is already organized, you just have to knock on their student groups’ doors

How can youth meaningfully participate in the movement toward a sustainable, prosperous and equitable Canada? How can Canadian civil society create space for youth, moving beyond just few youth representatives, to include diverse youth as active, fully engaged global citizens?

That is the problem the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship (FES) set out to tackle in 2016-2017, partnering with student-organizing groups across post-secondary institutions in Canada to bring the Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy and Local Implementation program across the country; from St. Johns, Newfoundland in the Maritimes, all the way to the west coast in Kamloops, British Columbia.

The first initiative of its type, the SDGs Youth Training Canada program is designed to engage and mobilize young people and build their capacities in sustainable problem solving, exercising this muscle to make it our generation’s core competency. Understanding the history, guiding principles and measurement of the SDGs is just the first step of the program, which is what students are introduced to at the training on their campus. The most important part of engagement with students is facilitating the design and implementation of an SDG Project in their local communities, catalyzing them to action.

Every campus SDGs Youth Training event hosted this year was entirely organized and driven by students, for students. Club organizers, student activists, elected departmental representatives and all other types of student leaders were the drivers of the SDGs Youth Training on their campus, and they are the leaders taking on the mantle of local implementation.

It is FES’ firm conviction that youth serving work must center the value, capacities and goals of youth themselves. Through the cross-country tour, Canadian students have demonstrated irrevocably that youth are willing and able to be the champions of the SDGs.

Nearly 6000 Canadian students came out from coast to coast to 32 trainings, representing 77 post-secondary institutions across the country. When asked if the training increased their understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals , 96% of the 400+ respondents asserted that it did and, perhaps most humbling for us is that when asked how much more likely they are to take action (e.g. advocacy and local implementation) on the SDGs after this training, 81% of respondents said they were likely to do so.

With the energy the program has generated at the grassroots, and guidance from FES SDGs Program Staff, students are collectively organizing the first ever Canadian Student Network for the Sustainable Development Goals, a national level youth body that will represent student voices in policy advocacy!

AIESEC: Youth 4 Global Goals

If you watch these inspiring episodes of volunteering experiences, you will want to volunteer too

If you watch these inspiring episodes of volunteering experiences, you will want to volunteer too

Youth 4 Global Goals is an AIESEC Initiative through which the team aims to mobilize youth towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Their initiative aims to educate youth about the SDGs and provide practical volunteering opportunities to unleash their potential while being an active world citizen. They believe that young people need to be strong partners in the achievement of the SDGs.

The project focus on developing their leadership skills and providing a platform to act towards issues they are passionate about. AIESEC has built a strong network of young people passionate about the positive change and has mobilized 74,000 international volunteers to work in development projects for 6-8 weeks. Since the creation of the initiative in 2015, it reached over 6 million young people to educate them about the SDGs and engaged 90,000 young leaders in YouthSpeak Forums to discuss some of the most pressing issues in the local reality.

Youth 4 Global Goals is aiming to become to an umbrella for all the youth action towards the SDGs. Their ambition is to be able to engage as many young people in this movement as possible. AIESEC is actively working with various partners to increase our reach. For 2018, the team plans to reach 10 million young people through their digital campaigns, 100,000 people through YouthSpeak Forums and World’s Largest Lesson activations. Most importantly, they are keeping their focus on making sure youth will take action to impact the SDGs by facilitating 50,000 volunteer experiences this year.

AIESEC has aligned its programs with the SDGs in 2015. In 2018, the aim is to run Flagship programs focused on Good Health and Well-Being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Responsible Consumption.

Who is behind this?

Tetiana Landysheva / AISEC

For more information:

Visit https://youth4globalgoals.org/

My World. Challenges for a better world

One of the big boys (indeed, a bank) raising awareness through its huge platforms

One of the big boys (indeed, a bank) raising awareness through its huge platforms

“La Caixa” Banking Foundation launched the travelling exhibition “My World. Challenges for a better world”, which has been on display at the foundation’s cultural centers in several Spanish cities since 2015.

At the time, it was the first exhibition devoted entirely to the SDGs in Spain, placed in exhibition centers that reach thousands of people. When thinking about what kind of exhibition the foundation envisioned, the challenge was to take a step forward regarding the dissemination of the SDGs, and for this reason the exhibition was designed in a very participative way rather than a purely informative one.

The aim of this exhibition is to be inclusive, innovative and interactive. It uses new innovative tools, like holographic audiovisuals and virtual reality glasses. The target audience is very wide: general public, individuals, families, schools, etc. So far, the total number of visitors is over 75,000 and about 8,000 school children have also taken part in the educational workshops. The educational component of the exhibition is a particular strength and it responds to a demand from the teachers who want to explain the SDGs to their students and do not have the resources to do it in a successful and fun way.

The next step of the project is the total integration of the SDGs in the main  “la Caixa” Banking Foundation new strategic plan.

Taking into account that this organization has an annual budget of 520 million euros, its projects reach about 11 million people every year, the potential dissemination, SDGs awareness, and real impact can be remarkable.

Who is behind this?

La Caixa Foundation

For more information:

MY WORLD – La Caixa Forum 

Youth SDG Action Morocco

The Youth SDG Action Morocco’s inspiration led to action, and their action leads to real change. The group is Working to pave the way towards achieving the 2030 Agenda in this North-African country, this initiative was created to engage Moroccan youth in reaching the 17 Goals

The Youth SDG Action Morocco’s inspiration led to action, and their action leads to real change. The group is Working to pave the way towards achieving the 2030 Agenda in this North-African country, this initiative was created to engage Moroccan youth in reaching the 17 Goals

Inspiration happens! From the first edition of the UN SDG Festival last year which ignited the spark of change that brought together rebellious spirits from all over Morocco to create the Sustainable Development Youth association. Working to pave the way towards achieving the Agenda2030 in the North-African country and the rest of the region, this initiative was created to express Moroccan youth’s engagement towards reaching the 17 Goals, with the aim to educate and empower Moroccans to achieve Agenda 2030, through the initiation and facilitation of partnerships between government officials, civil society institutions, youth voices and the UN SDG Action Campaign to break barriers.

The change maker’s engagement is fueled by the desire of making Morocco a pioneer in achieving Agenda 2030. The uniqueness of their work lays in the launch of a national campaign to promote the SDGs (the first of its kind in the MENA region), and the training and advisory they provide to civil society in order to elaborate concrete solutions to fulfill the SDGs. Accordingly, the project is a major partner of the UN SDG Action Campaign for the MY World initiative in the MENA region and is currently involved in projects with NGOs and Government Institutions.

The aim here is to push for the SDGs in an innovative way, create a network of leaders and gather the maximum of votes and stories that translate citizens’ voices. This initiative’s work in Morocco has changed the vision of many. Including Meryem, who never heard of the SDGs prior our SDGs academy in Agadir, with the support of UNIC Morocco, Climate Change summit and MY World. Following her participation, Meryem was engaged in more than 15 workshops to popularize the SDGs as the project’s coordinator in the region of Casablanca and she is in the process of creating her own association with a focus on decent work and economic growth. This effect may not seem big at first, but it is in a world where equality is aspired, better life quality expected and climate sustainability pursued. Only a true recognition of dialogue’s importance, an honest belief in the power of the SDGs to change the world, would help envision the crucial/far-reaching impact of this association’s work.

The team is wholeheartedly convinced that Impact starts with people, empowerment is a result of involvement, and inspiration is the fruit of our deeds. This initiative is one of the first to be launched in the Arab region, which aspires to reach more targets and create regional coordination bureaus in North Africa and the Middle East, to allow exchange of best practices through fellowship programs, SDG Academies, Youth councils and common research.

All this, inspired still by the reason why it all started: advocacy for Moroccan youth’s implication in decision making through the creation of local and global partnerships.

Who is behind this?

The Sustainable Development’s Youth Association, Morocco

The Road to Rights

The Road to Rights is a unique platform where ideas get pumped up from youth. As a youth-led organization, the team works for educating and empowering young people through human rights education and 2030 agenda. The organization is established in 18 different countries where it uses sport, art, ICTs, tourism and other tools to engage people to educate themselves on their rights, responsibilities and goals

The Road to Rights is a unique platform where ideas get pumped up from youth. As a youth-led organization, the team works for educating and empowering young people through human rights education and 2030 agenda. The organization is established in 18 different countries where it uses sport, art, ICTs, tourism and other tools to engage people to educate themselves on their rights, responsibilities and goals

Mr. Chaminda is a postman that got inspired by the SDG action in his community and realized he wanted to contribute in some way. That is when he decided that while he was distributing letters door-to-door, he would also advocate and mobilize people in order to gather support for bringing education to 60 children in a rural village in Piliyandala in Sri Lanka. The Tourism program of University of Colombo decided to include SDGs into their tourism curriculum.

That way, students would learn and gain capacity to act on SDGs productively in their respective field. These are just two examples of the impact the initiative “The road to rights” is having in the communities. This project is a unique platform where ideas get pumped up from youth. As a youth-led organization, the team works for educating and empowering young people through human rights education and 2030 agenda. Understanding the basic values would lead to a society where people respect and love each other, specially respect everyone’s independence. If the SDGs are achieved, all human rights will also be protected. With that objective, these changemakers are strongly working on incorporating SDGs into different type of institutions, as they believe institutionalizing the SDGs would bring strong impact.

The project also works on building the capacity of young people from different parts of the country, so that they will be able to take their own actions to mobilize their own resources. All team members educate, inspire, and empower people while addressing problems based on gender, peace, and environment. They are also strongly working on using tools to promote SDGs such as sport, arts and ICT, that includes a project named “Purposeful Play” that is a platform to promote SDGs through sports in a unique manner.

“The road to rights” is established in 18 different countries and one of the main steps that this initiative is planning to take is influencing policy and decision makers with the results of grassroots activities.

Who is behind this?

Ashan Perera

For more information:

Visit http://www.roadtorights.org/