A New Narrative for Development: World’s Best News

Decades of negative communication about hunger and hopelessness in developing countries has resulted in a general public attitude that the fight against poverty does not work. We need a new narrative about global development: Nuanced and current knowledge creates hope – and hope creates motivation for action.

World’s Best News is an example of a unique partnership that brings together the UN and more than 100 NGOs and 100 private companies. Since 2010, the independent media platform World’s Best News has published news about progress and solutions to the world’s challenges to the Danish population. All uniting to spread news about progress on a variety of different platforms using the Sustainable Development Goals as the frame and constructive journalism as method. The aim is to connect civil society, business, and the citizens in the pursuit of a more informed and sustainable world.

A collaboration with DSB, the Danish Railways, made it possible to decorate and InterCity train with World’s Best News messages.

Today, World’s Best News is now an international network with sister organizations in Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Finland.

It is deeply ingrained in ‘classical’ journalism to focus on conflicts and problems in society. However, while being critical is essential to all objective reporting, the focus on conflicts often gets out of hand in the mainstream media. Instead, World’s Best News focus on progress, possibilities and solutions to the big challenges facing the world today.

“World’s Best News has shown that it is possible to change the world. You are creators of hope and perspective.”
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, Member of Danish Parliament.

“The collaboration with World’s Best News has made us reconsider our coverage of global issues. When you started with constructive journalism it influenced the rest of the content in our newspaper”
Jonas Ratje, Editor in Chief, Metroxpress.

Meet people with constructive and unexpected development news. That is the core objective of World’s Best News.
Credit: Louise Dyring Mbae

How and why this action impacts the people in the community ?
When more people know about the solutions to the world’s problems, they are more motivated to ensure these solutions will be implemented and put into action. When World’s Best News launched in 2010, 16% of the Danes believed there was progress in lifting people out of poverty; in 2016 this number increased to 32%.

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

Citizen Scorecard: Two years on, how have people’s lives changed on key SDG targets.

  • 20% of people surveyed struggle to have enough food to eat

  • 8 key findings that can help us understand perceived progress on the SDGs two years after their adoption

  • One in three respondents are aware of the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • explore data

This and other key findings are part of the results of several pilot studies collecting perceptions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to assist decision-makers in SDG review activities. The results, collected through a collaborative research project between the UN SDG Action Campaign and Paragon Partnerships, in particular Kantar Public and Lightspeed, as part of the MY World 2030 project, were presented today during the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations. The Forum is the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals held from Monday, 10 July, to Wednesday, 19 July 2017.

The UN SDG Action Campaign & Kantar Public have developed and tested a question library of almost 100 SDG Questions and then conducted a research study in 11 voluntary reporting countries for this year. The results are representative and weighted samples across the following countries provide a baseline against which to measure progress in future years.

  • Argentina
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • The Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Thailand

Key Findings

  1. One third of people are aware of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

    Overall. One in three respondents are aware of the Sustainable Development Goals. Younger respondents (ages 16-29) were more familiar with the SDGs than older respondents. There are huge differences among countries. Respondents in Thailand (the least developed country in the sample) were the most aware, while respondents in Denmark (the most developed country) were least aware. Japan and Argentina were the countries with least awareness levels, with over 80% of the population not aware of the SDGs. There is a lot to be done!

  2. SDG 1 / 20% of the population is still struggling to afford basic needs. 

    This percentages goes up to 35% for those who haven’t completed primary education.

    Thinking about you and your household, which of the following best describes your financial situation?
  3. SDG 2 / The struggle for food is very similar in countries with the highest and lowest Development Index and it affects about 20% of the population who are struggling to have enough food to eat. 

    When asked about how easy or difficult has it been for respondents and their household to have enough food to eat, 20% of all respondents across the sample, without distinction between Low and High Developed Countries (according to the Human Development Index) found it very or quite difficult to have enough food to eat in the past twelve months. Some differences are shown, with Argentina, a country with a Very High HDI level, reporting the most difficulty ( 37% stated “Quite Difficult.”) and Denmark with the least difficulty (55% answering “Very Easy”).

    Question: Thinking about the last 12 months, how easy or difficult has it been for you and your household to have enough food to eat?
  4. SDG 3 / Access to healthcare has not changed since last year. 1 in 4 respondents are not satisfied with the quality.

    For the majority of respondents the situation hasn’t changed. But one in four respondents are not satisfied with the quality of healthcare. Thailand scored as the country where it has most improved.

    Question: How satisfied are you with the health services and treatments you and your household have had over the last 12 months?
  5. SDG 5 / More people agree than disagree that women earn the same amount of money for doing the same job.

    Overall, more respondents agree than disagree that women earn the same amount of money for doing the same job. Regional differences are shown, as the majority of European respondents disagree with this statement, while the majority of S.E Asian respondents agree.

    Question: “Today, in our society, women and men earn the equal amount of money for doing exactly the same work at the same level”. Do you agree with this statement?
  6. SDG 9 / Access to internet is still an issue.

    One in five respondents reported they were “often” or “always” having problems with internet access. Malaysian respondents reported the most difficulty accessing the internet with 11% answering “always” versus the Netherlands as the country with the least difficulty, with 61% answering “never” or “rarely”. The age difference also played a role, with the majority of respondents aged 60+ reporting more difficulty than younger ones.

  7. SDG 14 / The oceans and seas are not clean enough, and half the population agrees. 

    Argentina and Italy scored high (73% in Argentina and 69% in Italy) in the perception that their rivers and lakes are not very clean or not clean at all. In Italy and the Czech Republic, conditions have gotten worse according to around 30% of the people surveyed, whereas in Malaysia and Portugal, conditions were reported to have improved. Sweden and Denmark were the exception, with above 70% of the respondents reporting that their rivers and lakes were very clean or fairly clean.

    Question: In your opinion, how clean are the rivers and lakes around where you live ?
  8. Good Health, Eradication of Poverty and Decent Work are the primary concerns for citizens.

Overall, the top 5 SDGs where: 

It is interesting to note that in MY World 2015, with a much bigger sample size, the top issues of concern were Education, Healthcare, Jobs, Honest & Responsive Government. People are still choosing the same top issues two years on! After good health, the top concerns change for women and men – for women being “No poverty” and men being more concerned with “Decent Work and Economic Growth”. Quality Education also made it as a top concern in Argentina.

Methodological Note

In total, 7,772 respondents took part in the survey in 11 countries, ranging from 350 in Denmark to 1,011 in Czech Republic. Quotas were set by age, gender and region in each country. Respondents were sampled from Lightspeed and TNS online and mobile access panels. Data is weighted by age, gender, and region in each country. Cross-country comparison is based on additional weights by country population size

In other words: assuming probability sample, for a question response of 49%, we can say that in 95 out of 100 surveys, the true value (which would be obtained if the entire population were asked the question) lies between 46% and 52%.

Become a MY World 2030 partner and roll out the 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