Empowering advocates to implement SDG projects in their communities
The “SDGchallenge” is a global citizenship education project, which aims to raise awareness of the SDGs primarily in Ireland but also globally. The project equips people to take informed action on the goals and to contribute to sustainable change in communities. The SDGchallenge focuses on the non-formal learning sector, with many entry points in order to ensure easy and diverse levels of participation.
There are monthly workshops and discussions, monthly resource and information packs, and mentoring and coaching to SDG challenge participants to build national capacity through the advocate program. The project also utilizes creative methodologies such as music and film to engage the public more generally. The SDG Advocate program brings together 26 individuals from 26 communities in Ireland and then puts them through an intense 8-month program. Each of these advocates implement SDG projects in their communities.
For example, the Cork Advocate, Maria Dempsey is a true example of an active citizen who contributed hugely to the project and as a result has created change across Ireland in raising awareness of SDG 5 and SDG 16. Maria has dedicated her time to raising awareness of victims of homicide globally “Since taking part in the SDG Advocate Program I now have direction, coherence, motivation and feel positive that bringing together families of homicide and working towards positive change” (Dempsey, 2017).
They are currently recruiting the 2018 cohort of SDG Advocate participants in order to create change in communities across Ireland / Vietnam and Tanzania. They also have a national showcase event in Ireland in late February which brings together 300 people to raise awareness of the project and results. Future plans include expanding efforts in Ireland, then plans to expand to Vietnam and Tanzania. There is also an interest to replicate the project with likeminded organizations in other countries globally.