A Year of SDG Action: MY World Mexico

Written by Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo
National Operations Coordinator at MY World México

Three years ago when we had the opportunity to implement the United Nations Global Survey For A Better World MY World 2015 in my hometown Jalisco, México we were able to realize people’s interest in being part of the new global development agenda. Back then, I was amazed by people’s willingness to act and help others participate in the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the end of the day, having collected nearly 400,000 voices in the survey thanks to the mobilization of 500 young volunteers and 255 organizations, Jalisco was able to position itself as one of the most participative entities in the world in the definition of these new Global Goals.

This also led to make Jalisco’s the first in our country to align its State Development Plan to the SDGs taking into account the MY World 2015 results. Jalisco was also part of the adoption of the SDGs and was also awarded the “People’s Voices Challenge Award” for Best Multi-stakeholder Collaboration in September 2015. The results also had a considerable impact in Mexico’s First National Voluntary Review before the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2016, as a significant input for SDG actions coming from civil society’s mobilization mechanisms.

However, as soon as the SDGs were adopted in September 2015, the big questions for an already highly motivated team made mostly of young people, were “so what comes next?” and “how do we make sure that the SDGs are a reality by 2030?”. Thankfully for us this was also a question raised by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign which had recently transform itself from the United Nations Millennium Campaign and was exploring the different ways in which MY World could be used as a platform to track awareness and implementation on SDGs and monitor progress according to peoples’ satisfaction until 2030.

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(c) MY World 2030 México – UN SDG Action Campaign. School kids hold the SDGs they feel most passionate about.

This is how a group of organizations and highly motivated people supported by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign and United Nations Volunteers in Mexico, decided to establish a national network called MY World Mexico in April 2016. This network, would not only implement the MY World 2030 survey throughout Mexico, replicating Jalisco’s successful strategy, but would also lead actions at the local, national and international levels for the implementation, monitoring, financing, follow-up and socialization of the SDGs in Mexico.

In its first year, MY World Mexico was able to collect close to 30,000 MY World 2030 votes in at least 25 states around Mexico thanks to the efforts of 75 volunteers and 20 Civil Society Organizations. By July 2016, during the first HLPF that would review countries the team was able to provide the United Nations SDG Action Campaign and Mexico’s Office of the Presidency, the first results of the survey. At the same time at the United Nations Headquarters MY World 2030 was officially launched and members of our team were able to present some of the outcomes of this first implementation phase.

Simultaneously at the grassroots level, our volunteers were activating hundreds of other activities that were able to get others engage in the SDGs. The first challenge that the MY World 2030 results showed was that people did not know about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Around 83% of the people who were surveyed, said they never heard about the SDGs before. The second challenge was that the results of MY World 2030 were quite different from what the MY World 2015 had shown in the past. For example, Water and Sanitation (SDG 6) were among the top priorities, as well as Health and Well-being (SDG 3), which led to identify that people indeed perceive implementation of the SDGs as quite a challenging effort.

Ever since, the network has grown significantly. As of today, MY World México is composed by nearly 60 organizations from academia, civil society, the public and private sectors, as well as 130 volunteers in almost all states in Mexico. The actions and strategies MY World Mexico focuses on are:

  1. Promote and socialize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the support of key stakeholders at the local, national and international levels.
  2. Strengthen and expand the participation and commitment of people in the implementation, monitoring, financing, follow-up and socialization of the SDGs in Mexico.
  3. Lead actions in favor of the SDGs through volunteerism and multi-stakeholder mobilization at the local, national and international levels to achieve all goals and targets proposed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  4. Empower citizens to they promote actions and activities to tell everyone about the SDGs.
  5. Lead national communication campaigns with key stakeholders of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  6. Promote the creation of local and inclusive networks for individuals and institutions in favor of the implementation, monitoring, financing, follow-up and socialization of the SDGs.
  7. Co-create and promote accountability mechanisms at the local and national levels by people through ground mobilization and the search of multiple sources, as well as publicly acknowledge efforts and best practices.
  8. Use technology, innovation and creativity to maximize the impact of people’s participation, as well as knowing SDGs progress in the country for information sharing and appropriate use of data.
  9. Lead advocacy actions at the international, national and local levels.
  10. Promote the annual participation of people in the MY World 2030 Survey.

The network has also participated in key advocacy processes in the United Nations, such as:

  • 2016 United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
  • 2016 71º United Nations General Assembly.
  • 2017 United Nations Economic and Social Council Youth Forum.
  • 2017 United Nations 55º Commission for Social Development.
  • 2017 1º Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development.
  • 2017 Youth Forum of the United Nations 61º Commission on the Status of Women.
  • 2017 United Nations 50º Commission on Population and Development.
  • 2017 United Nations First Regional Meeting on Sustainable Development of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

The network is leading actions across the country on a daily basis to achieve the SDGs. We have also taken into account other projects such as Humans of MY World; Virtual Reality; Hackatons; hundreds of conferences and other mechanisms that allow us to tell everyone about the SDGs and incentive action.

The network has been one of the first partners to sign a National Voluntary Commitment before the President of the United Nations General Assembly for the 2017 Ocean Conference leading 25 coastal cleaning activities; 50,000 MY World 2030 surveys and 87 educational activities to achieve SDG 14 on Life Below Water.

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(c) MY World 2030 México – UN SDG Action Campaign. Coastal cleaning activity volunteer holds SDG14
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c) MY World 2030 México – UN SDG Action Campaign. School kids participate in educational activities around SDG14

We have partnered with initiatives such as TeachSDGs, The Global Goals and The World’s Largest Lesson to use existing creative platforms to engage many others in the process. The network grows by numbers every week and is trying to ensure State and Municipal Committees on SDGs are implemented and that the recently established National Council on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development mandated by the Office of the Presidency includes the participation of all social actors involve in the SDGs. The MY World Mexico’s team took part in the installation of this Council, which is hoped to shape federal policies in the SDGs for the years to come.

A year of great achievements for our time has not only motivated others to participate in the SDGs but has built a solid, diverse and talented team across the country. As one of the first pilot countries of the second phase of MY World 2030 we have been able to secure a place for the SDGs in many people’s hearts and minds, as well as in key efforts in organizations from across sectors. We are certain that MY World Mexico will continue to grow and expand itself to make the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a reality in our country.

Being able to lead this amazing project has taught me great life lessons, among them realizing how interested young people are in shaping their future. Interest has led to amazing daily actions, which is why I see MY World Mexico as more than a team but a community that has been able to build a strong spirit of commitment to make our country better. We are in contact every day, through every possible mean, making sure we connect our ideas and our work wherever we go. Part of the success of our strategy depends on respect to diversity and willingness to work despite challenges.

We are forever grateful with each and everyone of the individuals, organizations, authorities and United Nations entities that have participated in this one-year journey as MY World Mexico. We could not have done this without out you. We hope to continue to work together for another year of great efforts!

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c) MY World 2030 México – UN SDG Action Campaign. MY World volunteers

To know more about MY World 2030 : myworld2030.org

The SDG Action Campaign recently issued a Global Call for Partners to take part in supporting the MYWorld 2030 survey on Wed 31 May 2017 at 10am EST: Join the MY World 2030 Partner Team

 

 

How can new technologies ensure we leave no one behind

Professionals developing world class innovation discuss the real potential of virtual reality and new media and the challenges that lay ahead:  How do we make sure it brings a positive impact to global issues.? How can we bring it to everyone and really use it to help the people who need it the most?

 

 

Friedrich Kurz, General Manager Social Innovation, Deutsche Telekom, Marisol Grandon, CEO of Untold Stories, Kristin Gutekunst, Executive Producer of UNVR, UN SDG Action Campaign, Wilfried Runde, Head of Innovation Projects at Deutsche Welle join the discussion at the SDG Live Stage of the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development.

To convey the stories of the most vulnerable people in the world and bring them home to the decision makers and global citizens around the world, pushing the bounds of empathy, the UN SDG Action Campaign has coordinated the United Nations Virtual Reality Series since 2015.

This discussion happened during the first Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development. Watch more: http://globalfestivalofideas.org/

 

How is innovation disrupting Global Hunger?

1 in 9 people still goes to bed hungry every night. Right now there are 4 famines active in the world and fulfilling basic food security needs are a great challenge. As the world population continues to grow, much more effort and innovation will be urgently needed in order to sustainably increase agricultural production, improve the global supply chain, decrease food losses and waste, and ensure that all who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition have access to nutritious food. So how do we reach SDG 2, a world without hunger, by 2030?


Bernhard Kowatsch, Head of the Innovation Accelerator at the UN World Food Programme (WFP), explains how innovation is leading to real change. The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Through its  Innovation Accelerator WFP s
upports entrepreneurs & start-ups for #ZeroHunger innovations worldwide. Follow @BKowatsch and @WFPInnovation.

This SDG Action Talk was presented during the first Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development. Watch more: http://globalfestivalofideas.org/

 

20 years of the United Nations in Germany

For more than 20 years, the United Nations has a permanent place in Germany. Through the exhibition “The United Nations in Germany: Commitment to Agenda 2030” the Federal Foreign Office welcomes the public to explore and find out about their commitment on sustainability, climate protection and refugee and migration issues. The exhibition can be visited at the Federal Foreign Office premises in Berlin until 10th May 2017.

“We take the still steadily growing presence of the world organization in the former federal capital Bonn and at six other German locations as an occasion to honor the diverse activities of the United Nations.” Dr. Cyrill Nunn from the Federal Foreign Office welcomed the audience and stressed Germany´s commitment to the United Nations and to the Agenda 2030.

Dr. Cyrill Nunn, Federal Foreign Office, Germany welcomes the exhibition participants  Copyright: Inga Kjer/photothek.net 

UN Bonn comprises of 19 organizations and serves to help governments and people find answers and ways for humanity to achieve a sustainable future on this planet. The UN SDG Action Campaign, one of the newest members of the United Nations in Bonn, opened the exhibition.

Xavier Longan, SDG Action Campaign Europe Focal Point, expressed, “Beyond government, we need different stakeholders to be actively involved as well as youth, civil society, cities and business.  Together we can achieve the SDGs by 2030! To collaborate, we need to communicate and build understanding of other perspectives, experiences and needs as a basis for working together towards shared goals.” 

Xavier Longan, Europe Focal Point of the SDG Action Campaign, welcomes the attendees and emphasizes the importance of cooperation among governments, private sector and citizens to make sure we make the SDGs a reality by 2030. Copyright: Inga Kjer/photothek.net  

By using interactive elements, participants can understand what the agenda means for people around the world and which topics are most important to them. Participants also had the opportunity to take a seat at the “SDGs corner”, take pictures with those SDGs closest to their friends and family and make real commitments to take action by sending a postcard to their “Future Selfs”.

Attendees experience United Nations Virtual Reality (unvr.org). UNVR shows the human story behind development challenges, allowing people with the power to make a difference have a deeper understanding of their world. Copyright: Inga Kjer/photothek.net
A participant at the exhibition sends a postcard to his #FutureSelf committing to take action for the SDGs. Copyright: Inga Kjer/photothek.net
At the SDG corner participants play, interact and take photos with the SDGs closest to their friends and families. Copyright: Inga Kjer/photothek.net

The Exhibition will be open until May 10th 2017 and is free for the public.
To know more about the UN in Bonn go to www.unbonn.org
or here to know more about the exhibition. 

What’s your goal tonight? SDG swing cards on buses & trams in Bonn

5,000 swing cards featuring the Sustainable Development Goals were placed in 100 public vehicles in Bonn (hung from passenger handlebars on buses and trams), along with digital slide on the SDGs on the vehicle screens, from 28 February to 14 March 2017, including during the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development on 1-3 March.

The swing cards and screens were organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign with the support of the Bonn public transport authority, Stadtwerke-Bonn.

An SDG swing card from a Bonn public bus is shown by Festival MC, Nadira Hira, to hundreds of participants at the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development. © photothek/Inga Kjer
Design of the swing cards, shown in German and English.

 

Bus and tram travelers were encouraged to take the informative and colorful SDG swing cards home. Some took them home, and even tweeted!

Thanks for being part of history at the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development

Photo: Some of the Festival team members with volunteers at the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development. photothek/Inga Kjer

We would like to thank everyone, especially the partner organizations, inspiring speakers and colleagues for being part of history at the first ever Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development on 1-3 March 2017 at the World Conference Center Bonn!

The Festival was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Hosts: UN SDG Action Campaign & Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Organizing partners: City of Bonn, Cepei, Data-Pop Alliance, Engagement Global, Plan International, Salzburg Global Seminar, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Food Programme (WFP) and World Resources Institute (WRI)

Supporting partners: Deutsche Welle, DW Global Media Forum, European Union, SDSN

Plenary Speakers:

  • Mitchell Toomey, Global Director, UN SDG Action Campaign
  • Ishbel Matheson, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, ODI
  • Ashok Sridharan, Lord Mayor, City of Bonn
  • Dr. Alaa Murabit, SDG Global Advocate and UN High Level Commissioner
  • Dr. Ingolf Dietrich, Commissioner for Agenda 2030, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Sarah Poole, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP
  • Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Plan International
  • Paul Okumu, Head of Secretariat, Africa Platform
  • Kumi Naidoo, Launch Director, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity
  • Claire Melamed, Executive Director, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
  • Casper Sitemba, Executive Office of the Deputy President, Kenya
  • Philipp Schönrock, Director, CEPEI
  • Soumya Chattopadhyay, Senior Research Fellow, Growth, Poverty and Inequality Programme, ODI
  • Meng Zhaoli, Chief Economist, Tencent Institute
  • Jakob Trollbäck, Founder, The New Division by Trollbäck+Company
  • Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, UN
  • Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo, International Affairs Consultant and MY World Partner in Mexico
  • Dr. Tauni Lanier, Executive Director, Impact 2030
  • Natalie Robi Tingo, Accountability Advocate, Restless Development
  • Emi Mahmoud, World Poetry Slam Champion
  • Edda Hamar, UN SDG Young Leader and Founder/ Director Undress Runways
  • Namhla Mniki-Mangaliso, Director, African Monitor
  • Pedro Conceição, Director of Strategic Policy, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP
  • Beckie Malay, Vice President, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

Honorable Members of the German Parliament: Dr. Claudia Lücking-Michel, Mr. Ulrich Kelber

Nadira Hira for being a fantastic MC

DW Global Media Forum for hosting 7 minutes for discussion on the Live Stage

UNFCCC for supporting communications outreach, supporting the Festival comms team on-site and event security

The UN Bonn Common Information Unit and UNRIC for supporting the press conference and media outreach

The News and Media Division and UN TV from the UN Department of Public Information for coverage and the livestream

Deutsche Post DHL Group for providing the SDG postcards, mailbox and stamps

Amazing Youth Leaders for hosting the cross-generational dialogues on the Live Stage

  • Abinav Batachan, UNDP Panda Champion
  • Usman Khan, UNDP Panda Champion Bringing Education to Youth and Learning Initiatives (BEYLI) Organization Pakistan
  • Jilt van Schayik, Director Building Bridges Foundation
  • Edda Hamar, Youth Leader, Founder and Director of Undress Runway
  • Chernor Bah, Education Advocate, Girl Champion & International Development Professional
  • Frances Simpson-Allen, Programme Management Officer, Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth at United Nations
  • Rosario del Pilar Diaz Garavito, Founder The Millennials Movement
  • Alex Wang, Secretary General of Youthink Center
  • Cunsong Xia, Youth4SDG
  • Michelle Xinyang Mei, Youthink Center
  • Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo, International Affairs Consultant and MY World Partner in Mexico
  • Natalie Robi Tingo, Accountability Advocate, Restless Development

The amazing Festival volunteers

All the participants who made the Festival an enriching experience, we hope to see you next year!

http://globalfestivalofideas.org
See Festival photos

Day two at the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development at the World Conference Center (WCC) in Bonn, March 02, 2017. © photothek/Inga Kjer.

WANTED: 1000 Hackers to Help Change the World in 3 Days

Apply until 3 March 2017 to become a Sustainable Development Goal Entrepreneur!

Website:   www.connect2effect.com        Facebook, Twitter & Instagram:  @InfluxTrust.

From 10 to 12 March 2017, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Action Campaign, the Office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly and Influx Trust are teaming up to turn 1000 people in 9 cities around the world into SDG Entrepreneurs during the inaugural #Connect2Effect event, a 3-day global hackathon around the SDGs. Winners of the hackathon will be invited to present their work at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, NY USA.

In September 2015, 193 countries agreed to work together on a 15-year global plan to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. This plan includes 17 Goals that serve as an urgent guiding masterplan to tackle the world’s greatest challenges and ensure that no one is left behind. Innovative individuals are urgently needed to join together with countries and partners to turn the bold and ambitious global plan into action. See the 17 SDGs here.

To rapidly generate an unprecedented level of innovation and collaboration around the SDGs, the 3-day #Connect2effect Global Hackathon will bring together these innovators with different skillsets ranging from marketing to programming to designing.

The event will produce a series of basic workable prototypes that can be further expanded after the event. The best ideas will be developed and supported through local incubation programmes, mentoring on crowdfunding platform. Winners will receive an invitation to pitch their ideas at the UN Headquarters in New York at the Science, Technology & Innovation Forum taking place at the UN Headquarters in NYC 15th – 17th of May.

Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign stresses the value of #Connect2Effect for the UN: “At the UN SDG Action Campaign, we consistently strive to find ways to reach new audiences to inform and inspire them about the SDGs. We also empower individuals to work together and serve as agents of change, honouring the best solutions in a variety of methods. We are eager to empower the best creative thinkers and problems solvers to help the UN and governments achieve their goals”.

H.E. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly, fully supports the #Connect2Effect initiative: “Each and every one of us has a critical role to play – as individuals role-modeling sustainable living, as innovators and creative thinkers conceiving new ideas, and as activists working with others to implement solutions to shape our world towards a sustainable future. I look forward to being inspired by the outcomes of the hackathon and to warmly welcome the winners to the United Nations“

The initiative is the first of an annual series which over time will create a sustained network of individuals who can mentor each other and work together to come up with the best ideas for achieving the SDGs, as Max Kallis, CEO of Influx Trust points out: “We are eager to support the UN by leveraging our network and expertise to come up with solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems.”

This year’s hackathon will bring together people in Manama, Bahrain, Lagos, Nigeria, Chandigargh, India, and Lisbon, Portugal to tackle industry innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), in London, U.K., and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to reduce inequalities (SDG 10) and in Bali, Indonesia, Geneva, Switzerland and New York City, USA to generate a shift towards more responsible consumption and production (SDG 12).

FACTS & FIGURES:

  • 1000 Entrepreneurs, thinkers and creatives working together across 9 global locations (Manama, Bali, Chandigarh, Geneva, Lagos, Lisbon, London, New York and Rio) on 5 continents.
  • 193 United Nation Member States
  • 17 Sustainable Development Goals to solve by 2030
  • 72 hours for teams to collaborate and help hack three of the SDGs.
  • 6 Headline Partners for #Connect2Effect 2017 to help our teams with the resources they need.
  • 3 SDGs to hack during #Connect2Effect
  • 1 Crowdfunding platform that will take an idea and put it in the market in a weekend.

ABOUT THE COLLABORATORS:

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The Influx Trust
is a UK charity that fosters a community of individuals and businesses eager to share their knowledge and resources to support the UN’s priorities. @InfluxTrust

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The UN SDG Action Campaign is a global interagency initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, with the mission of ensuring that everyone has the support, encouragement and capability to advocate and act to ensure the SDG agenda is brought to life. It recognises and celebrates the innovators, conveners and break-through actors who are transforming lives, tackling trade-offs and generating practical solutions to some of the world’s most intractable development problems. The Campaign is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the German Federal Government. @SDGAction

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The President of the General Assembly is an annually geographically rotating position voted for by representatives in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The President of the 71st and current session, H.E. Mr Peter Thomson from Fiji, presides over the General Assembly, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. Made up of all the 193 Member States of the UN, the General Assembly provides a forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the UN Charter. It meets in regular session intensively from September to December each year, and thereafter as required. @UN_PGA

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Jayne & Misael | Kitsch.inc on behalf of Influx Trust | kitschinc.digital@gmail.com
Kristin Gutekunst | UN SDG Action Campaign | kristin.gutekunst@undp.org
Katharina Kandt | Office of the President of the UN General Assembly| kandt@un.org

All aboard the Peace Boat! Guests champion the SDGs during the "Floating Festival for Sustainability"!

img_0959 img_0958On Thursday, October 20, over 600 people attended a grand exhibit aboard the Peace Boat. This “Floating Festival for Sustainability” marked the Peace Boat’s 92nd Global Voyage for Peace since the nonprofit was established in 1983, and the first time the ship has docked in New York in five years. It also marked the inauguration of the Global Goals logo on the boat.

The SDG Action Campaign has a long history of working with the Peace Boat, having launched a partnership in 2009 to promote the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Peace Boat previously hosted the Millennium Campaign logo, gave courses on the MDGs to passengers, and participated in the Stand Up Campaign among other activities. The Peace Boat has also been an early adopter of the MY World 2030 survey, helping to translate the ballot into Japanese, and collecting ballots both from passengers and people they meet during their journey. They presented the results of their first efforts in their recent report about the ship’s visit to Latin America – showing the enormous efforts and impact the boat is able to make on supporting the implementation of the SDGs.

The event occurred aboard the Peace Boat, providing guests with an intimate glimpse of life at sea. When guests first arrived, they were greeted with a tour of Peace Boat’s impressive ship. The foyer of the ship allowed guests to engage with the mission of the Peace Boat and with an exhibition of projects the peace boat is aligned with. Peace Boat, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations, campaigns for the Sustainable Development Goals as it tours the globe each year. The UN SDG Action Campaign was present to drum up excitement about the SDGs and give participants the ability to engage with immersive content. Participants could take the MY World survey to voice their opinion on the importance and progress of the SDGs, take selfies highlighting their favorite SDGs and watch the virtual reality films of stories from around the world.

The World We Want team was also present, inviting guests to learn about their activities and to join the Policy Strategy Group. The World We Want is looking to continue doing WWW exhibitions around the world to promote the SDGs and civil society’s participation in UN activities. Other exhibits included the presentation of the Eco Ship, an entirely sustainable ship fueled by renewable energy sources that will retrieve the mission of the Peace Boat and promote climate action world-wide when in launches in 2020.

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The main event of the evening began with live music and dance, followed by a series of speakers including H.E. Jan Eliasson (United Nations Deputy Secretary-General), H.E. Ahmed Sareer (Ambassador of the Maldives and Chairman of the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS)), Jeff Brez (Chief NGO Relations Advocacy and Special Events, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information), Yoshioka Tatsuya (Peace Boat Director) and Cora Weiss of the (President, Hague Appeal for Peace). The presentations were followed by an eco fashion show highlighting sustainable designs, and the SDGs chosen to be of highest import to each of the designers.

The presenters made appealing calls to action for all guests to get involved with the SDGs and in promoting peace. The Mr. Eliasson stressed the need to join forces and approach the SDGs in a collaborative manner, encouraging everyone to not be phased by the large task at hand, but rather to focus on small actions that add up: “nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something”. He stressed the need to empower and create space for youth and women as major actors in the fight for peace.

Mr. Tatsuya gave an energetic presentation about the new ship the Peace Boat is developing, which will soon be the most sustainable ship to ever set sail. It will include an on-board university for peace & sustainability, sport activities, and volunteer exchanges in local communities visited.

The evening also included a passionate appeal from a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bombing as part of a special partnership with the United Nations First Committee on Disarmament and International Security (UNODA). Five victims of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima, known as Hibakusha, are traveling with the Peace Boat to campaign against nuclear weapons, hoping to see a world without them in their lifetimes.

For more information on the Peace Boat, please visit: http://www.peaceboat-us.org/  

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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)

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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).