The Sustainable Development Goals are a list of seventeen goals that countries of the United Nationals adopted to stimulate action for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership as part of a new sustainable development plan. The SDGs came into effect in January 2016, and they will continue guide UNDP policy and funding for the next 15 years. As the lead UN development agency, UNDP is uniquely placed to help implement the Goals through our work in some 170 countries and territories.
Often times, when we hear of these goals, we are quick to think that these are issues that are to be solved at global level and government levels. It is easy to distance ourselves as part of the solution and yet in essence, the success of an agenda such as the Sustainable Development Goals is heavily dependent on each one playing their part. The ‘each one’ includes you!
Understanding this phenomenon is what inspired us to enter into partnership with Crossing Borders, a Non-Governmental Organization based in Denmark, and developed a program ‘Youth SDGs Awareness through Debate’ which seeks to create awareness of the SDGs to the youth in secondary schools.
The average age of secondary school students in Uganda is 13 – 18 years and in these years, one’s learning ability is almost at its highest. It was against this background that we moved the program to the secondary schools. The project, which was started as a pilot project in May 2017 has seen us bring on board 10 secondary schools. The mode of the awareness is through debate where we have the students debating on SDGs related motions thereby causing them to research and build their knowledge on the same.
There is also a practical element to the project where we tasked every school to come up with a particular solution geared toward the achievement of a particular goal. Owing to the great success of the pilot project, we hope to moving forward increase the scope of the project and have more schools. When each of us plays our part, the world can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.