Exactly one year ago, in September 2015, 193 global leaders signed and agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Global Goals look at targeting governments specifically to create institutional and systemic change. They cover a range of disciplines including environment, socio-economic, gender dynamics, etc.
This week September 18-24, 2016 is Global Goals Week. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of these SDGs the global community is trying to make as much noise about the goals as they can. It seemed only fitting to make our first blog post of the 2016/2017 academic year about the Global Goals.
When these goals were being released I was beginning my Post Graduate degree in International Development at Humber College in Toronto, Canada. We had discussions of these goals in our classes; how they were designed, whether we believed they were attainable, and how we planned to implement these goals in our careers. Fast forward one year and now I am living in a small village in Ghana working for an NGO that is aiming to improve access to and quality of education for the youth of the Kumasi Region. I am now able to see the SDGs in action, specifically SDG 4.
Being an education organization, Expo is working towards SDG 4: Quality Education; “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” There are a number of targets set out for each SDG; you can see the Education targets here. It has been proven again and again how crucial education is for the development of individuals, communities, and a nation. Our Peer-to-Peer (P2P), Girls Leadership, and Boys Leadership programs strive to improve education opportunities and to empower the youth of Ghana. By encouraging growth through education, this next generation may be able to rise above many of the challenges that their families have faced in the past. Ensuring accessible education for all children is key, and breaking down stereotypes and inequalities around gender and education is inherent in Expo’s values and mission.
As a young individual with an interest for working in International Development, moving to Ghana to work for an education NGO was a way that I could take a stand with the SDGs. However, obviously this is not an option or a necessity for many people. Everyone is able to make a difference in their own way. Whether that be supporting organizations such as Expo, doing research to figure out which SDG you are passionate about, putting pressure on government officials to create sustainable change, or simply educating yourself to be a more informed global citizen. As an advocate for education and for the empowerment of youth globally, I am encouraging all of you to take a look at SDG 4. Think about how education has shaped you as a human, and think about what you can do to allow citizens globally to have the impact of education on their lives. Take a look too at our campaign and consider making a donation to help us in our fight for quality education globally.