The inaugural Young Leaders for Development Platform, is set to be launched at the European Development Days 2016 (#EDD2016) by Commissioner Neven Mimica – responsible for International Cooperation and Development.
As we move towards one year since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been adopted, it is critical to start tracking progress particularly around implementation. Especially more so, since the Young Leaders for Dev blog has been recognised as a platform which is set to measure progress, allow for robust debates and accountability of young leaders and their governments in implementing the SDGs. The young leaders envision that the platform is set to be the ‘go to place on #SDGs in fifteen years’ time.
Several young leaders were asked which goal they strive towards and how they are ensuring implementation of the SDGs. Below are extraordinary responses from across the globe; #EDD16 Young Leaders
Nestor Dehouindji (Benin) – SDG 4 Ensure Inclusive and Quality Education for All & Promote Lifelong Learning
There is a need for entrepreneurship skills, especially in the Beninese context. The work I do could also be related to SDG 5 (gender equality) or even to SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth). I am involved in a project which runs throughout the country and also extends to neighboring countries such as Niger and Togo. The project focusses on two groups of the population, women aged 25-35 years and youth aged 15-30 years. Application processes are put in place and skills training includes tourism, honey crafting and agriculture which enables youth to launch their business and provide mentoring and constant support (e.g. applying for financial support) to programme participants to ensure the success of their businesses.
Pilirani Khoza (Malawi) – SDG 2 Zero Hunger
As a research assistant at the University of Lilongwe, I am involved in implementing agricultural technologies such as water harvesting and minimal tillage. Linked to this, I recently founded Bunda Female Organisation, which is currently run by students and aims to empower female students to be academically involved in agriculture and sciences. We also provide scholarships for further training to farmers. The educational focus of our projects also speaks to Goal 4 (Education). What is innovative in our approach is that we make use of our own resources to fund the ongoing work of the organisation; those who generate money from farming activities as a result of the projects give proceedings to the organisation which ensures sustainability building on benefits.
Abbas Sbeity (Lebanon) – SDG 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities
My vision is that architecture should build communities not just buildings.
Two years ago, I founded a non-profit Lebanese Architecture Club which brings together young students and professionals. The organisation provides young people with essential practical and social skills which are not necessarily provided through university training. Through the programme, we host workshops, lectures and events which adopt participatory approaches with design processes including communities- they are at the centre of our work. Our work includes upgrading small neighbourhoods in Lebanon, rehabilitating an old factory, upgrading a cultural hub and a library for Syrian refugees.
Joselin Manzanares Nuñez highlighting her role in training youth and adolescents around climate change issues in Nicaragua.
Ruben Baumer – SDG 7 Clean and Affordable Energy
Starting a business should not be about profits but about what you can do for society.
I am involved in the Academic for Development Organisation, which is a Belgian youth-led organisation that supports students to make a difference in the future through social entrepreneurship. As a research engineer at Colruyt Group we work around issues of clean energy and ensure that most vulnerable populations in Africa have access to clean electricity. One project we are running is to develop small solar kits for villages which have no electricity in Senegal and sell them at a low cost.
Ayesha Durrani (Pakistan) – SDG 5 Gender Quality
In Pakistan access barriers for contraceptives is not due to a lack of afffordability but due to cultural and religious factors.
The project I’d like to highlight is a social entrepreneurship model in an urban slum in Pakistan where we selected women from the community to sell contraceptives and empower women of reproductive ages (15-49 reproductive age category). These community workers receive financial incentives (salaries) for their work which thereby empowers them economically.
Sana Afouaiz (Morocco) – SDG 16 Promote Just, Peaceful & Inclusive Societies
I was part of the World Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka in 2014, where youth played a role in influencing the #SDG agenda. At the time, I was working for two years at research development unit where our work focussed on ensuring that governance and accountability was incorporated into Goal 16. This led me to developing the African Youth Advocate Platform which is an online platform targeting youth across Africa to share experiences and techniques around good governance and accountability.