The United Nations has challenged youths to be innovative in driving solutions to societal problems in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This message was delivered by the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Ronald Kayanja to participants at the maiden edition of a monthly programme tagged the SDG Café in Lagos.
EduCeleb.com reports that the SDGs became effective in 2015 and were directed at ensuring that by 2030, the 17 goals would have been achieved globally. Before then, were the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Also known as the Global Goals, the SDGs are directed towards attaining “No poverty”, “Zero hunger”, “Good health and well-being”, “Quality Education”, and “Gender equality”.
Other goals are towards “Clean water and sanitation”, “Affordable and clean energy”, “Decent work and economic growth”, as well as “Industry, innovation and infrastructure”.
The rest are “Reduced inequality”, “Sustainable cities and communities”, “Responsible consumption and production”, “Climate action”, “Life below water”, “Life on land”, “Peace, justice and strong institutions” and “Partnership for the Goals”.
Mr Kayanja noted the importance of youths to the progress of the world today while adding that the UNIC was ready to support individuals and institutions driving positive change within its capacity. According to him, the SDG movement cannot work without the input of youths.
Also speaking at the event, the National Information Officer of UNIC, Oluseyi Soremekun extolled youths for their resilience irrespective of challenges around. He stated that almost every innovation anyone decides to undertake was connectible to the SDGS.
“There is virtually nothing you want to do today that is not related to the SDGs. You just have to identify the link. We are ready to work with you in doing so.
“You may decide to start the production of pap, for instance. As little as some may think of that, it connects to ending poverty, hunger and, engaging in decent work and economic growth within the SDGs,” he said.
The high point of the event was a lecture titled “Design Thinking” delivered by Oluwabusola Majekodunmi.
Miss Majekodunmi who is the Founder of Steering for Greatness noted that programmes and projects become successful through a proper understanding of the concept.
She defined design thinking as a creative approach to problem solving and a process that starts with people being designed for and ends with new solutions that are tailored to suit their needs.
Her presentation identified that the stages of design thinking include empathy, defining the problem, ideation, prototype and testing.
According to her, empathy sets the ground for identifying with those in challenges so that one is able appropriately define it. The ideation stage is where a range of possibilities to solving the problem are generated.
This, she said, is better done by members of the team writing their perspectives rather than saying it aloud. Of the possibilities, the selected ones serve as prototype for which a test of the feasibility of the project would be done.
Explaining further, she stated thus, ”The core of the design thinking approach is a focus on empathy. Ideation is not about finding the right idea, it’s about generating a wide range of possibilities in which prototyping is built on.”
She also challenged youths on problem solving as “problems are opportunities for design”.
Participants in the event include students, youths and professionals either involved in, or planning to start working on various projects relating to the SDGS.
Education is the most important SDG
In a related development, the Founder of EduCeleb, Abdussalam Amoo has identified education as the most important of the SDGs. He said so during the bimonthly EduCeleb Education Discourse held recently.
“Quality education is the core to achieving the other SDGs. The educated mind can help our world achieve all the Global Goals,” he said.
Revelling the inputs of EduCeleb in the education sector, Mr Amoo identified that the platform provides information relating to education towards empowering all.
“In the process of promoting education, we provide information that would empower people and put an end to poverty and hunger. We are also concerned about reducing gender disparity in opportunities as it affects various strata of our society.
“Much of the developments in our world are research-driven as much as policy making is also important. EduCeleb works together with academics and policy makers in order to create awareness about these goals.
“We organise sensitisation programmes in schools just as we drive conversations about these goals through working with various stakeholders.
“Our drive to promote reading culture has led to mandating team members to join or set up book reading clubs in their various areas. I personally volunteer not less than six hours weekly for that,” he added.
He urged the audience to identify which of the goals they are passionate about and start working on them.
He went further saying that “There are various ways in which we all can be involved in the SDGs as there is no limitation to what we can all do to ensure that by 2030, the SDGs would have been achieved.”