World Vision Zambia staff member Florence Mulenga jumps with children in Hamunyanga Village in Luuwmbo ADP, Zambia.
By Dane Moores and Dimitra Kypraios
Today marks three years since every country in the world signed up to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Based on the Goal Kickers report launched today, this blog reflects on the work of World Vision Australia in championing the SDGs over the last three years. It also looks ahead to the challenges and opportunities of building a movement of “goal kickers” to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for everyone, everywhere.
The goalposts were set in 2015
On 25 September 2015, 193 countries agreed on a set of global goals for the world to achieve over the next 15 years – the Sustainable Development Goals. These goals provide a framework for inclusive, sustainable and resilient development for people, the planet and prosperity. They include goals to eradicate extreme poverty everywhere, take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, ensure that all girls and boys get to go to school, and to end all forms of violence against children.
All in all, there are 17 SDGs with 169 targets and 230 measurement indicators. The SDGs are unique because they are a call to action for all countries, not just developing ones. They are ambitious, but achieving the SDGs will benefit everyone, but they are especially important for children. A child who is six years old in 2018 will reach adulthood by 2030, when the SDGs are due to be achieved. They will either be the beneficiaries of our collective achievement or carry the burden of our inaction. Today’s children are relying on us, and our governments and businesses, to deliver on our sustainable development promises.
World Vision Australia is a community of goal kickers
Significant progress is already being made to achieve the SDGs, spearheaded by organisations like World Vision Australia. At World Vision, we are committed to championing the SDGs and building a safer and more sustainable world for children everywhere.
We are being proactive and integrating the SDGs across our community development work. In fact, all of our programs, both in Australia and overseas, contribute to sustainable development: from protecting children against malaria in Malawi, to regenerating forests in Ethiopia, to setting up cultural playgroups in the West Kimberley region of the Australian outback. Below are some examples of World Vision Australia kicking goals on sustainable development over the last three years.
|SDG||World Vision kicking goals|
|● World Vision’s health and livelihoods project in Zimbabwe implemented a holistic model to reduce poverty and its effects. This included establishing new mobile health centres and training more than 3,000 farmers to improve productivity and drought-resistance to reduce poverty, including child poverty.|
|● World Vision’s maternal, newborn and child health project in Myanmar trained nearly 80,000 people in 115 villages in nutrition, childcare and pregnancy support. It also supported the treatment of more than 3,700 malnourished children.|
|● World Vision’s maternal and newborn child health program in Malawi helped nearly halve the number of registered malaria cases at local centres through education and by distributing insecticide-treated mosquito nets.|
|● World Vision’s early and middle childhood development programs in the West Kimberley and East Pilbara regions of Australia are increasing access to culturally-strong early learning services for Indigenous children through community-led, place-based playgroups.|
|● World Vision’s education project in Kenya is changing attitudes toward female genital mutilation and forced or early marriage, as well as helping protect 6,000 children from violence.|
|● World Vision’s water, sanitation and hygiene project in Ethiopia improved water sources for nearly 20,000 people by constructing boreholes and raising awareness about sanitation, which significantly reduced open defecation and created a healthier and safer environment.|
|● World Vision’s development program in the dryland areas of Kenya and Ethiopia is helping more than 200,000 smallholder farmers better capture and use the little rainwater they receive to increase their incomes, reducing pressure for child labour.|
|● World Vision’s innovative trial of 3,000 fuel-efficient cookstoves in Myanmar is reducing emissions and improving indoor air quality by replacing open cooking fires with environmentally-friendly alternatives.|
|● World Vision’s reforestation project in Soddo, Ethiopia, is regenerating or planting more than a million trees through Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, increasing biodiversity, strengthening livelihoods and sequestering tonnes of carbon.|
|● World Vision’s project to reduce gender-based violence in the Pacific is linking survivors to services and working with community and faith leaders to change negative attitudes towards women. Messages delivered through churches have been especially effective, with reported changes in behaviour towards violence against women and children.|
|● World Vision’s partnership with a social enterprise in South Africa is protecting families and children from slum fires by installing an innovative fire-detection device in households. About 90% of households fitted with the device have not been destroyed by slum fires.|
But there is still much more to do
We firmly believe that the progress made so far on the SDGs can and should accelerate. In fact, despite the transformational work of organisations like World Vision over the last three years, the SDGs will not be achieved by 2030 if the current global trajectory continues. Business as usual will not cut it.
The bottom line is that transforming these global commitments into real, meaningful action requires teamwork — across geographies and sectors. Australian governments, businesses and NGOs, as well as households and individuals, all have key roles to play. Critically, we also have an opportunity to work together in partnership to make the aspirations of the SDGs a reality for the world’s most vulnerable.
You can help. You can support the great work that organisations like World Vision Australia do to deliver on the SDGs. As a consumer, you can buy and support socially and environmentally sustainable products. As an employee, you can ask how your company or organisation is supporting the SDGs. As a citizen, you can write to your local MP, calling on them to keep Australia’s promises to achieve the SDGs, through both domestic policy and Australia’s overseas aid. Together, we can build a movement of goal kickers to realise the SDGs by 2030.
For more information on the Sustainable Development Goals and World Vision Australia’s work, see our recently-released report Goal Kickers: A Snapshot of World Vision Australia’s Contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dimitra is undertaking an Internship with the Policy and Advocacy Department with World Vision Australia. She is studying a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at Monash University, with a major in Human Rights. Dimitra is passionate about ensuring that development initiatives in vulnerable communities are sustainable and have a particular focus on equipping children to transform their surroundings.