Community Development Directions and Training in New Zealand
You, Me and the SDGs: Sustainable Development Goals Workshop
“You, Me and the SDGs” was a workshop designed to educate Community Development Practitioners on Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and encouraged us to think about where we see these goals being worked towards in our lives and workplaces. It was piloted on the 14th of July in Auckland, New Zealand and then travelled to New York at the United Nations High Political Forum - Side Event, receiving very positive feedback from participants at both events.
What are the SDG’s?
The workshop began with discovering what Agenda 2030 and the SDG’s are, and where they came from. Agenda 2030 is a coming together of the Millennium Development goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Track. The MDGs focused on the eradication of poverty and its ill-effects for the people in least-developed nations; and the Sustainable development track was focused on environmental sustainability. Agenda 2030 recognises both environmental and social wellbeing as interrelated and the 17 SDGs and their 169 targets aim to address both these streams in an integrated way. Two short and informative clips, one on the SDG’s, and one on its predecessor the MDG’s, as well as a quiz on the MDGs were used to help educate participants in a fun and interactive way.
Key differences between SDGs and other UN goals
In this learning space it was important to note some differences between the MDGs and the SDGs. This time around with the SDGs, there was wide consultation across civil, public and private sectors of society, and it was the Nation States through the Open Working Group, who drafted the SDGs and their targets. This approach sees the goals resting upon a foundation of collaborative participation in their design and implementation.
A second remarkable difference is that while the MDGs focused primarily on least developed nations, the SDGs recognise there is work to be done across all nations. The increased focus of the MDGs in our least developed nations means they are way ahead of the game in understanding the goals and putting them into practice and have much to offer the rest of us.
How do the SDGs relate to Community Development?
The workshop proceeded to have participants think about how the SDGs relate to our work as Community Development practitioners. The SDGs and the processes surrounding their emergence align well with Community Development values of social justice, empowerment, equity, participation, inclusion, self-determination, and comradeship.
The SDGs are already being addressed through many Community Development organisations and initiatives. Both local and international examples of these were featured in the workshop. Poverty for example is being addressed by microfinance organisations like the Grameen Bank; Hunger through community garden initiatives like Rooftop Republic; Health and Wellbeing through community health initiatives like the Pilton Community Health Project; Quality Education through projects like The Community Learning Project and in community led building initiatives like the Africa School Assistance Project and so on.
The initiatives mentioned above are not solely addressing the goal beside which they are identified, but are working more holistically as all the goals are linked in some way, shape or form.
To demonstrate this the workshop used a card game activity. Cards representing each of the goals were labelled with a picture of the goal on one side, and a description of its targets on the other. Groups of 3-4 people selected three goals that were important to them. They were then encouraged to discuss and record the following:
Why are the goals important to you?
Where are these goals in your life and workplace?
Where do you see your organisation working on these goals in the future?
Each group then fed back to all participants.
Opportunities for collaboration on the goals
It is an important time for Community Development Professionals as the SDGs are applicable to all sectors, the public and the private and at local, regional and national levels and across all nations leaving much room for collaboration. Using local examples of sector collaboration in practice, the workshop encouraged participants to think about and discuss in groups:
Where are the opportunities for my organisation to collaborate on the goals?
What other Community Development initiatives do I know that focus on these and relative issues?
Who in other sectors are potential partners in meeting these goals?
How will I find out who they are?
How will I get them engaged?
Discuss and record two things each participant will do to progress this further.
The SDGs are already being addressed by Community Development organisations and in initiatives around the globe. It is our job now to identify where the links are, establish networks around the goals, and use them to further push for a sustainable and just future for all.
Gallery of Training photo's
Links/references in order of appearance:
MDG Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5giOGjj5X8
Grameen Bank: http://www.grameen.com/
Piltion Community Health Project: http://www.pchp.org.uk/about-us
The Community Learning Project: http://www.cepholyoke.org/index.html
Africa School Assistance Project: http://africaschoolassistanceproject.org/