How do we reach the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), set by the UN in 2015? Five different people, with very different backgrounds,have created programs that can revolutionize our world. Let's discover their stories and how they all believe education is the key to fulfill the SDGs.
Leor Rotchild, the charming executive director of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), believes the sustainable development goals are definitely reachable. The tip is to collaborate with others. M. Rotchild gives us the example of Keurig Canada, a company that he has worked with. Keurig Canada has the goal of 100% recyclable K-CUP® pods by 2020, which they have already achieved by 93%. If people collaborate and exchange, a revolution can happen. This is about the ability to deliver something, all together. As an image of a puzzle, all communities and companies can participate and each be able to add to the project. But also, each piece should be able to develop itself, as we should “empower people to do things for themselves”.
“Everyone wants to change the world, and you will. Be the change”
Leda Böger, executive director of Consulado da Mulher, created her project when she realized that investing in women was like investing in the future. Indeed,women spend 90% of their revenues towards their households and their kids. Thus, education can be a broad concept, and no knowledge is more important than another. Yet,entrepreneurship education for women was needed to make them financially independent. Teaching marketing to women is like investing in a community. For example, Whirlpool Latin America, initiator of the project, became aware that women had the power of decision in 70 to 80% of the purchasing process. Hence, the best way to invest in the future is to invest in women. Education is the key feature to help develop the SDGs. How do they motivate people to take part in the project? It is all about motivation, to show them that people who made an effort succeeded at one point. In the end, Leda tells us “opening dialogue on gender equalities can be done by being the change”. We can all educate someone, it can be our purpose.
“It is about using the resources that you have”
The inspiring Nelisiwe Masango pointed out that 15 out of the 17 SDGs need financing to be achieved. She realized it does not matter how much money you have, what matters is how you manage it. 75% of employees are money-stressed: but if taught how to manage on the long term, putting gender, race and age aside, people can make miracles. Therefore, education once again is at the core of the revolution which will lead to the accomplishment of SDGs. Everyone must be included in this education. In order to avoid leaving anyone behind, Nelisiwe invented BrailleNote which enables blind people to get educated. Her program is an uplifting encouragement for all generations. She inspires us to stop making excuses for ourselves, to use our resources, and be the example: change always starts somewhere. We can become role models and make our world a better place.
“We build businesses people look up to, we aspire them”
Luvuyo Rani is the co-founder and director of Silulo Ulutho technologies in South Africa. His program is so popular that it is now ready to expand out of South Africa, in Zimbabwe and Malawi, to name only a few. His academy was created to let people get an access to the internet and teach them digital skills. 50% of graduated students have found a job in telecommunication right after ! To be more accessible to everyone, this academy needed to be different from the others: it is open seven days a week, late at night, so people can come study during the evenings and weekends. The actual revolution in Luvuyo’s business however was to make it grow so more people could profit from it. Thus, graduated students were employed by his business, and went on to open other franchises all around the country to teach more people. Reaching the SDGs, according to Mr. Rani, is all about access, connectivity, and skills – yet another example education is atthe core of a better world.
“Fashion is not a brand, fashion is linked to development”
Bibi Russell, an extraordinary woman, always knew that to make life greater, education was the key. She realized some children could not go to school during Monsoon season, because their parents could not afford the appropriate materials. Bibi therefore employed the parents so that children could go to school. The parents work in fashion design and make pieces of clothing 100% sustainable and locally produced. This is a great shift in Bangladesh: education decreases girl trafficking and acid attacks, amongst other things. Fashion is therefore linked to development and many great things, as the passionate Bibi says, “you can go five days without food, but you will always be wearing something”, as a necessity.
Five astonishing people, five amazing stories to inspire us and promote education for everyone, everywhere. As Nelisiwe Masango quoted, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed himself for a lifetime”.