The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted “by all United Nation member states in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030” (UN). They have been widely adopted by companies wishing to make sure that their organisations are having a positive impact. Investors are also scrutinising their investments and making sure the organisations they are investing in are acting responsibly and in accordance with the SDGs putting positive pressure on companies to behave in an ethical manner.
Our Moon is no exception to this. As a charity, we invest in quality education and opportunity. SDG 4, ‘Quality Education’ 4b states:
“By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries.”
Access to university scholarships presents a great opportunity for young people who may not have any other way to fulfil their academic potential. However, the application process is often difficult to navigate without support. And if they are lucky to be awarded a scholarship, they may have no-one to turn to who can prepare them for what life will be like away from their families in a distant country. We work with our students to help them gain the skills, knowledge and dispositions to apply for these scholarships and succeed at university. Crucially, we work with our students during and after our programme ends to help them use their education to bring about positive social change in their country.
Chris Yates, lecturer in International Education at UCL Institute of Education, London said:
“The Sustainable Development Goals Framework emphasizes the potential value of promoting international cooperation in higher education noting that by 2020 there should be a substantial global expansion in the number of programmes available to developing countries for study in developed and developing countries. Our Moon is committed to the furtherance of this goal and ideal. In a world of gross inequalities, such work is worthy of support.”
At Our Moon, we also use the sustainable development goals as a guide to the way we work within our community and to help our students focus on ways they might gear their education to bring about positive social change.
Chris and Quincy are both studying economics and wish to contribute to Zambia’s economic growth, which Ashley is interested in working with vulnerable women and giving them a voice in order to reduce inequalities. Zoe is studying international relations and is interested in comparing the success of governments and companies. One day, Zoe will be that person who helps the continent develop stronger institutions Justin is keen to develop Zambia’s energy strategy to avoid the current over-reliance on hydro power and move towards more sustainable sources of electricity, relating to SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy. Kate is studying public health and wants to contribute to Zambia’s health care and improved well-being.
Our Moon is in the process of developing its Learning Centre in Chipanshya Village in Chibombo District. Within our limited budget, we wish to use sustainable and clean energy sources, take care of the environment and offer clean water and sanitation. We work with local people to help them work collaboratively, to nurture their families and to build better and stronger communities.
The SDGs are successful in helping companies, governments and NGOs work to support the common good. Must be a good thing!