By Winnie, Martha and Tinaye

Exhaustion nudged at my core after sitting for almost an hour listening to people’s presentations on the Sustainable Development Goals but still I failed to understand how I, as an individual, can aim to reach for a goal set out by someone else and maybe change the world. The goals seemed so huge and an impossible task to undertake. Although I was not as keen about the SDGs, I realised that there are things we do unconsciously every day that addresses at least one of the SDGs. Throughout the year at Makomborero I came to realise that each and every activity we did was just not a mere activity but contributed to the safety and prosperity of our planet.

Growing up in a society where the opportunity to be a leader is given on a silver platter to boys and only nurturing the confidence and leadership skills of a few outspoken and opinionated girls did not help the majority of the us girls. After being invited by Mrs A to the Girl Mentorship Program I came to realise that installing confidence and empowering just a few girls at a time was what was needed to initiate change in girls, giving them an opportunity to step out of the confines of societal rules and regulations and stop being content with what society says about them. This helps to reduce the gender inequality gap – GOAL 5: Gender Equality.

For many years Zimbabweans had relied on jobs from big corporations, government companies and a few other small businesses. From the economic meltdown, starting in 2008, many big corporations which sustained almost more than half of the population have shutdown leaving the majority jobless and unable to have a decent life. Up to today, families have been struggling to make ends meet so they can sustain their families. This year Makomborero started their Ndeipi Program – to impart knowledge to the community to start their own small businesses and hopefully grow the businesses, creating employment for other people. The businesses will hopefully move from the informal sector to the formal sector and help to raise the economic status of our country addressing Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, greatly reducing the income gap between the richest and the poorest – Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities.

Having been given the opportunity to restore dignity and have a decent start in life through a Makomborero Zimbabwe A-level scholarship (Goal 4: Quality Education), we have been given the platform to express and empower ourselves as young women. This has lifted the burden off our parents’ shoulders, allowing them to do more with little they have.

Sustainable Development Goals  Awareness and the Five P’s Agenda

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to eradicate poverty and hunger, protect the planet and ensure that every individual enjoys peace and prosperity by 2030. They are a call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the environment. The SDGs represents an encyclopedic agenda with 17 goals, 169 targets and over 200 indicators.

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world are:

GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 14: Life Below Water
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

The SDGs entails a five “Ps” agenda: people, prosperity, planet, peace and partnership. 

People – Everyone is needed to reach these ambitious targets. The creativity, know how, technology and financial resources from all of society is necessary to achieve the SDGs in every context. Through the pledge to Leave No One Behind, countries have committed to fast-track progress for those furthest behind first. That is why the SDGs are designed to bring the world to several life-changing ‘zeros’, including zero poverty, hunger, AIDS and discrimination against women and girls.

Prosperity – The demand to have high paying jobs and better living standards has outnumbered the number of jobs available and the amount of money a country’s economy can safely sustain. This had led people to move out of their countries in search of greener pastures, in turn leading to a downfall in the economic status of developing countries, limiting economic prosperity. In many countries there are still vast systemic inequalities that limit prosperity such as gender and opportunity inequality.

Planet – The SDGs plan to promote economic growth and prosperity but also to protect the planet so it can sustain the needs of the present day and future generations.This has been done by adding sustainable development goals to the SDGs which are against pollution especially carbon dioxide emissions. These carbon emissions are having dire consequences on the global climate and seasons, and putting people, animals and plant species in danger.

Peace – The SDGs rightly note that “There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.” Therefore, they set out goals to foster peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.

Partnership – More solidarity is needed to help governments of the furthest behind countries to achieve the SDGs, especially when it comes to  reaching and mobilising finances. Governments alone can’t achieve the SDGs, but they have a key role to play and so does everyone. This is meant for countries and organisations to cooperate and not compete.

The United Nations put much emphasis on undertaking every SDG with the same level of importance because they recognise that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social,economic and environmental sustainability. Moreover, the  UN is implementing the five P’s so that everyone play their role to the best of their abilities. SDGs cannot be achieved by technological solutions, political regulations or financial solutions alone. We need to change the way we think and act. This know how is dependent on quality education on Sustainable Development Goals at all academic and social levels.