Go For The Goals!
How can we end poverty and hunger for all? Learn how young people around the world are making a better world for everyone - and how you can also #GoForTheGoals!
Go For The Goals
International Development Week
It’s tough to read the news these days. From the devastating effects of COVID-19 on families around the world, to racism, climate change, hunger and inequality, it is hard to know where to begin making a difference. Guess what? You are already part of the solution.
WHAT ARE THE GLOBAL GOALS? WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THEM?
The goals were adopted by 193 countries, including Canada, at the UN in 2015. The goals aim to “leave no one and no ecosystem behind” and are universal and interconnected. They are universal because each country is responsible for acting on them locally and internationally. They are interconnected because no one goal can be achieved without also achieving the others.
Why should you care about the Global Goals? Because you have already shown that you care about ending poverty and hunger for all, just by clicking this link. Also, every small action you take to make a better world counts towards achieving these goals – including supporting organizations like CFTC. You have been part of this global movement all along.
For Canada’s International Development Week, learn how young people around the world are going for the goals, and how you can too.
Add International Development to Your Inbox
Sign-up to receive our monthly emails.
When the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) were adopted in 2015, no one could foresee COVID-19.
The world has seen many crises over the past 30 years, including the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09. Each has hit human development hard but, overall, development gains accrued globally year-on-year. COVID-19, with its triple hit to health, education, and income, may change this trend.”- UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner
While progress has slowed down on many fronts, it is important for all of us to continue working to end poverty. The SDGs provide us with a useful framework, including specific yearly targets. If you’re interested, you can take a deep dive into those targets right here.
Canadian Feed The Children has been working to end child hunger and poverty for nearly 35 years, and we believe in the power of children, youth and young adults to make meaningful change on their own terms. Meet Abiy, Sharai and Fatima, three young leaders who #GoForTheGoals by following their passions.
18-year-old Abiy is the founder and coach of The Tigers, an under-15 football club for young boys in his community in Ethiopia. (Locally, the game Canadians know as soccer is called football). Discovering his passion for football as part of another local youth team was life changing. It helped him develop confidence, discipline, physical fitness, and a sense of personal well-being. When this team was forced to disband, Abiy decided to form a new team on his own.
Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
By starting his own team, Abiy has helped advance Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being. This goal seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for people of all ages, and includes a specific target to reduce non-communicable diseases and promote mental health. A football club helps a community achieve these targets.
Abiy pitched his idea to CFTC’s local partner CHADET, who agreed to help him set up the new team which would one day become The Tigers. He learned everything from the ground up, developing his financial and technical skills through CHADET and personally screening 17 youth to form the team.
Football is what I’m most passionate about. I always feel happy when I see children playing together in love and unity, and this is what I am enjoying in my football team. I’m very happy being the coach.”
Goal 4: Quality Education
From the beginning, Abiy made sure football would not be the only focus of The Tigers. In Ethiopia, just over 50% of children complete elementary education, and the adult literacy rate is just over 39%. The fourth SDG, Quality Education, aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Abiy helps advance Goal 4 by keeping his young team motivated to continue their education, and providing them with the support they need to do it.
Outside of football, I assist them with their academics. We work on homework and assignments together, and we have a separate time scheduled for this activity. They benefit a lot from this, and I feel happy looking at them while they assist each other.”
For 14-year-old Sharai in Bolivia, her community is her passion. “I want to assist, support and advise the community and [help provide] its necessities,” she says. When she first heard about the youth group at the local community centre (run by CFTC partner SCSJ), she knew that it was a chance to put her passion into action. Today, she and her peers are budding community organizers, and have already made a big difference in community life.
Goal 2: Zero Hunger
One of the ways that Sharai and her friends support their town is by helping out in the community garden, growing fresh produce to eat and sell. In peri-urban Bolivian communities like hers, this is an important step towards food security. 20 percent of the Bolivian population lives with hunger or undernutrition, and almost one third of Bolivians living in rural areas cannot afford the cost of a basic food basket.
Goal 2: Zero Hunger aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. The community garden allows families in her neighbourhood to have access to a variety of healthy foods, improving nutrition and giving families an extra stream of income in the market. Sharai has seen the positive effects of urban gardening in her own family. When COVID-19 hit and many Bolivians faced severe food security as a result, Sharai’s family were able to eat well despite her father’s job loss thanks to their garden.
We have enough healthy food to eat, and now we have our own family garden to produce our veggies.”
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
In addition to food security, Sharai tackles many other inequities that her friends and neighbours face - like the lack of streetlights. In her view, partnership with others is the key.
All we propose we can achieve, as long as we are united,” she says.
Her group decided to address the long-standing safety concern of unlit streets in their town. One of the targets of Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities seeks to provide universal access to safe public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities. Rapid urbanization in Bolivia has left many communities without adequate public infrastructure to service the population.
In one of their biggest successes to date, Sharai and her friends joined with other youth to petition local authorities for more streetlights - and received them. Sharai is hopeful that the group can build on this success to push for safer, more inclusive public spaces. At 14 years old, she’s just getting started.
Fatima is an active participant in several youth groups in her hometown in Ghana. From youth camp, mentorship programs, tutoring, and community advocacy Fatima has already made her mark in community development at just 18 years old.
Goal 5: Gender Equality
Fatima deeply understands the barriers that many girls and women face in her community. In Ghana, one out of five girls is married before her 18th birthday, 12% of girls between 15 and 19 years old have borne children, and 40% of teen girls have experienced gender-based violence. Many girls do not finish school, and face severe economic and social disadvantages as a result.
Goal 5: Gender Equality includes specific targets to end gender-based violence, eliminate child marriage, and strengthen gender equality legislation. Fatima has been taking action on all of the above. Fatima and her friends created a gender-equality action plan that they shared with their peers. But they didn’t stop there.
We worked with community authorities to reinforce by-laws on child protection, institute monitoring, reporting, and intervention to reduce risk factors,” she says.
Fatima also helps young girls stay in school: “I have started holding extra classes with young girls, especially now that schools have closed down. I am passionate about seeing young girls progress in education.”
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
In her free time, Fatima also volunteers with her local Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA). VSLAs allow members - usually farmers - to grow savings, access credit and loans, and build up their economic stability. For many in rural Ghana, it is their only opportunity to access financial services - especially for women who in many cases are barred from owning land and accumulating wealth, despite providing most of the agricultural labour.
One target of Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth is universal access to banking, insurance and financial services. Seeing Fatima’s passion for gender equality, staff at CFTC’s local partner RAINS offered Fatima the volunteer role of doing data entry for the weekly VSLA meetings.
I accepted because I saw it as an opportunity not only to help mothers, but also build up a rapport that will facilitate my interaction with them on girl child education.”
Add International Development to Your Inbox
Sign-up to receive our monthly emails.
How you can help youth #GoForTheGoals
[Youth] take initiative in creativity and innovation to solve community problems. Adults and authorities need to have this in mind to have a fruitful and productive generation of the future.” - Abiy, 18, Ethiopia
Each of the youth we spoke with had a similar message for adults and authority figures. We can all support youth in creating positive change. Here’s how:
- Listen to and amplify youth voices: Seek out and amplify youth perspectives on critical issues like food security, education or climate change. Sharai says that adults can help by “supporting our demands, because they are adults and they can be heard.”
- Support youth action and decision-making: Wherever possible, include the young people in your life and community in key decisions. Fatima adds: “Support youth both in resources and coaching. Attend programs organized by youth speaking on issues affecting the community.”
- Support youth-focused NGOs: Donating to a youth-focused organization like Canadian Feed The Children helps youth reach their full potential by giving them access to education, food security and economic agency. When you provide this foundation, they are better able to solve challenges for future generations. Again, Fatima provides her perspective: “I want to say a big thank you to [Canadians] who have been supporting my community. Through them, the community is embracing educating the girl child.”
- Become an advocate: Start a letter writing campaign to your local officials on issues that matter to youth in Canada and around the world. Use the Global Goals as your guide - each goal is broken down into specific targets that can be implemented at a local level.
Take a second look at all of the Global Goals below.
Which is the one that speaks to you most? Are you motivated by Goal 13: Climate Action? What about Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation?
Chances are, there’s a goal or two on this list that’s important to you. Think about how you can take an action of your own to achieve this goal. If it helps, grab a pen and paper and write it down. The goals are interconnected, which means we can’t achieve one without working on all the others. They are universal, which means they apply right in your neighbourhood as well as across the globe. Your actions matter. There’s always a way for you to make a difference, and it starts with following your own passion. #GoForTheGoals - we know you can do it!
Join CFTC's Glenn Checkley for a special IDW panel event
Food Security: Building a just, sustainable recovery locally, nationally, and globally
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
1:00pm to 3:00pm EST
This Centennial College's IDW panel discussion, featured local and international food security experts, including CFTC Canada Program Manager Glenn Checkley. It covered the common causes of food insecurity nationally and internationally, and what organizations like Canadian Feed The Children and others are doing to help.
Glenn Checkley, Canada Programs Manager, Canadian Feed the Children
Glenn Checkley is the current Program Manager at Canadian Feed the Children. While he currently resides in Goulais River, Ontario, he hails from Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek (Rocky Bay First Nation), an Anishinaabe community in Northwestern Ontario. As a well-versed, and experienced project manager, having provided years of service to industry, not-for-profits, and Indigenous organizations, Glenn has excelled in situations requiring significant change management, organizational development, and community engagement development. Glenn is committed to working with community partners to continue to develop, and implement programs and services that strengthen Indigenous communities across Canada.