8 ways we’re working to achieve the SDGs

Feb 03, 2020
It’s the 30th anniversary of International Development Week, and this year we’re celebrating the steps we’re taking together to fulfill the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

What are the SDGs, you ask? Back in 2015, all the UN member states (Canada’s been a member since 1945), adopted the 17 SDGs as “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.” 

This blueprint includes things like zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, gender equality and affordable clean energy. Oh, and no big deal, we gave ourselves a deadline of 2030 to achieve these goals – for all of us, whether you’re in Timberlea, Nova Scotia, or Timbuktu, northern Mali.

With only 10 years left ‘til 2030, some people will say we’ve set ourselves an unattainable goal. But we say, we can achieve all 17 if we go for the goals together. 

Here are just eight of the many ways we’re working to achieve the SDGs, with your help:

SDG 1 – No poverty

a woman and two children laugh and hold hands walking down a dirt road Photo: Ben Adams

Fact: Every 60 seconds a family receives the tools to overcome poverty – families like Estela’s. She lives in Piedecuesta, Colombia, across the border from Venezuela, with her husband and two children. Thanks to the “Del sueño a la realidad” sponsorship program, which translates to “From dream to reality”, Estela’s been able to participate in entrepreneurship workshops and even took a painting course so that she can contribute economically to her family while working from home with her children. In addition, her children have benefitted from health, nutrition and hygiene guidance with the support of local World Vision staff and volunteers in Colombia. 

SDG 2 – Zero hunger

a young Zambian girl smiles in a doorway Photo: Tigana Chileshe

Fact: Every 60 seconds, a hungry child is fed – children like seven-year-old Maggie. “I love playing with my friends, but when I am hungry it’s hard to play because I feel weak and my abdomen hurts. Every time when we have not had a meal; I feel that way,” says Maggie.

She lives in a small community in the Kazungula district of southern Zambia with her grandmother, Josephine. Josephine is a farmer, and at 67-years-old, she had hoped to harvest 30 50-kilogram bags of grain to eat and sell this year. Because of erratic rainfall and eventually a severe drought, she lost everything. 

World Vision Zambia is responding with life-saving food aid in the short term and providing seeds to replant so that families like Maggie and Josephine can get back on their feet. 

SDG 3 – Good health and well-being

two women from Myanmar look down at a tiny baby.Photo: Paul Bettings

Myanmar (also known as Burma) is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. After years of political and economic mismanagement along with international isolation, health care is limited, particularly in more remote parts of the country. 

In partnership with Global Affairs Canada, through a program called ENRICH - The 1000 Day Journey, we're working with regional governments to improve access to health services for moms like Zin Mar. With the help of a local public health worker, she was able to safely deliver a healthy baby girl, a joyful occasion for her, having lost her last baby to jaundice when she was just a few days old. Through ENRICH, her community now has a brand-new birthing centre and local women are being trained as peer educators to help other mothers with helpful health and nutrition information. This project and others like it are helping children around the world get the best and healthiest start in life. 

SDG 4 – Quality education  

a young Iraqi boy sits at a desk and looks directly at the camera
Photo: Shayan Nuradeen

Born and raised in west Mosul, Iraq, Ahmed’s education ended when ISIL came to the city. He lost his father and a brother to the conflict in 2016, but he never forgot his father’s encouragement to finish his education. 
As soon as the schools reopened, he went back. And when he encountered some difficulty in math, his friends told him about catch-up classes offered by World Vision in partnership with Al Ghad Organization, a local NGO. The support he received there helped him pass his math exam. Because of this help, now he hopes to be a teacher one day. 

With your support, we’re working to help children all over the world get access to quality education – especially boys and girls in crises - and to succeed for a brighter future. 

SDG 5 – Gender equality 

a young Congolese girl stands at a microphone while a man at a computer gives her a thumbs up sign
Photo: Patrick Meinhardt

According to UNESCO, there are an estimated 130 million girls between the ages of 6 and 17 out of school. In places like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the barriers to girls’ education are immense. Lack of access to sanitation in schools, cultural norms and practices, distance and cost, combined with severe flooding, deadly outbreaks of measles and Ebola, plus long term sustained conflict and displacement, make it next to impossible for girls to get equal access to quality education. 

In partnership with Global Affairs Canada, we’re working to change that. This brand-new project will work with local authorities, community leaders and families in conflict-affected parts of Kasai and North Kivu provinces of DRC, to tackle the barriers girls face. By learning to write and produce their own music, the girls will amplify their own voices to claim their right to quality, safe, gender-responsive education.   

SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation

three Afghan girls wearing white head scarves smile at the camera as they crouch down to wash their hands at a row of fawcettsPhoto: Abdul Qauom Abdullahi

Fact: World Vision is reaching one new person with clean water every 10 seconds and reaches three more schools every day with clean water – schools like Tagab Ismail girl’s high school in Badghis province, Afghanistan. By accessing clean water and learning about hygiene, girls like Maryam, Saeeda, Homaira, all 12, are noticing improved health and hygiene outcomes.

“I am not worried about eating now because I always wash my hands with soap and water before eating. I wash the fruits before eating and brushing my teeth is my favourite duty every morning and night,” says Maryam. 

SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy 

a Syrian woman stands in front of a passive solar water heater on the roof of her home in JordanPhoto: Tim Riedel

Najah fled her home in Syria three years ago, and now lives in a two-room dwelling on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan with her mother and seven children, ages four-to-13. As the head of her household, she struggles to meet the daily needs of her children. She receives the equivalent of about $340 Canadian per month from the UNHCR which is barely enough to cover the cost of food let alone pay rent and the utilities bill. 

In partnership with Global Affairs Canada, we were able to install a Passive Solar Water Heater on the roof of Najah’s home, and the homes of nearly 800 other families. Now the family has access to warm water all the time, plus, the money they save on utilities can now go towards other necessities. 

SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goal

a World Vision Mozambique staff person distributes emergency food aid to a group of women survivors of Cyclone Idai
Photo: Lourino Pelembe

This year, we joined the Humanitarian Coalition  to address the needs of the growing number of people affected by conflict and disaster through collaboration. With this partnership, we’re making it easier than ever for Canadians to donate when disaster strikes. Working together alongside our peer organizations helps us to act quickly to provide essentials like food, water, sanitation and shelter. We couldn’t be prouder to be part of the team.

These are just a few of the steps we’re taking to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We have a long road ahead, but together, we can build a better world for all of us. 

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