Sustainable Development Goals

Mar 01, 2023


International Development Week (IDW) aims to call attention to international development and the contributions Canadian’s have made towards eradicating poverty and creating a more peaceful and inclusive world.

In addition to the accomplishments we shared last year, here are four more steps we’re taking together to fulfill the United Nation’s (UN) 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 goals such as zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, gender equality and affordable clean energy. Though the goal date is set for 2030, which isn’t too far away, we believe that collective efforts can push us closer and closer to success. Here are new ways we’ve taken action to achieve SDGs.

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

An infant child stands on a scale to have their weight taken. A crowd of mothers and their children sit around awaiting their turn.

Village Health Support Groups gather communities of women and young children together to impart critical nutrition knowledge and monitor the growth of children under the age of 5. For children like Pheak, it’s made a world of difference. Photo: Ben Adams

In the Cambodian community of Kralanh, many families struggle to earn enough to provide for their children, so it’s difficult to prioritise a healthy, balanced diet. Malnutrition is a common issue for young children, but World Vision’s Village Health Support Groups are helping mothers ensure their kids have every opportunity to grow up healthy and strong.

By giving communities access to better health services and working with community leaders, child sponsorship helps kids grow up healthy and strong. The support groups also provide hygiene and sanitation training, teaching mothers and caregivers how to protect their children from sickness and disease.

“When their nutrition improves, it also reduces sickness. When the children are severely or moderately underweight, they are often sick. They have so many illnesses. But after their health status changes, they are much healthier,” says a support group staff member.

SDG 5 - Gender Equality

A mother is sitting on a bed smiling while holding her young daughter in her lap.

Heidy with her 4-year-old daughter, Ashley. “My daughter is everything for me. She gives me strength. She motivates me to keep going," Heidy says. Photo: Laura Reinhardt

The unfortunate truth is that there is a long way to go for women to achieve equality – according to the United Nations, women still earn 20% less than men on average globally, and in 2021, only 25% of all national parliamentarians were female, a slow rise from 11.3% in 1995. On top of that, 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner or someone else. It is imperative to change the stats and the stories behind them, that is why empowering women is foundational to World Vision’s child sponsorship program.

Empowering women is giving them decision-making power, a platform to share their ideas and create change, access to opportunities and resources, control over their own lives inside and outside of the home.

Heidy Garcia, age 24, has struggled for much of her life. Things began to turn around when World Vision’s Youth Ready facilitators came to her class and offered assistance for education, entrepreneurship and employment.

During the program she didn’t just learn practical skills – Heidy learned about herself and how to be confident when interacting with others. She grew so much that she launched her own business much earlier than she had planned.

"With the project, they practically made my dreams come true,” Heidy says.

When people ask Heidy how to change their life, she encourages them to find people who will believe in their dreams and help them – and then, to have the confidence in themselves to take a risk and believe they can succeed.

World Vision child sponsors are partnering with communities, faith leaders and governments for women and girls globally – to break down the barriers and become agents of change in their communities.

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

An adult woman is seated on the ground beside a young boy, assisting him as he plays with toys in the learning center.

Andranik is 6 years-old and his teacher Lali is very proud of him for making great progress in his learning. Photo: Felicia Carty

Child sponsorship empowers children and their communities to break free from poverty, for good. Together, we help the world’s most vulnerable children. Some of the most vulnerable members of the communities we work in are children with disabilities.

Around the world one billion people live with a disability, and 80 percent of them are in developing countries. We are committed to including people with disabilities in all we do, not only to meet their needs but to be part of the solution to poverty – because real, lasting change needs all of us working together. We currently serve nearly 15,000 children with disabilities worldwide, and our goal is to triple that number in the next three years.

At a community kindergarten in Georgia, Lali received training on working with children with disabilities and is now an inclusive education specialist thanks to World Vision. She works closely with 6-year-old Andranik and other children, most of whom are part of the child sponsorship program.

Disability inclusion is a part of our child sponsorship program in these 5 ways:

  1. Access to services and assets – by helping connect people with disabilities with health, education, livelihoods, water, sanitation and hygiene and other services, and the specialised rehabilitation and assistive technology services they need.
  2. Enhanced well-being – by ensuring that protection and prevention systems tackle the increased risk of violence towards children and adults with disabilities.
  3. Participation within social, economic and political processes in their community and nationally – by supporting and encouraging people with disabilities and to participate in these processes.
  4. Decision making at household, community and societal levels – by building the confidence and skills of people with disabilities to be part of decision-making and supporting the people around them to empower them to be involved.
  5. Equal systems – by addressing stigma towards people with disabilities in their communities and supporting community and national advocacy for more fair laws and processes, like those set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

SDG 16 - Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

A group of World Vision community club members stand together and smile joyfully.

The community clubs, supported by World Vision, are fostering peace among different nationalities at Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. Photo: Sarah Ooko

Sounds of joyful singing and dancing fill the air at one of the church compounds in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya.

The adults and children attending are members of community clubs that World Vision, in partnership with faith leaders, is supporting at the camp through its Every Last One-Transformed Churches for Transformed Community (ELO-TCT) project.

"They are enhancing the spiritual nurture of children and empowering them to be instruments of peace in their community," says Millicent, the faith and development specialist for the ELO-TCT project at Kakuma Refugee Camp.

The community clubs have become valuable as they are bringing down the walls of segregation, hate and suspicion existing among different communities, which usually lead to conflict as well as violence among people of different cultures and nationalities at the Kakuma Refugee Camp.

"When we sing and pray together, we are like brothers and sisters. So, we understand that we need to be united and live together in harmony," says 17-year-old Atomi.

Arakuba, who is one of the community club teachers states that the initiative is transforming the lives of children and bringing necessary healing to the community.