Drogheda based NGO Development Perspectives recently had two groups working overseas as part of their SDG Advocate Programme, a programme designed to allows advocates to deepen their understanding of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), development education and transformative change.
The first group of SDG advocates travelled to a small village called Da Bia, four hours west of the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi to work with our partner organisation Centre for Sustainable Development. The group which consisted of 9 Irish advocates were joined in Vietnam by 10 Vietnamese advoactes, all of whom lived and worked together for 2 weeks exploring the Sustainable Development Goals and their impact and potential in both an Irish and Vietnamese context. During their time there the group was part of a project that recycled used tyres into children's playgrounds along with planting trees in the local area - all of which contributes towards the SDGs. They also had the opportunity to visit the United Nations Development Programme in Hanoi and several NGOs working in and around Hanoi. The SDG advocates were featured on NETVIET TV,
Vietnamese National Television in a piece that highlighted the work the advocates were involved in while in Vietnam.
The second group of 14 Irish advocates travelled to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to work and live alongside 15 advocates from youth organisation Uvikiuta. Throughout the groups time in Tanzania, they had the opportunity to visit the United Nations Development Programme and the Irish Embassy. They also took part in a project with the community of Goba trying to tackle the issue of soil erosion caused by the local river expanding, along with exploring the Sustainable Development Goals in more depth.
The advocates have now returned home and will begin to work on an action project that focuses on a Suatainable Development Goal that they feel passionate about or that affects their own communties, in order to make these goals more relevant for civil society.
Development Perspectives' director Bobby McCormack said “Ireland has a long history in advocating for human rights, in fact Ireland took a lead role in negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals - that’s something we should be proud of! Now on a grassroots level we have a group of passionate, committed people who want to make these goals relevant for their communities and that is something that needs to be supported by everyone.”
This part-time educational programme and life-changing opportunity is one element of a larger project called the #SDGchallenge which was recently awarded the Dóchas 2017 SDG Champion Award, an award designed to recognise an organisation that has done outstanding work around the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals.