The world needs many more of its citizens, especially the next generation to have the necessary knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills to build resilient and prosperous communities. Education for Sustainable Development fosters leadership and problem-solving skills in youths and students, empowering them to engage in the global movement for a more sustainable future.
With a joint effort by SDSN Nigeria and SDSN Youth, the SDGs Advocate Programme was birthed, to communicate the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to Nigerian citizens, with the goal of building a community of exceptional young leaders who will champion and promote SDGs advocacy across the nation.
The SDGs Advocate Programme was designed as a 3-month intensive training and advocacy programme for Nigerian Youths, to be implemented in two (2) phases.
The first phase commenced on 1st September with intensive masterclasses on various aspects of the SDGs, this ended on 23rd October 2022 with two comprehensive assessments for the programme.
The second phase commenced on 24th October and ended on 30th November 2022, this included the execution of individual Own-A-School projects and Interstate Community Development projects.
Within the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the role of advocacy cannot be overlooked, as this is needed at the grassroots as a bottom-to-top approach to foster leadership and problem-solving skills amongst youths and students, empowering them to engage in the global movement for a more sustainable future.
The objectives of the SDGs Advocate Programme are;
- to improve the awareness and theoretical knowledge of Nigerian youths about the SDGs and their roles in the implementation process;
- Incorporate sustainable development into schools and local communities Nationwide;
- Develop and strengthen existing youth networks to domesticate, engage and monitor the implementation of the SDGs.
Major highlights from the SDGs Advocate Programme include:
• The project recorded 2,265 registered applicants, while 1,215 applicants were successfully onboarded for the programme.
• Seven weeks of virtual Masterclass Sessions/training comprising topics on various aspects of the SDGs, including; The Age of Sustainable Development Goals, Pillars, Principles, and Dimensions of the Agenda 2030, Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Development, Climate Solutions and Sustainable Energy, Circular Economy, Consumption and Production, Design Thinking and Innovation Process, Project Management/Community Development, Achieving and Measuring the SDGs, and Advancing Sustainable Development through Governance and Partnership
• Original readings coupled with 10 self-paced online courses on the SDG Academy.
• Through the Community Development projects and the Own-a-School projects, over 230 secondary schools and 100,000 secondary school students in 27 States of the federation were trained on SDGs, and 80 community groups were impacted via the training-of-trainers model.
• The Project Director, Emmanuel Olowoyo with other teams members Mary Olatunde, Adebimbe Adeoba, Michael Akande, Damilola Oyediji and Deborah Simon under the direct supervision of the Network Manager, Mr. Femi Oyeniyi and Network Director of SDSN Nigeria, Prof Labode Popoola applauded the advocates for their impact, relentless effort and contribution towards the attainment of the SDGs during the virtual graduation held on 2nd December 2022.
• A total number of 238 successful participants were issued a Certificate of Excellence and membership access to the UN-SDSN Youth global network, thus becoming world-recognized SDGs Advocates.
• Registration for the 2023 SDGs Advocate Programme has been launched for new applicants.
Some feedbacks and testimonials amongst many gotten from the participants are listed below:
Sufyan Binyamin – Kaduna State (Kaduna) – The program was superb and awesome, it has made me develop many capacities, I have learnt, unlearned and relearned different approaches towards the SDGs, the own a school project was an exciting moment and opportunity for me and students.
Alabi Cynthia – FCT Abuja – The experience was wonderful, educative and enlightening. Before now I knew nothing about the SDGs and Advocacy but with this programme, my knowledge has been broadened and I can say a lot about Advocacy and SDGs in general.
Salami Idowu – Lagos State (Ikeja) – It has been such an amazing, wonderful and interesting program in which I am so much thankful and privileged to be among. It’s an eye-opener for me and has helped me to know more about SDGs and how we can contribute our efforts to sustaining our society and the world at large. Thank you so much for this great opportunity. Leaving no one behind.
Ibeawuchi Chinyere – Nasarawa State (Lafia) – This programme has enabled me to positively impact the lives of young people in my community and this was something I didn’t get while growing up. I’m glad I have helped to put the students on the right path to becoming game changers of tomorrow.
Ruth Ebunoluwa – Oyo State (Ibadan) The Own-A-School Advocacy Project was an awesome experience as I had the opportunity to share the knowledge I have gained from The SDGs Advocacy Program. My Project management skills, public speaking and communication skills were also put into action. I was elated to see that the students were enthusiastic to learn and are also showing interest.
Adeniji Rilwan – Kano State (Kano) – It was an enlightening, educative and awesome experience for the past few months and it has made me a better person. I have learned a lot of things I am not aware of before. It was an exciting journey and I am glad I did.