Youth around the globe are seizing the opportunity to participate in the implementation of the sustainable development goals. In Kenya, the university students are increasingly using the power of their collective voice to advocate, lobby and lead campaigns towards adopting sustainable practices and policies. Growing up in a country characterized by advancing technologies and information sharing, many are harnessing this opportunity to increase awareness about SDGs.
One such group of young people is the Strathmore University students. On 4th April 2019, more than eighty students filled the Transcentury auditorium at Strathmore Business School with the eagerness to accomplish and support their objectives and actions towards the youth-inclusive SDGs agenda implementation planning. The productive debate that was organized by Wesustain assisted me towards understanding the tactics of divergent thinking as an approach to identifying responsibilities and youth expectations towards implementing of SDGs.
Related article: Wesustain: Encouraging the youth to be proactive on the SDGs
Why the youth matter in the SDGs
Sustainability means a lot of things to different people. Let me try to describe what it means for us here at Wesustain: as many or most of you may be hearing about ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ and the Sustainable Development Goals, their embedded objectives are to create inclusive and peaceful societies and nations. Say, for example, SDG 16- that aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels or SDG 17, that talks about strengthening the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. Clearly, the role of the youth is critical to the attainment of these development goals, and, subsequently, the youth will also be largely impacted by the outcome of actions that nations will undertake to realize the SDG agenda- after all, the talk is about our ‘common future’.
Lessons learned from the Wesustain SDGs debate
Overall, the debate and the follow-up discussion sessions were crucial to realizing the collective approach towards harnessing youth-generated ideas for shaping Kenya’s sustainability journey and identifying an action plan for a sustainable transformation. The ‘collective actions’ and key points compiled during the event will be shared later in the Wesustain website via a sustainability-themed video series.
Wesustain will position itself to lead this collective agenda for ‘supporting Youth–led movements for a sustainable change’ in mobilizing and engaging with young people to develop and determine their vision of sustainable futures.
It was evident from the event that a youth-driven discussion on SDGs implementation can be effectively accomplished through collaboration and exchange of information, and knowledge between various networks and initiatives that are making mindful efforts to warrant well-organized and productive role of ‘youth’ in the development debates and policy dialogues. More can be achieved by working closely with other university networks to leverage opportunities for collaboration on domains of common interest, more so in the achievement of SDGs.
Together, with Kenya Climate Innovation Center and other partners, lets us explore innovative models of engagement among young professionals and strategies to support the development of youth capacities as they engage in exploring their desired futures in the Kenya’s SDG agenda.
Team #Sustainability, I hope you feel this renewed passion of creating a new world. You may also want to look into our online video competition that offers an opportunity for Kenyan youth to share their sustainable solutions while “promoting the active involvement of youth in the achievement of SDGs”.