Aiducation’s Commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
In 2015 all 193 member nations of the United Nations adopted a ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ This agenda has 17 goals ‘to provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.’
Here is an outline of some of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how the programs of Aiducation International fully support, and indeed contribute to, this ambitious initiative of the United Nations.
Aiducation & United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #1: No Poverty
More than 40% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa today lives below the poverty line. SDG #1 wants to eradicate extreme poverty and reduce the number of people living in poverty by half by 2030. Since 2007 Aiducation International has enabled more than 1700 talented students from poor backgrounds to help break their poverty cycle by awarding merit based high school scholarships. More than 90% of the alumni of our programme have pursued a degree in higher education, some are the first ones of their family to reach this level of education. Many have joined the workforce now and are financially supporting their families, helping to bring their entire family above the poverty line.
Aiducation & United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #2: Zero Hunger
Poor nutrition is the cause of death for 3.1 million children each year. In developing countries one out of three children is suffering stunted growth due to malnourishment. SDG #2 wants to end hunger and ensure all people access to food by 2030. Because most of the food in developing countries is produced by small farmers, the UN encourages efforts by small local producers to increase their productivity. Aiducation International encourages its students to proactively address social issues such as eradicating hunger and supports good business plans financially to do so. Since 2014 Aiducation has provided seed funding for 11 businesses in the agricultural and food retail sector. All those businesses help to provide food and eradicate hunger in their local communities.
Aiducation & United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education
Obtaining quality education can be seen as the foundation for creating sustainable development. This goal aims to ensure that all children have the chance to complete primary and secondary education regardless of their race or financial status. The vision of Aiducation International is a world where everyone, regardless of financial background, has equal access to relevant training, and networks, in order to realize their potential and positively impact society. The scholarships of Aiducation International have enabled more than 1’700 talented students from poor families to access quality education by giving them access to the best schools of their country. It may be noted that scholars of Aiducation International perform better in their final high school graduation exams than the average student. The investment into education from Aiducation International has a trickledown effect as many of our scholars volunteer as teachers in rural schools and other are pursuing a degree in education.
Aiducation & United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #5: Gender Equality
Almost one in five women between 15 and 49 has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within the past 12 months. Also, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and child marriage are still part of the lives of millions of girls and women worldwide. Additionally, women are still underrepresented in governments and board rooms. Studies have shown that providing girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large. SDG#5 wants to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private spheres. Equal rights for all is one of the core values of Aiducation International. We address this issue on three levels. First of all, gender is not a criterion in the granting of our scholarships. Secondly, we raise the awareness about this topic at our mentorship academies where we inform female and male students about equal rights and offer girls a safe platform to seek help if they face discrimination or violence in school or at home. Thirdly, Aiducation International promotes equal opportunities among its staff. All our staff members with the same position are paid the same salary, regardless of age, race, gender or religion.
Aiducation & United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work & Economic Growth
Even though the average annual growth rate of real GDP per capita is increasing worldwide, many countries in the developing world are decelerating in their growth rates. The goal of this SDG is to reach an annual GDP per capita growth rate of 7% in developing countries. To reach this goal, countries have to strive for higher levels of economic productivity, technological upgrading and innovation. In order for this economic growth to be sustainable, quality jobs which stimulate the economy, while improving the living conditions of the employees, and not harming the environment, have to be created. Aiducation International helps to achieve this goal through the financial support of highly innovative Start-Ups in developing and emerging markets. More than 20 Start-Ups in different industry sectors have emerged from this Aiducation International initiative and contribute to the economic development of their nations. Additionally, Aiducation International provides the Start-Up founders with non-financial support in the form of Academies. In these academies the founders learn, besides other topics, about the advantages of good working conditions for their employees.
Aiducation & United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #9:
Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Good infrastructure is a prerequisite for industrialization and economic growth and technological progress. For many lower-income countries in Africa, the constraints regarding infrastructure are responsible for a productivity loss of around 40%. SDG#9 aims to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization by providing globally equal and affordable access to infrastructure. To achieve this goal this SDG seeks to increase the access to financial services for small-scale industrial enterprises in developing countries. Aiducation International provides exactly that. With our Start-Up fund we support innovative entrepreneurs with seed money for their business, give them access to small loans and support them non-financially through multiple skills training workshops.
Aiducation & United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #10: Reduced inequalities
Economic growth is not sufficient to reduce poverty. To reduce poverty and improve the living conditions of millions of people in developing countries, development efforts have to include economic, social and environmental dimensions. SDG#10 wants to achieve an income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a higher rate than national average. Aiducation International contributes to this goal by providing talented youth from poor backgrounds with high school scholarships, reducing the inequality of access to basic education.
Aiducation & United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #11: Sustainable cities and communities
Half of humanity lives in cities today. It is projected that 5 billion people worldwide will live in cities by 2030. SDG #11 aims to ensure adequate housing, transportation and air quality within cities. Many challenges exist in maintaining cities in a way that creates jobs and prosperity without straining land and resources. There needs to be a future in which cities provide all their residents with access to basic services, energy, housing and transportation, while reducing pollution. Aiducation International contributes to this goal in multiple ways. Firstly, we incentivize the use of public transport of our employees by covering their public transportation travel costs and thereby reducing inner city traffic and air pollution. Secondly, during our academies we educate all our scholars about waste management and the importance of recycling. Thirdly, we educate our scholars on the importance of smart cities and develop ecologic and economic models of smart cities together with them during our 5 day academy on that topic.
Aiducation & United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #12: Responsible consumption and production
Sustainable consumption and production is about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Implementation of this goal will help to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty. Aiducation International contributes to this SDG through its organizational practices. Aiducation International tries to avoid air travel whenever possible and minimizes the amount of flights for its operations. Secondly, Aiducation International tries to minimize its CO2 footprint by encouraging it’s employees to work in home office, therefore reducing the pollution caused by the work commute. Furthermore, Aiducation avoids printing of material at all costs and strives to work fully digitally.
Aiducation & United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #13: Climate Action
Climate change is affecting lives, in every country on every continent, today and even more tomorrow. As weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising. The poorest and most vulnerable people on our planet are affected the most by climate change. Aiducation International knows that the areas where our scholars live are strongly affected by climate change and waste and pollution. Aiducation believes that the best way to change behaviour and attitude towards these topics is educating the affected communities. Therefore, we raise the awareness about this topics during special sessions which are part of our “Realizing Your Potential” academies. As well, we clean-up beaches, which are next to our academy venues, together with our students, to raise their awareness on the effects of littering and to educate them on the impact of plastic waste on sea life.
“Building people, building nations”
Source: United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300)
Written by: Alexandra Spälti, edited by Lembit Lellep