Shape Sustainability is an initiative of the Global Shapers Community; a community consisting of a network of Hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievement and their drive to make a contribution to their communities. The Global Shapers Community introduced the Shape Sustainability with the vision of taking Sustainable Development to communities around the world and integrate them in their everyday lives. This global campaign is purported at ensuring and encouraging sustainability mainstreaming in various communities across the world.
This campaign came into being as a result of consultations made during a meeting between some global shapers and the UN Special Advisor on post 2015 MDGs, Amina J. Mohamed. The meeting was a one day workshop on the theme; ‘Innovating and Mainstreaming Sustainability’. This all-important meeting was held at the premises of the UN headquarters between the UN leadership team and eighteen invited Global Shapers.
Following the workshop, consultations were organized across various communities to ensure that the campaign takes off as expected. In furtherance of this, the community immediately organized a maiden edition of the global campaign at Davos. The session was dubbed; ‘Bringing Sustainability to the masses’. This campaign session was participated by five Hubs that did local activities to bring local stakeholders into the discussion. And that sure is a step further ahead on this global agenda of mainstreaming sustainability through local action.
The Millennium Development Goals, MDGs which was established in 2000 is expected to be achieved by the end of 2015. Since the target date for achieving the MDGs is almost at hand, it became necessary that new international development goals be set and deliberated upon. It is in this light that a discussion on post 2015 framework for international development was planned well in advance and the outcome was the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. The first formal debate for designing the SDGs was held at Rio de Janeiro during the 2012 United Nations Conference. At this conference, one hundred and ninety-two (192) UN member states deliberated and agreed on designing the SDGs. As of March, 2015, seventeen (17) goals have been proposed and they are to fall within the criteria; ” action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, aspirational, limited in number, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities”
In support of the advancement of the SDGs, the Global Shapers Community has initiated the Sustainability Sunday. This is a series of local conversations and activities organized by Hubs along with local stakeholders to promote sustainable development and take sustainability to the masses. To achieve this prime objective, Hubs are required to consider the key question; ‘How might we take Sustainability to the masses?’ While working to answer the key question, Hubs are also expected to address concerns such as; how to help the common citizen define sustainability, how to deal with immense barriers, how to integrate sustainability into our day-to-day activities and how citizens can achieve this objective through three possible actionable steps.
It is expected that this prime objective is achieved through workshops, panel discussions, idea labs, field activity or educating kids using social media or any traditional media. The time slated for the Sustainability Sunday activity is slated for a minimum of 90 minutes and a maximum of 24 hours. At the end of the Sustainability Sunday, it is expected that participants will be able to define sustainability in the context of their city needs, take three actionable steps to ensure sustainability in their cities, write and publish blog pieces on sustainability and tweet or share sustainability photos to extend the shape sustainability campaign.
As a local Hub, the Kumasi Hub of The Global Shapers Community has since it’s inception in 2014 been engaged in a series of activities that seek to promote development and transformation in the lives of the people of Kumasi. We have had a series of local activities such as the Pads for Dignity project, Trash to Treasure project, Global Dignity Day and we are currently partnering with Peace Corps Ghana to roll out the Let Girls Learn Hackhathon. The Let Girls Learn project is an initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama to empower girls through education. In Ghana, it is estimated that 54.1% of Ghanaian girls are not enrolled in senior high school and only 28% of girls complete senior high school.
In our bid to salvage this situation, we at Kumasi Hub of the Global Shapers Community and our partners is by way of the Let Girls Learn Hackathon providing a platform for thought leaders to come together and brainstorm for ideas that can help in overcoming the barriers to girls’ education. We and our partner, Peace Corps Ghana is of the conviction that the Hackathon will equip the selected girls with insight and information to empower other girls in their schools and communities for a better Ghana. Selected students will partner with a team of developers from the Peace Corps ICT committee to brainstorm for ideas likely to breakdown the barriers. They will also receive leadership and technical training as well as career advice from female leaders in STEM fields. Given that the Hackathon is a success, then we are hopeful that more girls will be enrolled in school and that will go a long way to curb the menace of teenage pregnancy, maternal mortality, infant mortality and enhance child nutrition just to mention but few. The Hackathon comes off on the 31st of July to the 2nd of August and we call on everyone to support us in anyway possible.
For the past few weeks we have been on most social media platforms campaigning about the #ShapeSustainability and would be crowning the campaign with a tweet chat on the theme; ‘The youth as a stakeholder in achieving Sustainable Development’. The tweet chat will be led by Dr Ram Kumar Shrestha, an award winning nutritionist. Dr Shrestha is an authority in health and nutrition and has been recognized and awarded for his interventions in diverse ways. He played a key role by providing Nepalese children with vitamin A supplements when infant mortality rates and blindness was skyrocketing in Nepal, India. He has been recognized as 1 of 12 people selected as the 2006 Global Health Heroes by Time Magazine. He is also a recipient of the Friedman School ‘Frontline Award’ in cutting-edge nutrition and holds an honorary doctorate of science from Tufts.
Dr. Shrestha is currently in Ghana leading the SPRING Ghana’s technical team and will be joining us as a distinguished guest and lead resource person in the ShapeSustainability tweet chat. The chat comes off on the 26th of July, 2015 between the hours of 5 and 6pm. Interested participants can follow us @kumasihub and use #ShapeSustainability.
We are by this article calling on the general public to take part in this worthy cause of the Global Shapers community and support us by sharing our post with family and friends to create awareness and extend the campaign for sustainable development. We believe by so doing we can create a better world for us all.
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