Children leading the way in sustainable development

Children in Kenya and Sri Lanka have been learning about sustainable development through a fun and integrated approach. Through Arigatou International’s SDGs Academy for Children, more than 300 children participated in several learning sessions hosted by the SDGs Academy Pioneer Hub in Limuru, Kenya, and SDGs Academy Model Classroom in Colombo, Sri Lanka, within the past year.

These learning sessions covered the overview of “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, highlighting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a child-friendly manner.

The sessions also encompassed discussion on ethics and positive values leading to sustainable development, guided by the Learning To Live Together model developed by Arigatou International in collaboration with UNSECO and other key actors.

The children, aged 6 to 17 years, further gained a basic understanding of various topics including introductory drone technology and robotics, designing sustainable cities, and climate-smart consumption of food, energy and water. This was accomplished through partnership with organisations such as the Kenya Flying Labs, Ecobana Limited, Excella Biotechnology Limited in Kenya. Partnering organisations in Sri Lanka have been; UNICEF Sri Lanka, The Sustainable Development Councils in Sri Lanka, UNDP, Save the Children Sri Lanka, The Asia Foundation, World Vision, the Department of Sociology, University of Peradeniya.

As a result of this meaningful children’s participation, these young SDGs champions were able to address stakeholders regarding the SDGs.  This was most notably during the ‘Ending Poverty through achieving inclusive education for all’ side-event led by the ATD Fourth World Movement in collaboration with Arigatou International and other partners, at the United Nations High Level Political Forum on the SDGs (HLPF), 17th July 2022 as well as the global commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 17th October 2022, event also organized by the ATD Fourth World Movement.

I will make my contribution towards sustainable development by mobilizing, educating empowering and raising awareness on the SDGs among children and youth; through various community programmes and campaigns” Sanara, Child from Sri Lanka.

Children particularly served a key role in the ECP@10 Campaign, commemorating 10 years of Arigatou International — End Child Poverty. In addition to participating during the launch of the ECP@10 Campaign on 16th June 2022, the young SDGs champions lead the way in planting hundrends of trees across the world countries, as part of the Grow Trees With Children initiative of the ECP@10 Campaign.  Through this specific action, children gave voice to the global concerns on climate change and food security.

Arigatou International’s SDGs Academy for Children (SDGs Academy) is a space and programme for children’s participation, learning and action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Agenda 2030 in general.

The SDGs Academy covers learning and action on the 5 P’s of the SDGs – People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships. Through this approach, it provides opportunity to bring children’s participation to the fore of sustainable development, while empowering children and their communities towards realization of the SDGs.

Likewise, its online and physical space is organized into 5 hubs being the Knowledge Hub; Capacity Hub; Innovations and Solutions Hub; Dialogue Hub; and the Faith and Fun Hub. On the other hand, the programme comprises of a module-based learning course, storytelling campaign, a multilevel game, as well as advocacy and intergenerational dialogues. It is through these spaces and programme that children learn, reflect and develop with ideas and solutions geared towards the achievement of the SDGs.

Overall, the SDGs Academy for Children presents an innovative opportunity for children to work together with the community around them, towards sustainable development and overcoming child poverty.

In the year ahead, Arigatou International seeks partnerships and the opportunity to expand the reach and positive impact of the SDGs Academy for Children, at grassroots and global levels. We believe that the more children can meaningfully engage in learning and action on sustainable development, the better our collective future will  be.

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