The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals designed to create a better and more sustainable future for people and the planet by the year 2030. Together, the goals represent an urgent call to action by all countries to end poverty, improve health and education, promote economic growth, and tackle climate change.
In our previous posts, we discussed how we are working to advance six of the SDGs at our partner projects. In the final part of our UN Goals series, we’ll take a look at three more SDGs, and how the work that we do aligns with them.
Goal 5 – Gender Equality
At African Adventures, we firmly believe in equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender. One of the ways we aim to advance SDG 5 is by increasing access to sport for the female students at our partner projects in Zanzibar.
In general, physical education is not included in the school day and, where sports sessions do take place, girls and boys are often separated. This in turn leads to gender-stereotyping in sport, with boys playing football and girls playing with skipping ropes. Many female teachers are also uncomfortable delivering physical education lessons, as they may not have played sports themselves or may not think some sports are appropriate for girls.
Volunteers who travel to Zanzibar are encouraged to deliver inclusive sports sessions at our partner projects to promote equal opportunities and gender equality, and the majority of girls jump at the chance to take part.
Our volunteers have also helped to advance SDG 5 at our partner projects through the provision of essential sanitary products and basic items such as underwear.
Tiverton High School, for example, recently donated 800 bras to female students at our partner projects in Kenya, which has allowed them to participate in sports for the first time. The profound impact of something so simple was summed up by one female student, who commented, “Now, I can run.”
Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
We are working to advance SDG 8 by promoting employment opportunities and sustainable economic growth at our partner projects and in the communities where we work.
During peak periods, we employ 47 staff across Ghana, Kenya and Zanzibar, who are all local to the areas where we work. We have committed to only using local staff to run our programmes for the simple reason that it is not necessary to have UK staff based overseas – our in-country teams know their communities far better than we ever could, and are therefore the best people to look after our volunteers during our trips.
We also work to promote sustainable economic growth at our partner projects through the establishment of micro-finance initiatives that generate an additional income. This income can then be used to cover the costs involved in running a community project, such as rent, utility bills, and staff salaries.
At Chaddy Mission School in Kenya, for example, we have refurbished the school’s hall which can now be hired by local businesses or for private events. The income generated from this is used to fund the school’s feeding programme, which sees each of the school’s 286 children provided with two nutritious meals a day.
Goal 13 – Climate Action
We recognise the responsibility we have in protecting the environment, and, as a company, we have taken steps to ensure we are doing all we can to mitigate the environmental impact of our work.
We educate our volunteers about the collective responsibility that we all have to protect the environment. The ‘Our Purpose’ section of our website contains information on the SDGs, climate change, carbon offsetting, and single-use plastics, while our online portal – My African Adventure – provides information on how to travel and volunteer responsibly. Before our volunteers travel, we provide information on how they can offset the carbon emissions from their flights; by 2021, we aim to offset 100% of carbon emissions from our volunteers’ flights as a company, through schemes similar to our Gyapa stoves trial in Ghana. Finally, during our trips, we show our volunteers the impact of single-use plastics and climate change through visits to the Hilton Dumpsite in Kenya, the beaches in Ghana, and on our Ocean Safari in Zanzibar.
A staff committee has recently been set up in our UK office to determine how we can best offset the environmental impacts of our work now and in the future, and our plans to do so have been written into our three-year Company Development Plan.
If you would like some more information on how to travel responsibly, check out our recent blog for some top tips.