Nearly 100 youth, local and national officials and civic and faith leaders commemorated World Merit Day in Dar es Salaam on July 24. The event, “Raising Awareness on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” was organized by a coalition of youth organizations including Global Peace Foundation Tanzania and focused on examining the relevance and scope of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, while presenting opportunities for youth to engage in achieving the goals. The Sustainable Development Goals were issued in 2015 as part of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Global Peace Foundation Tanzania representative Juma Badru presented a number of Global Peace Foundation’s flagship initiatives that are transforming education, building youth leadership capacity, strengthening community-based development, and fostering a culture of service and volunteerism. He said these projects closely supported SDG No.16, to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
Among the projects he cited were Leadership and Entrepreneurship Hubs in Kenya; Disaster response efforts in Nepal in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2015; All-Lights Village solar power and community building initiative in several countries; and Global Peace Volunteers, providing hands-on leadership training for youth in Southeast Asia.
World Merit Day organizer Rose Mbaga specifically addressed Goal 5, urging youth to join in ending all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls. She challenged youth to work for policy protections and local efforts to protect women and uphold their value and importance in society.
Participants outlined national and local levels efforts for youth at the close of the program and issued the following recommendations:
- Improve governance and legislative machinery for sustainable development;
- Model new and better processes for engaging all stakeholders in sustainability transition, governed by the Leave No One Behind principle;
- Create or renew national and local sustainable development strategies or frameworks in the light of the SDGs;
- Review and update policies and programs to better reflect SDG priorities, including green economy principles; and
- Deliver formal and informal education and training for sustainable development.
World Merit is global platform in partnership with the United Nations that empowers young leaders to positively contribute their innovation and energy to tackle pressing world issues.