Children and Sustainable Development Goals Education

By Sushila Shrestha
Oct 14, 2022

In my role as a Program Associate for Recycler Saathi, I often get the opportunity to engage with students in one of our programs ‘Waste Smart School’. Waste Smart School is a one-of-a-kind model that provides students and young children with an environment-friendly and environment-conscious outlook. Students receive exposure and all-around knowledge about the waste management scenario for environmental protection. During the waste smart school programs, I noticed that a learning model like such really helps students to pique their interest in these issues. This got me thinking that we should educate our children more about Sustainable Development Goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were set forth by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 integrated Goals are designed as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. And in this universal call to action, no stakeholders should be left behind, not even children.

Incorporating SDG goals in early childhood education can help children to develop insights, connect the dots and understand how everything everywhere is interconnected. The SDG issues are very much part of our social fabric and a better understanding of these issues helps a child to be more aware and be involved in active problem solving as SDGs are fully actionable goals. Early SDG education can help young minds to foster values that support Sustainable Development Goals which can include wise use of resources, cultural diversity, gender equality, sustainable consumption and many more. Early awareness will help these children grow up to be conscientious and bring about measurable, favorable and gradual changes to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

In today’s globally connected world, there are a lot of ways to engage the children which can include early discussion, observation, curriculum incorporation and awareness. Learning models that gravitate these young minds to think of innovative approaches and plan management ideas should be encouraged. It will guide the children to act towards sustainable development of their community through their own personal and collective efforts. Some really interesting resources and programs I have come across, specifically designed for children and SDG education are as follows:

  • The World’s Largest Lesson

The World’s Largest Lesson reaches millions of children, primarily through schools. Co-founded by UNICEF and Project Everyone, the initiative offers a set of free and translated lessons, animations and activities for every classroom.

  • Comics Uniting Nations

Comics Uniting Nations works with world-renowned comic book artists and storytellers to bring the SDGs to life. Co-founded by UNICEF, PCI Media Impact, and Reading with Pictures, the library of comics has reached 20 books and counting.

  • SDG Activate Talk Series

Youth Activate Talks bring young change-makers to the stage to showcase for decision makers the ways they are supporting the goals, and to inspire others to take action. Through moderated discussions using activism, the arts, invention and innovation, young speakers welcome their peers and leaders to join them in support of the SDGs.

  • Trash Invasion

A fun game for Recycling Trash Invasion is a game designed for children to develop their waste management and recycling skills. A child can destroy trash items, capture monsters, defeat final bosses, collect coins, get gifts, and bonuses to unlock unique levels. The game has over 1K+ downloads and a 4.5-star rating in Playstore. It has made learning about recycling more fun.

It is important for children to know that their personal and collective efforts can help the world to confront the climate challenges and build a more sustainable world for all of us. It is important to let them know that they are the heroic leaders for the change. Nepal also needs to put forward significant initiatives that incorporate early SDG education in every child’s life.

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