In September 2015, world leaders at the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Designed as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future, these goals address many of the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. To date 193 countries have adopted these goals as a way to help guide their societies towards a brighter future.
So you may be asking yourself, what exactly does this have to do with Discover Corps? The answer is a lot in fact! While we patiently wait for borders to open and travel to safely resume, we have been busy helping our sister organization, Global Leadership Adventures, facilitate a 6-week long Global Impact Virtual Internship program. Designed primarily for high school age students, the internship focuses on developing leadership skills, fostering self-awareness and directly impacting the SDGs through mini-consulting roles with a set of partner non-profit organizations in South Africa.
It was a whirlwind, but the students were able to raise over $15,000 through their work which translates to thousands of PPE supplies and an abundance of food for vulnerable communities that we partner with in South Africa. Beyond that, over a hundred students graduated the six week long program with a set of leadership skills and competencies as global citizens that the world needs now more than ever. It is a testament to the fact that, even such difficult unpredictable times, we can pivot and help in the most unexpected ways.
This also helped renew our excitement for getting back into the world (hopefully sooner than later!) and continuing to do what we do best – helping to foster a positive impact on communities throughout the world via travel. We also realized that the Sustainable Development Goals are a great lens to look at our impact across the countries where we travel. For example, in Kenya we are directly contributing to Goal 15 (Protecting life on land by protecting wildlife and promoting biodiversity) through our wildlife monitoring activities in the savanna. In Oaxaca, we are helping to promote Goal 5 (Promoting gender equality) through our support of women’s groups in the community of Teotitlan de Valle. And finally, in Tanzania, we are promoting Goal 4 (Providing quality education) through our direct assistance in classrooms for some of the most vulnerable children in the community.
As we’ve said before, we are beyond optimistic that travel will return in a more equitable and sustainable form that celebrates our shared humanity and abundance of cultural diversity. We cannot wait to get back in the communities that we, in some cases, have decades-long relationships with. While we are still hunkered down during the pandemic, we will continue to do what we can to support these partners, but when the time comes to travel again, the SDGs will continue to serve as our guiding light in each and every place that we travel.
To learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals, click here.