Hand in Hand with the Sustainable Development Goals
Elimination of poverty in all forms lies at the heart of the sustainable development goals. In 2015, the United Nations outlined 17 SDGs as a part of Agenda 2030. Each goal has a set of integrated and indivisible indicators that come together to create a poverty free, peaceful, prosperous planet. That said, achieving the goals requires participation and contribution from all stakeholders, including Governments, policy makers, private sector, non-profits, civil society and conscientiousness of each and every individual!
With a clear vision to alleviate poverty through job creation and integrated community development, Hand in Hand India’s strategic plan and pillar structure aligns directly with 11 SDGs. While, alleviation of poverty remains the umbrella for both the SDGs and Hand in Hand India’s mission, specific goals such as Goal 5 pertaining to Gender Equality and Goal 6, Clean Water & Sanitation have evolved as embedded parts of Hand in Hand India’s activities. This is precisely what the aim of having such an elaborate agenda is – to infuse the goals into organization activities such that holistic growth is possible.
Access to clean water, sanitation, nutritious food, good health and well being are various facets that the health initiative focuses on through assistance with toilet construction, regular medical camps and reviving anganwadis. The environment pillar dabbles on clean energy, clean water, sustainable communities and tackles the general bracket of ‘Climate Action’ through interventions such as solid waste management, bio gas generation and watershed construction. Quality education is provided to children who were involved in harsh child labour through residential special training centres and to older children through transit schools. These interventions supplemented with vocational training provided by the skill development initiative lead to decent work for youth and women in societies ultimately powering economic growth. Missing in the MDGs, gender equality finds a separate place for itself in the SDGs and also identifies itself with other goals, hence making the Agenda 2030 gender responsive. Gender equality, while standalone and achieved through economic empowerment of women through skill training, financial literacy and microfinance is integrated with all activities of the organization, hence, viewing it as standalone is inappropriate.
The complexity of the goals and interrelated indicators makes measuring of outcomes a challenge. Nevertheless, having a framework of goals to work with is definitely a first step towards a global change that will stand strong for decades to come!