Sabina Blog no.2

The sustainable development goals and their impact

Why were the sustainable development goals (SDGs) created?

The SDGs, or Global Goals, were built on the success of the millennium development goals (MDGs) and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. They are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed as the blueprint for addressing global challenges (poverty, low-quality education, inequality, etc.) and are a call for action by all countries to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Sabina Awortwe

Why are the goals more important now than ever?

We only have nine years left to achieve them – and we have a lot to do in that time. Also, they have become increasingly relevant to all nations in this COVID era, so there is a need to hasten their implementation to build a fairer, healthier, and safer environment for all.

“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.’’

BAN KI- MOON

C.E.O of Foundation First (Godwin) in collaboration with partner team Edify

Which goals are Foundation First targeting?

Foundation First is targeting four of them: Goal 1 (No Poverty); Goal 4 (Quality Education); Goal 5 (Gender Equality); and Goal 17 (Partnerships For The Goals).

Foundation First is targeting four of them: Goal 1 (No Poverty); Goal 4 (Quality Education); Goal 5 (Gender Equality); and Goal 17 (Partnerships For The Goals).

GOAL 1: NO POVERTY

The first goal aims to end all forms of poverty and to promote sustainable growth and development among women, men and children. This goal focuses not just on people living in poverty, but also on countries’ social policies and interventions aimed at achieving the goal.

Foundation First is deliberately targeting Goal 1 to reduce poverty in communities, societies and the country as a whole. This is because an educated workforce supports the development of the economy, makes citizens more informed and active in the democratic process, and creates a new generation of teachers, doctors, and leaders.  As Nelson Mandela said, the greatest weapon to reduce poverty is quality education.

Foundation First empowering ECE teachers with best practice curriculum-related teaching and learning experiences

GOAL 4: QUALITY EDUCATION

Education is key to sustainable development and Goal 4 aims to provide children and young people with quality and easily accessible learning opportunities. One of its targets is to achieve universal literacy and numeracy, which are major components in acquiring knowledge and skills in the learning environment.

Foundation First’s training approach is helping to attain this target by, for example, improving young children’s literacy skills through promoting meaningful story sharing sessions, classroom reading centres, talk walls, provision of print-rich environments, and other language development initiatives. This has helped to elevate children out of learning poverty and has so far improved the literacy skills of approximately 19,800 learners across Ghana.

Young learners at a reading centre engage in a story sharing session

Similarly, our creative mathematical activities, such as number talk and our learning centres that are set up for counting, classifying and measuring activities, have helped children to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.

Foundation First is helping to achieve and sustain Goal 4 by providing teachers with support and development that complements the government of Ghana’s efforts. We target teachers because having qualified teachers is key to achieving Goal 4. Qualified teachers create effective teaching and learning environments which lead to positive learning outcomes.

Specifically, Foundation First teacher support and development initiatives transform and empower teachers and provide them with the knowledge and skills that enable them to lay a strong and better foundation to prepare children for the future. Foundation First also engages with communities to create awareness of the importance of early childhood education and to encourage them to provide children with support and access to activities that enable them to master key developmental tasks.

‘’Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.’’

KOFI ANNAN

GOAL 5: GENDER EQUALITY

Goal 5 aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women in the public and private spheres and to undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources and access to ownership of property. Generally in Ghana preschool teachers, who are mostly women, are not highly regarded and are accorded low status and recognition in society, leading to them feeling inferior and having low self-esteem.

Foundation First’s training approach is reducing/eliminating such discrimination as it professionalizes the women-led preschool sector by raising the status and confidence of preschool educators. The growing expertise of these educators influences society positively and leads to the promotion of girl child education. Our classroom resources and activities create a positive, interactive and stimulating environment that is friendly to both girls and boys and motivates girls to explore the learning environment. We also use female role models to encourage the preschool girl child to remain in school and to aspire to become like one of these role models.

Would you like to learn more about our approach to addressing gender inequality in the classroom? This will be outlined in Blog No.3.

’Achieving gender equality requires the engagement of women and men, girls and boys. It is everyone’s responsibility.’’

BAN KI – MOON

GOAL 17: PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS

Goal 17 refers to the need for cross-sector and cross-country collaboration in pursuit of all the goals by the year 2030. Goal 17 aims to strengthen the means of implementation of the SDGs and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. Partnerships for Foundation First are the core/backbone of what we do. We believe that the other goals we are working towards can be achieved and sustained through partnerships. We collaborate and partner with organizations such as Edify and JICA. To find out about our partnership work with these organizations, kindly click here.

Group image of Foundation First and JICA (partnership)

’The best partnerships aren’t dependent on a mere common goal but on a shared path of equality, desire, and no small amount of passion.’’

SARAH MACLEAN

How can these SDGs be achieved?

We need to have an action plan to develop and scale up awareness of the SDGs that will target local government (chiefs, queen mothers, local assembly members), religious leaders, parents, teachers, students, and industry players – and, perhaps most crucially, the media – about the relevance of these SDGs. Only by working together to mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial resources, can we successfully achieve and sustain these goals, particularly in Ghana, by the end of 2030.

Foundation First helping to support and develop ECE facilitators, changing their old views about teaching and learning

Meet a Volunteer

Meet one of our volunteers, Harriet Delali Deku. Dela joined the Foundation First (FF) Ghana team in February 2021 and is planning to stay with us until she decides to leave. 

My views on volunteering:

Volunteering is the act of giving your time and service to a cause without payment. It can be done for a variety of reasons. Some volunteer to pass government classes, some volunteer to give back near the holidays, and some just do it for the sake of doing it, without reason. For me, volunteering is a way of life. It was how I grew up, and it defines me. My goal in life is to inspire others to give back in any way they can, not because they have to, but because they want to.

My background and my volunteer role within FF:

I am a tertiary educator in the field of educational psychology, with over seven years’ experience of volunteering in different aspects both with local and international organizations. Currently, I am responsible for managing FF’s social media accounts and I am part of the newsletter team. I have a keen interest in developmentally appropriate practices in the early childhood education classroom and have expertise in understanding how children learn.

Group photo of, from left, Fidelis, Araba, Sabina, Godwin, Brou, Stephens, Dela & Wada

A taste of how I’ve developed through volunteering with FF:

I was glad to join an FF training-of-master-trainers workshop as it has helped me learn more about FF’s processes and procedures and prepare for my journey towards becoming an FF master trainer. The workshop included the following topics: Ghana National Teachers’ Standards, best practices in early childhood learning, and how to set up a contemporary model classroom. I learned, unlearned, and relearned many things and I notably gained from the workshop. 

My personal recommendation to anyone wondering about volunteering: 

My personal recommendation to you is to join a club or group that does community service. In addition, or alternatively, find a worthwhile charity that you would like to help, then call them and ask them what they need help with. You could get your friends involved and make it even more fun. For me, I love knowing I can do something, and that we as a generation have control over something. Volunteering does so much for the community, but it does so much for you as an individual as well. 

Painting Bibiani Children’s Library