As this invisible, inconceivable threat spreads swiftly and mercilessly across the globe, it has put us all into a completely different state of mind. An unnerved, uncertain, one.
Our shared world is finding itself in a position of never experienced before isolation. It is shutting off its borders. It is grounding our ability to travel and be with loved ones. It is closing down sports and entertainment activity and interaction. It is turning social places into areas of risk. It is turning grocery stores into empty scenes of earlier hysterical buying activity. And it is turning homes into home-offices, home-schools and mini-gyms.
COVID-19 is turning our world upside down and inside out. It is turning our shared world into a brave new world where we must live with something we are not able to see and do not yet understand, for a period of time we are not yet not quite sure about, severely restricting our funds and fun, severely threatening our way of life and lifestyle, alone…even if we are still in contact with others.
Critically, we are finding ourselves unable to turn to loved ones for a hug, for an exhale, for a safe space to escape fears, to find a sign of comfort that all will be ok.
As a result, the health crisis that is COVID-19 is not just a health crisis physically. For millions, worldwide, it is a mental health crisis.
As expressed by the World Health Organisation (WHO):
“Most people affected by emergencies will experience distress (e.g. feelings of anxiety and sadness, hopelessness, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, irritability or anger and/or aches and pains). This is normal and will for most people improve over time. However, the prevalence of common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety is expected to more than double in a humanitarian crisis.”
And this is, by definition, a humanitarian crisis.
THIS IS A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
This is the first time our shared world has actually had to face an invisible threat to our health, our safety, our wellbeing individually and collectively. Our greatest risk can easily be, in our mind’s eye, everywhere.
This is not like terrorism we have sadly become familiar with. This is not like a natural disaster. This is not like an economic crisis where we can see tangible proof of what is happening, and we are able to understand how we can establish some sense of control before we can move on. The event happens, the fall-out is clear, the light is visible even if the tunnel looks long and dark.
COVID-19, the invisible curse that is taking over the world, is forcing millions upon millions to re-evaluate how we are to survive when under threat, not just economically (which is frightening enough), but as human beings, as a global community. The insecurity provoked by COVID-19 has become, in some places, primal. There is no need to go into the stats and analysis around shopping aisle scuffles for products such as rolls of toilet paper, bottles of sanitiser, pasta, bottles of wine, cleaning products – the shopping list is growing longer, supplies are growing thinner – especially, sadly, supplies needed by medical personnel on the frontline, ever day.
At times, seeing the panic and even prejudice rising, a lack of control and a loss of hope leads to a feeling of emotional paralysis. Fear for health – physical, financial and now mental, poses a triple threat to our global community’s ability to move forward when the time comes when we can open our doors, open our offices, and open our arms once more.
We must, therefore, recognise that COVID-19 has unleashed a health crisis that is going to last much longer than the physical crisis. Return to normal life is not just about getting the go-ahead from governments to unlock the lock-downs, getting the economy moving again.
Now, this time, is one of high risk of a mental crisis. We need to embrace it. We need to accept it. And we need to act gently with others, and with ourselves, to manage it.
Our world is going through a profound recalibration. Starting from Asia and now moving to the Americas, we are all seeing vividly that we are all one vulnerable community. No one is immune from the risks that exist from COVID-19. This virus is completely and utterly democratic. It has no prejudice re. geography, economy, culture, colour, religion, and as we are finding in some cases, age. It doesn’t care. It moves freely. It moves invisibly. It moves silently, and it moves swiftly. Our freedoms have been taken: our freedom to move around, our freedom to look someone in the eye, our freedom to shake hands, to hug, to trust. This is a challenge of humanity like no other.
Through social distancing, through home working and schooling, through isolation, through lock-downs, we are realising how dearly we need each other. We need the talk. We need the touch. We need the time together to share, to learn, to laugh, to love, to live a healthy life.
Even once it is deemed safe to open up borders, open stores, open restaurants, open a bottle of wine, it’s going to take time before people feel safe, secure and steady walking into those restaurants, walking into those shops, walking into those bars.
The rate of recovery of momentum of hope, of faith and of confidence is going to be our greatest test – it will define how long it will take for our economy to get back on its feet, and for our society to get back into the light.
This is Mother Nature teaching us a hard lesson, rebooting civilisation to be more civilised. Why did she feel the need to reboot? There are hundreds of answers to that question, but now is not the time.
Now is the time to relook the value we have for our health – our physical health, our financial health, and our mental health.
TRAVEL & TOURISM’S VALUE, AND VALUES, AS A VEHICLE FOR GLOBAL RECOVERY
Interestingly, this is a crisis that has unlocked the value of Travel and Tourism.
closing of borders,
grounding of airlines and cruise ships,
closure of hotels & resorts, museums, trade shows
dropping the curtain on entertainment,
cancellation of events, both business and leisure,
transfer of meetings to e-meetings, and
limiting of groups to double-digits in any social space,
the value of Travel & Tourism has been exposed not just at an economic level through the critical value chains that the sector activated across products and services, but also, as importantly, the growing need for Travel & Tourism as a basis for personal health and wellbeing.
The value of the sector is now understood to go far past its impact as an employer (1 in 10 jobs worldwide), as a GDP driver (9% global GDP), as a source of investment attraction, as a SME stimulator, as a basis for national identity and competitiveness. The values of Travel & Tourism are also now shining through: understanding, respect, compassion, protection of culture, community and environment.
Travel & Tourism will be central to global community having the opportunity to exhale again, to celebrate again, to laugh again, and to heal – to cry, to feel that we have our freedoms back.
As stated by the HE Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of the UNWTO,:
“The tourism value chain touches upon every part of society. This makes tourism uniquely placed to promote solidarity, collaboration and concrete action across borders in these challenging times and also ideally positioned to once again drive future recovery.”
Until then, and for the moment, we must keep calm, keep simple, keep safe:
FACTS FIRST: Check sources carefully. Untruths are unhelpful.
MOTHER NATURE’S LESSONS WILL ULTIMATELY BE UNDERSTOOD
Recognising that when all of our freedoms are taken away, whether we are citizens, migrants, wherever we are in the world, we are all feeling vulnerable. How do we move that spirit forward? How do we take it forward to really find solutions that allow us to genuinely become a sustainable global community.
We are learning the hard way, but we learning the lessons Mother Nature wanted to reveal.
Good can and must come from this, eventually.
Medical infrastructure will be stronger,
Community structures will be stronger,
Appreciation for some of the previously under-appreciated roles – nurses, educators, retail & delivery labourers – will be stronger,
Family bonds will be stronger,
Personal care will be stronger,
Finally, the definition of SUSTAINABILITY is recognised as relating to Economic, Cultural, Social and Spiritual sustainability….not just Environmental,
Value for Aviation will be restored, flight shaming decreasing as investment in emission-reducing, sustainable aviation innovation increases,
And hopefully, hopefully,
Our value and protection of our shared world will be stronger.
For the moment, signs of hope – as tiny as they may be – are critical to keep spirits strong. They may be warmer temperatures bringing sunshine and new Spring flowers visible from our windows. They may be new routines of video-chats with loved ones, making connecting more frequent than ever before. They may be simply a text message to say “I’m thinking of you. Stay safe.”
Stay home, stay safe, stay calm.
And as they say here in the UK: KEEP CALM, AND CARRY ON.
We have a whole new world to look forward to, together. x
SDG #4 is all about quality education. At AM&A it is a goal that touches us in different ways, and is deeply important to each of us.
Anita Mendiratta, the head of AM&A, has a deep affection for children, particularly those who are missing out on an education simply because of circumstances – poverty and/or crisis robbing them of food to eat, a safe place to call home, or a permanent community. On the occasion of her 50th Birthday a couple of years back her partner foundedThe Anita Mendiratta Foundation, which has supporting children after crisis as a key objective.
Grace is a teacher by training, having spent the decade before joining AM&A shaping young minds through physical education. She continues to advocate for education through sport as a way to bridge differences and reach the unreachable.
As for myself, I didn’t know anyone when I was growing up who had a higher education, at least within my immediate circle. From the moment I was born, whispers of a college education filled my ears. My parents knew it would mean a different life for me than they had, and I was encouraged constantly growing up that I could get a college degree and reach all my dreams if I worked hard enough.
When I graduated from University, it wasn’t just a momentous day in my life, it was an accomplishment for everyone who encouraged me, supported me, and believed in me leading up to that day. A diploma didn’t give me instant success and make me extremely wealthy, sorry mom, but it did provide a stepping stone to experiencing the world, broadening my horizons, and most importantly – providing access to opportunities that I otherwise would’ve never had.
Now, as a mother, my focus is on the importance of education in the early years. I see on a daily basis how important that foundation is for a child to thrive. While my oldest has never had any issues academically, my son requires adjustment and an education system that caters to all abilities and learning styles. Thankfully that privilege, in the UK, is a right guaranteed by law.
Education is the cornerstone of society. It breaks cyclical poverty, improves economies, strengthens communities, and reduces inequality. Yet, there are currently 265 million children not in school. 22% of those are primary aged.
I grew up in a country where a quality education was in my reach. My kids are growing up in a country where they’ll never even need to think about it. It is so easy to take this for granted.
But with over 600 million children worldwide who lack basic proficiency in reading and math – we are all getting a failing grade.
WHY DOES SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 4: QUALITY EDUCATION MATTER?
For millions of children around the world, quality education is out of reach. A lack of trained teachers, poor living conditions at home and at school, and huge inequalities in rural communities, and increasingly human displacement, all contribute to the problem.
Goal 4, Quality Education, aims to ensure ‘inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all’.
While primary and secondary school children are obviously a focus, Goal 4 also aims to make vocational, technical, and higher education accessible for all women and men. This includes increasing the number of scholarships available to low-income prospective students, training more teachers, and improving infrastructure so that everyone has a safe place to learn.
For children and adults alike, females and the disabled are at a greater risk of not having access to a quality education. Ensuring gender equality, and accessibility, is paramount for achieving goal 4.
When everyone has access to a quality education, their community benefits, their country benefits, the world benefits.
Education is a proven tool for sustainable development.
With an improved quality of life, a decrease in families living in poverty, and securing a successful future for generations to come, education is the key to positive change. It is undoubtedly one of the most powerful ways we can change the world for the better – for everyone.
How can Goal 4: Quality Education be reached?
Significant progress has been made since 2000. The enrolment rate in developing nations is now at 91 percent, the number of children out of school has dropped by half, and more girls than ever in history are in school. However, poverty and armed conflict continue to be an enormous barrier – and children in the poorest households are four times more likely to be out of school.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, a region where poverty affects a large percentage of the population, primary school enrolment has increased from 52% in 1990 to 78% in 2012. While we should celebrate the progress, 22% of children in the region are still being left behind.
If we take a look at the targets set for SDG4, there are clear ways that we can achieve inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
Free primary and secondary education.
Equal access to pre-primary education.
Equal access to vocational, technical, and higher education.
Increase the number of people with relevant skills for financial success.
Eliminate all discrimination in education.
Universal literacy and numeracy.
Build and upgrade inclusive and safe schools.
Increase the supply of qualified teachers in developing countries.
If everyone has access to quality education, we all benefit. SDG4 is also directly tied with many of the other Sustainable Development Goals such as Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being, and Goal 5: Gender Equality. By achieving SDG4, we would be well on our way to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals as a whole.
5 Ways we can Contribute to SDG 4 as Individuals
While some of the goals can feel too big to tackle all on our own, education is something that each of us can quite easily make a difference with – no matter where we live. Whether through advocacy, policy, or direct involvement, there are so many ways that you can contribute to SDG4 in your local community.
Here are five ideas for individuals who want to contribute to Quality Education in their own community.
1. BECOME A TUTOR
Whether you live in New York City or Mumbai, there are children who don’t have the support they need to succeed. Due to unstable home environments, living in an underfunded area, or simply not having access to additional support outside of the classroom, tutoring can help bridge the gap for those who need some extra help. Research has shown that tutoring, whether solely academic or in a more mentoring capacity, can make a huge impact on confidence, aspirations, and academic engagement.
In the UK, Action Tutoring is a charity that connects tutors with disadvantaged pupils to further their education, employment or training. If you are located elsewhere, there are similar programs waiting for people who are willing to dedicate some of their time to make a big difference in the lives of students.
Skillsharing is the latest growing movement in the peer-to-peer marketplace. There are now thousands of community groups, dedicated websites, and apps that connect learners and enable them to ‘trade’ skills for free.
For example: If you are a fluent French speaker, but have always wanted to learn how to knit, a skillsharing platform would connect you with a knitter who wants to learn French. This is a terrific way not only to further your own education, but help somebody else in your community with theirs as well.
The peer-to-peer lessons could make a bigger difference than you think. Teaching someone how to change the oil in their car or providing basic English grammar lessons can free up limited funds or even help somebody get a job. What skills do you have that could help someone else succeed?
3. VOLUNTEER (OR SPONSOR A CHILD) IN AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS
As children get to the later years of primary school, and into secondary school, safe-guarding and child protection becomes a bigger issue. When parents are working, and young people are left on their own after school, the impact of a lack of structure and exposure to negative influences can be detrimental to their future.
After-school programs provide a secure, safe place for young people to learn new skills, meet new friends, improve confidence, and establish trusted relationships with adults. Importantly, they also help keep kids focused on school and stay out of trouble.
A research study in the US found that after-school programs improved academic performance, behaviour in the classroom, reduced drug use and criminal behaviour, and saved parents 8 days of work a year that they otherwise would’ve missed.
For disadvantaged youth in particular, after-school programs can be financially out-of-reach. This provides an opportunity for individuals to consider sponsoring spaces for students in your local area. Many neighborhoods have youth clubs that would be happy to connect with you – either in a volunteering or donor capacity.
4. CAMPAIGN FOR NUTRITIONAL PROGRAMS
One thing we don’t often think about when it comes to a quality education is quality nutrition. But if you go back and read SDG2: Zero Hunger, we learned that kids who go to school hungry aren’t able to effectively learn or retain information in the classroom.
A shocking 1.8 million kids in the UK alone are at risk of hunger. While the numbers in developing countries are higher, it is important to realise that children in your own community could also use your help.
There are organisations already working to make sure that every child has the fuel they need to succeed. Magic Breakfast is a fantastic UK charity that currently feeds over 48,000 children breakfast before school. Due to the increased hunger during school holidays, the charity has also started a ‘holiday hunger’ scheme called Magic Breakfast 365 for some of London’s most disadvantaged youth.
You can get involved in these kinds of initiatives in a variety of ways. Encourage your workplace to invest through corporate sponsorship, write to your local representatives about the importance of nutrition for your country’s schoolchildren, or fundraise for a charity for your birthday or special event.
No child should go to school hungry. By ensuring that quality nutrition is available for all – quality education will have a much higher chance of success.
5. TACKLE LITERACY
Children in the UK from the poorest backgrounds typically start school 19 months behind their peers – this amounts to 175,000 five-year olds in the UK every year. Those children are five times more likely to fail their exams at age 11, four times more likely to struggle with reading as adults, and twice as likely to be unemployed by 34.
It seems unacceptable that we can identify the students who begin school behind their peers, yet seem unable to close the gap before they become adults. Literacy is the solution, but if schools don’t have the resources to support these students, and parents don’t have the time or skills, we need to tackle literacy another way.
Many students who have been identified in their early years have gone on to higher education and successful careers. We must never forget: Literacy can be a magic wand and make all the difference in providing children with a quality education.
SDG4, Quality Education, is one to which we all can easily contribute to. Whether through a local organisation or school, or simply spending some extra time with children you already know, small acts can easily make a big difference in their lives and future.
As one of our global community’s great leaders once said, with conviction and compassion:
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
I’d like to invite you to take this journey with me, and AM&A, as I explore the 17 sustainable development goals. Each month we’ll focus on one goal and explore actionable ways that we as individuals can change the world. You can find out more about the SDGs here.
Living the sdgs Let’s change the world together!
Sign up for the Living the SDGs newsletter, and be alerted when a new goal is featured. Plus, we’ll share additional resources every month that we can use to change the world one goal at a time.
Simple – those affected are not only those fearing for their physical health. It includes those fearing for the financial, social and emotional health. It is those affected by the impact of the contagion of fear, fear that is spreading even more rapidly than the virus itself as:
cities lockdown, shutting down manufacturing lines,
supply chains are stopping scheduling,
airlines cancel routes,
hotels close their doors,
major global events close their registration,
iconic attractions block off museum and theatre entry lines,
celebrated theme parks turn off their rides,
conference centres and meeting halls are hollowing out,
casinos switch off their lights,
local festivals, churches, sporting venues and entertainment complexes turn away their communities,
schools call off their classes,
and ultimately, not yet fully understanding what is going on, and not sure what else to do, fear that is seeing the global community starts to close its heart.
The contagion of fear is reaching three main areas, its damage reaching literally millions, without geographic limits.
First, as we know, there is the raw, relentless fear of the virus. We see the coverage of the COVID19 maps stretching daily. Importantly, we know from where the facts must come – critical, qualified entities making sure updates are managed carefully, holistically, in the most globally coordinated effort as possible to monitor, measure and message around the must-knows. At the heart of this quest of guarding global health is the World Health Organisation (WHO – https://www.who.int/)
Sadly, however, as also know of the fiction – messaging that is either passing on false information, or seeking to create fear in its own right. It is a reflection of how social media has become antisocial media. The damage being done has resulted in the WHO declaring an ‘infodemic’, the Secretary General of the UN making an early appeal to the global community to stop the false information, to stop the flames of fear.
As stated by the UN Agency:
“The 2019-nCoV outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’ – an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.
Due to the high demand for timely and trustworthy information about 2019-nCoV, WHO technical risk communication and social media teams have been working closely to track and respond to myths and rumours. Through its headquarters in Geneva, its six regional offices and its partners, the Organization is working 24 hours a day to identify the most prevalent rumours that can potentially harm the public’s health, such as false prevention measures or cures.”
The fact that global bodies seeking to control and find a cure for the COVID19 challenge must also apply resources into managing false, fear-generating messaging is shameful. Our global community is better than this.
That is one dimension of the contagion of fear.
A second: global fears being generated at social and economic levels as millions fear the profound hardship that is being created around the world around job security, even if COVID has not entered their world. Millions upon millions are seeing the central source of their income being stopped, unexpectedly, indefinitely as central systems of global commerce come to a grinding halt.
In the travel and tourism industry – an essential sector required for not only global economic growth and development with its:
over 1.5 billion international travellers per annum (5x the number domestically),
10% contribution to global GDP,
1 in 10 jobs worldwide,
as well as being:
a critical role as a source of global unity,
a basis for national identity and competitiveness,
a vital basis for inward investment in core infrastructure (hard and soft),
a platform for cultural and environmental protection and promotion,
a powerful vehicle for fulfilment of the UN SDGs,
tens of millions of people are becoming fearful not just for their physical health, but for their financial health and as a result, the health of their families, the health of their societies, the health of their future.
It is hard to believe that it was less than 100 days ago that 2020 felt like the turning of the corner – the global community uniting around a new decade. Suddenly, unity is taking place through fear for one’s job, one’s business, one’s livelihood. Decision makers across the world are having to test their leadership minds and muscles like never before. Do we stop or do we go? Do we say ‘yes’ or do we say ‘no’? Government leaders and business leaders are frequently locking horns as cancellations and cautionary actions are debated. What is the right decision? What is the measure of right response. Bottom lines vs voting lines?
Will we ever really know?
What we do know is that global travel and tourism is grounded at a level unseen since the 2008/9 economic downturn.
Importantly, the contagion of fear here is based on the fact that, even when airlines are ready to take to the skies once more and hotels opening their doors to host the world, will the world feel comfortable venturing out? Will they have the personal financial health to get back to the travel they love following a period of fear for the financial wellbeing for they and their loved ones?
What will it take to travel the journey from fear of heart to freedom of mind?
This fear should not be overlooked, should not be judged, should not be seen as secondary. It is real, and it will form the root of our future challenge to push past this chapter in the story of our generation to a place of recovery, returning to hope and unity.
Finally, the third fear we face: the sad reality of a panic and prejudice that has been sparked from the early days of the fear against the people of China.
Those of Chinese descent, of Chinese visible identity, of any Chinese affinity, even if not living in or linked to mainland China, are being looked at with fear. With this, doors and hearts across the globe are being closed to a population people needing compassion.
We must not forget for a moment that the nation of China is a victim of what has happened. While the Chinese people are being looked at with fear, they themselves are fearful of what this is going to mean for themselves, their families, their futures. Their value is far, far greater than the fact that their country represents the highest number of outbound travellers worldwide (close to 170 million in 2019), with the highest spend. They are human, they are hurting, they need our help.
Now more than ever, we as a global community need to stand together. We might stand a little bit more apart than we did three months ago. Still, the fact remains that the only way our world is going to recover from this virus is going to have to require that we as a global community come together.
As the great minds of medicine are coming together and find a way to identify and resolve how we break through COVID19, the great hearts of the world need to come together to find a way of making sure that we as a global community can look one other in the eye once more, with compassion and with conviction, to get our world moving forward for all.
Once again, as is proven whenever a crisis hits, our world needs travel and tourism. Our world needs to keep connecting.
So, what therefore is the best strategy for all nations to take on COVID19 and accelerate recovery?
Simple: HUMANITY, supported by a full-strength prescription of calm, caution & compassion. x
It was just over 10 days ago that breaking news unleashed a royal frenzy of global discussion and debate around a subject, a couple, that continue to inspire media madness like no other across the globe today: HRHs the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. This time it was serious.
Through their personal website they had expressed desire to step away from royal duties. They wish for a financially, logistically and emotionally independent life for their family, away from the UK (part of the year) and away from the heat of the royal spotlight. https://sussexroyal.com/about/ The news very soon gave birth to a new social media hashtag with a loudly beating heart: #MEGXIT
And then came the damning discussions and debates around the Royals’ wish, and right, to make such a move. Across the globe comments, critiques, questions and general craziness turned the story into a top trending area of focus, often eclipsing the fact that the US and Iran were risking a dangerous face-off, Australians were facing Mother Nature’s fiery fury like never before, a beyond fiction escape had taken place in Japan by a corporate automotive industry leader once celebrated and now sought out for criminal activity, a passenger airline was shot down by a missile, and one of our world’s most trusted aviation manufacturers has seen its credibility and confidence come crashing down.
How could they do this?
How can they do this?
Her Majesty the Queen was clear – a clear plan of action was to be agreed, swiftly and smoothly. As different options are explored by the immediate family, different nationalities, societies and cultures are openly sharing diverse opinions on how this royal crisis should be resolved. Different perspectives, with different contexts and linkages to the Commonwealth and generations of Royalists, are weighing in.
For all of the frenzy, and differing opinions and offered solutions out there, these perspectives need to be respected.
That said, keeping this in perspective is critical if peaceful resolution is to happen.
First and foremost, this was not a constitutional crisis nor challenge of the Monarchy, it was a family crisis. HRH Prince Harry was 6th in line for the throne. It was highly unlikely he would ever wear the crown. Expectations of him were profoundly different to those of his brother. As too are the wounds of his childhood loss, and the way these now impact his peace of mind and heart as a husband, and as a father.
Still, crisis was unfolding within the Palace. Why all of the public fury?
Central to the crisis was not the WHAT and the WHY – the desire fo the Duke and Duchess to have a separate, independent, out of the Royal spotlight life with their young son, is completely understandable.
The crisis was in the HOW – the declared shock of the Palace as the desires of the Duke and Duchess were announced publicly, without pre-discussion, pre-agreement and pre-consideration for Her Majesty the Queen – HRH’s grandmother. Taking even the Palace by surprise by the method and haste of the Sussex’s public announcement with presumptive new, hybrid ways of working as a Royal, shockwaves were felt, especially in the UK by literally millions who are innately protective of their Queen and actively exposed to royal ways of working.
Again, it was not the WHAT and WHY that caused such shock, it is the HOW – the HOW that broke bonds, and broke hearts.
This, the HOW, is the essence of diplomacy: the art of succeeding in achieving a desired outcome, especially in times of conflict, while taking great care to ensure no loss of face, and no loss of faith.
It is about discreetly assessing a situation, identifying its key roleplayers, and establishing a way of mobilising desired change in attitudes, actions, whatever the case may be. It is about recognising sensitivities in time, place, people, that must be worked around to ensure no (unintentional) crossing of wires or stepping on toes that may risk momentum or even end goal. It is about appreciating the power of optics – including invisibility. And it is about recognising likely response, carefully managing process to ensure optimum reaction to outcome when the time comes. It is about ensuring all parties come out of a situation feeling stronger, more secure and more respected for their participation. What is not desired to be exposed is simply not seen, not known, by those not at work behind the velvet curtain.
Often, so often, diplomacy is looked at as a wasteful exercise, that which is seen seemingly ineffective, its practices of protocol deemed pointless. One must say what they want to say, do what they want to do, whether others like it or not.
Across the world, across political structures, across cultures, across generations, protocol is pervasive. And must be respected. That includes royal protocol – centuries old traditions of upholding a nation’s identity and values to itself. Crossing international borders and ideologies, royal systems may not make sense, centuries old traditions may test relevance today. Its role, however, is critical – a system of communication and conduct that has, for many centuries and many reason, been in effect to enable the effectiveness. Part of this effectiveness is the way in which monarchies work for the people of nations over which they lead.
As writing, a final agreement has now been reached, breaking news from the Palace revealing that HRHs are ‘HRH’ in title no longer, their roles as working Royals no more, a firm position taken by The Firm that there is no hybrid role that will be acceptable. HRH Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge will, in the main, take on many of the Sussex’s responsibilities. They must adjust, stay calm and carry on. Silence says it all.
Speed. Solidity. Sadness. These are the words that will always be ascribed to Her Majesty’s approach to addressing this family crisis, and ultimate evolution of Royal structure. While these ten days have been unprecedented in their events and outcomes, still, and sadly, this time marks a profound shift in how a Grandmother will look at her Grandson, how a Brother will look at his Brother, how the Commonwealth will look at their young Prince, how the world will look at the institution of the British Monarchy.
It has been a powerful lesson in diplomacy – the impact of disrespecting the HOW, even if the WHAT and WHY of one’s actions are understood.
Time will pass. Roles will be redefined. History and legacy will be rewritten. And hopefully, hopefully, brotherly bonds will be restored.
Welcome to 2020: a new decade, a new year, and the perfect starting point for Goal 3. It’s time for New Year’s Resolutions.
Across the globe, approximately 55% of admitted new years resolutions will be health related: Lose weight. Eat more green things. Exercise more – We all want to be healthier because quite simply, good health often translates to a better (and longer) future.
Here at AM&Awe are back in ‘the office’, goals and new motivation in tow. Anita is working to establish a well-being routine when ongoing travels across geo- and time-zones allow for no food & exercise routine. Swimming factors strongly. Grace is aiming to run 450 miles in 2020, an enthusiastic goal to beat last year’s incredible 400. As a business, we want to look at how we can better contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. As we all work remotely, energy and consumption are already at a minimum so we’ll look at the way we approach projects and advise clients, as well as dedicating time specifically towards lifting up others in ways that contribute to the SDGs.
After a heavy 2019, my 2020 goal is simply to be kinder to myself – mentally and physically.
Thinking of this time of year, a time when wellness commitments are pledged more firmly than any other time of the year, all are in some way related to SDG #3: Good Health and Well-being. Yet at a universal level it is not something all can fulfill. If I need a health professional, I have access to one of the world’s best healthcare systems for any tests, medicine, or mental care I need. (All at no cost or highly subsidised I should add. ) If I need to exercise, I have access and the means to attend a local gym. If I need more healthy food, I can just go and fill up my online cart and have it delivered by tomorrow. Even in health, something the healthy always take for granted, I can see that I am incredibly lucky for the life circumstances I was born into. My good fortune is not, however, the fortune of all.
Good health and well-being is a universal human need – and right. Unfortunately, we are failing to sufficiently provide it to people all over the globe – some in our own backyards. Encompassing everything from disease prevention to reproductive health to road safety, Goal 3 covers a wide range of issues. While the broadness of Good Health and Well-Being can seem overwhelming, it also provides us as individuals a plethora of opportunities to contribute to a healthier and more positive world. And to recognise our ability to have what we have to do so.
Let’s get started!
Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being: What is it?
The main purpose of Goal 3 is to ensure proper good health for ALL people worldwide by 2030. This includes reducing maternal mortality, ending the preventable deaths of children under 5, ending outbreaks of common diseases such as Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and Malaria, reducing deaths and injuries from road accidents, and increasing access to sexual and mental health care.
Half of the world currently has no access to essential health services. 1 out of 2. I don’t know about you, but that one got me. 800 million people spend over 10% of their incomes on health care, and 100 million of those have been pushed into extreme poverty due to health care expenses. (World Health Organisation) We need good health to survive, ensuring that health shouldn’t be a detriment to anyone’s life.
“Without health care, how can children reach their full potential? And without a healthy, productive population, how can societies realize their aspirations? Universal health coverage can help level the playing field for children today, in turn helping them break intergenerational cycles of poverty and poor health tomorrow.”
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake
Just as we discovered in Goal 1: No Poverty and Goal 2: No Hunger, global inequalities are one of the biggest issues when it comes to the progress of not only Goal 3 but the Sustainable Development Goals as a whole. There are massive disparities when it comes to accessing basic health care, treating easily curable and noncommunicable diseases, and maternal health between the Global North and Global South. (The North-South divide is a socio-economic division between the world’s higher income countries such as the United States, Canada, member states of the EU and Australia and the lower income countries found across Africa, South America, and developing Asia.) As an example, every year more than 6 million children die before their 5th birthday. 4 out of 5 of them live in sub-Saharan Africa or Asia.
The inequalities happen within the Global North as well, particularly within low-income areas resided in by people of colour and/or disadvantaged backgrounds. When it comes to infant mortality for example, Canadians have an average rate of 5 out of 1,000 live births. However, in Nunavut, a largely indigenous populated region of Canada, that number jumps to 16 – over three times the amount of infant deaths due to lack of accessible maternal healthcare.
Goal 3, Good Health and Well-Being, aims to target and eliminate some of the world’s most pressing healthcare issues such as:
AIDS causes the second most deaths to teens, and is particularly a concern for women. HIV is the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age worldwide. HIV is a preventable disease. While it is not yet curable, two-thirds of new infections could be eliminated through access to HIV prevention strategies and treatments.
Of the 36.9 million people living with AIDS, Tuberculosis is responsible for one in three AIDS-related deaths. Tuberculosis is both curable and preventable with access to the vaccine.
Mothers in developed regions are 14 times more likely to survive childbirth than those living in developing regions.
There are currently not enough programmes to deal with the demand for family planning and sexual education in developing regions.
Only half of women are receiving the care they need when pregnant in developing countries.
Ensuring that people are healthy is integral for a society to function. In poor and rich countries alike, health emergencies can destroy lives financially. For every $1 billion invested in immunization coverage, one million children are saved. We still have so far to go, but the goal to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being, for all ages, for all people – is achievable. We’ve made huge strides over the last few decades, and the numbers show that we can win this fight.
Progress of Goal 3 in the World Today
The good news? People are healthier and living longer than ever, all over the world. Since 1990, child mortality has been cut in half. Life expectancy had increased dramatically. There have been huge gains with HIV and deaths from Malaria have halved. The Millenium Development Goals had a huge focus on health, and it was undoubtedly their greatest success and legacy.
Measles is a terrific example of the progress the global community has made on health. For children under five, particularly those who are impoverished, measles is deadly. In 1980, over 2.6 million people died from measles. By 2014, the number of deaths had dropped to 76,000. Measles is one of the top vaccine-preventable deaths in the world, and the rise of global vaccination programs has made a tremendous impact. Still, the disease affects over 200 million people every year – almost all live within developing countries in Africa and Asia. The vaccine requires two doses, and global coverage for both is only at 67%. Goal 3 has a target to end epidemics of preventable diseases, and while progress is incredible, 76,000 people dying every year is still way too high.
In the spirit of working in partnerships for the goals (Goal 17), progress isn’t just coming from international organisations like UNICEF and WHO. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a shining example of how philanthropy can change the world. The foundation works under the belief that every life has equal value. By working to improve people’s health, eliminate hunger, and get out of extreme poverty – The Gates Foundation has helped by providing vaccines, starting women’s health programmes and set-up nutritional programmes for children. The foundation has awarded over $50.1 Billion in grants since 2006 and has changed countless lives across 138 countries.
You, me, every individual on the planet can also do our part to contribute to Goal 3. Here are five ideas to help improve health and well-being in your community and the world.
5 Ways we can Contribute to SDG 3 as Individuals
1. Be An Example To Others
Start with the children in your life: your own, your nieces, nephews, godchildren. Show them what it means to live a healthy life, through your own actions. Eating healthy, exercising and staying active – these things can be learned by example. Next time you are hanging out with a small person for the day, choose an activity outside instead of in. Go for fresh fruit smoothies instead of fast food. Healthy doesn’t equal boring. The youngest generation is looking up to the adults in their lives, watching and taking notes. You can do your part to add positive influence, if even for a day.
Work is another place where you can be a positive example, particularly if you work in a traditional 9-5 environment. Start exercise classes after-work (or convince the boss to bring someone in), schedule weekly or monthly themed lunches around healthy themes, find ways to incorporate team activities that force you to get active. Not only are these ideas all great for team health, they’ll provide a wonderful opportunity to relax and get to know the people you work with better.
2. Go Green
Local parks and green space are so important for community health. Children having access to playgrounds and sports fields, pathways where neighbors can walk their dogs, pond-side benches for retired people in the community to enjoy fresh air. Take advantage of these places in your community.
Most community run green spaces allow locals to volunteer with gardening, cleaning up trash, or hosting events. Get involved and help guarantee the future of these important spaces. We have a small community garden next door to our home. Every flower, every hole dug, every new hopscotch addition is contributed by someone living in the community. It makes me happy, I assume it makes others happy too. Happiness is contagious.
If your community is lacking in green space and desirable parks, see point 3 below.
3. Get (Politically) Active
We can only do so much as individuals to affect things at a higher government level. The good news is that those in government, in most countries, work for you. If you don’t have a local park in your community, ask for one. Chances are that other families would love the opportunity to join with you. If the nearest Emergency Room is 30 minutes away, nobody is going to build one until enough people stand up and ask for it. Start a petition, people make them because when done effectively, they can work. Be the voice, and help create a healthier community using it.
Another way to contribute to SDG3 is to find out how your country is contributing to The Global Fund. The Global Fund is an international organisation working to end AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as epidemics. Programs are run in over 100 countries, and they invest over 4 Billion USD a year in partnership with governments, companies, and even individuals. Since only 2000, these investments have saved over 32 million lives and climbing. The money invested by governments, in particular, is extremely important moving forward. Find out how much money your country contributes on The Global Fund website, and encourage your representatives to increase that number in the next giving cycle.
4. Buy (RED)
Did you know that a pill that stops a mother from passing HIV to her baby only costs 20 cents? Still, 400 babies are born every single day with HIV, totally preventable. (RED) is a division of ONE, an organisation co-founded by Bono and other activists to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030. (RED) aims to end AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through partnering with iconic world brands and companies. 100% of the money generated by the partners for (RED) goes to on-the-ground work – such as providing those pills to pregnant mothers with HIV.
You can get involved by choosing (RED) products, particularly if it is something you were going to buy anyway. Everything from Apple iPhones to Moleskine Notebooks to Durex Condoms can be purchased in the (RED) variety – and you’ll know that part of your purchase will go towards saving lives around the world. Take a look at the (RED) products available here.
5. Make New Friends – Seriously
One of the best things you can do for your mental health, and for the mental health of others, is to make connections. Research has actually proven that having a strong social network is just as important as getting sleep, eating well, and not smoking. When you have a supportive network around you, your stress decreases which affects your immune system, coronary arteries, and even gut function and it increases all those happy hormones. (Harvard Medical School)
You don’t have to become best friends with everyone in your community to spread the magic either. Simple interactions like talking to your Uber driver, the woman at the grocery store checkout, the handyman – can all have a positive affect on yourself and those around you.
Consider volunteering as a mentor or ‘friend’ for disadvantaged youth, the elderly, or new arrivals to your area. There are many local organisations all over the world who match individuals to spend time together. You could have an enormous impact on someone’s mental health, and you may just find that they improve yours as well.
To end, something I’ve been thinking about as I watched the latest news out of Australia, completely heartbroken.
How do we keep focus on goals such as Health and Well-Being, when we feel the heaviness and prioritisation on pressing matters like Climate Change (Goal 13: Climate Action)?
I’ve mentioned it previously, but the Sustainable Development Goals were designed to work together and SDG3 is interrelated with so many other goals. No Poverty and Reducing Inequality, for example, can never be realised without Good Health and Well-Being. Some argue that unless we prioritise issues like Climate Change, there will be no people left to improve health for.
I came to the conclusion that the biggest reason we must focus on all of the Sustainable Development Goals, not just those that seem more important at any given time, is that all progress would be lost. The decreasing numbers of deaths, the rising number of available vaccines, all of that positive change – would start to go the other direction. I’d rather have a world of people alive, and healthy, to fight for. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
I’d like to invite you to take this journey with me, and AM&A, as I explore the 17 sustainable development goals. Each month we’ll focus on one goal and explore actionable ways that we as individuals can change the world.
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.
Living the sdgs Let’s change the world together!
Sign up for the Living the SDGs newsletter, and be alerted when a new goal is featured. Plus, we’ll share additional resources every month that we can use to change the world one goal at a time.
The last days, the last hours, and soon the year is done. Another year is gone. A new canvas is being unfolded as one, covered in colours, is ready to be rolled up.
In the midst of year-end busyness it is so, so easy for these last days, last hours, to fly past – a busy blur of festive season meetings and greetings…and eatings. Friends, families, feasts, fun and celebration of good fortune overwhelm calm and quiet.
Balance is easily & happily thrown out.
To enter into a new year all abuzz has its benefits: a bounce in one’s step a positive, joyful way to enter the year anew. Through the temptation to do so, this is also the perfect, absolutely perfect, time to pause, be quiet, be inward, be still.
But still, finding the right place to be still, not physically but in one’s head and heart, can be so challenging. Which is why, as happens when the universe wishes to have it, the gift of timeous messengers of precious messages, is inspiring a whispered prayer of thanks for one of 2019’s finest films – one of the most touching prompts for this invaluable pause: Netflix’s “THE TWO POPES”
A masterful, intimate look into time shared between two of the world’s most powerful messengers of faith, in a brief period of transition at a time when our shared world is in a period of prolonged challenge of faith, focus and fortitude, this film cannot but provoke one’s own thoughts regarding personal beliefs. And the actions they take as a result.
Importantly, it speaks to the potential presence and influence of a greater force blowing from behind, pushing one forward, even when one is uncertain of what lies ahead and why they should head in the direction of such powerful winds.
While focused on two popes, in so many ways THE TWO POPES is not about the church. Instead, it is about what one pursues, and why. Hence its perfect timing. Hence the feeling of exhale when its central characters, its text, releases tears that feel so right in falling, right now, as in no time at all today, 2019, will turn to tomorrow, 2020+.
“You know the hardest thing is to listen. To hear his voice. God’s voice”
Whatever one’s religion, however one looks for answers, at this time of year it is invaluable to stop and simply ask the questions:
What is one’s predisposition: Idealism? Realism? Optimism? Pessimism? And how does this impact one’s sense of place in the world, here and now?
What does one feel to be one’s purpose? And how is this served?
What hope does one hold for the future right ahead of us? And how will this lens through which one views the world impact how one chooses to live in the world?
Overly-analytical? Perhaps. But when is pausing to question purpose ever a bad thing?
So valuable are these questions, always. And yet so often there is so little time to honour them. Especially now, when it feels as though in so many places, policies, positions and principles, we as a global community are failing one another.
Deeply stirring in this regard, in the closing chapter of the film, a montage is shown of genuine 2019 crises currently impacting our world – the impact of a crisis of confidence, compassion and courage spreading across the global community – ranging from human displacement that continues to unnaturally devastate lives and livelihoods across the globe, to Mother Nature’s fury unleashed across and destroying our natural world. In hushed words yet with rasor sharpness, words of truth are then spoken by His Holiness Pope Francis as he made clear that care, concern and a call to action are not for the few in public office – it is all of us who must decide if one is to stand up and step forward, or walk away: “When no one is to blame, everyone is to blame”
As the final hours of 2019 unfold, may your mind and heart find a quiet moment to whisper a quiet prayer of clarity, hope and faith in all that is ahead in 2020, infusing your heart with a feeling of centeredness and confidence. And may you feel loved.
Like millions and millions across the world counting down to year-end, we at AM&M are beginning to wind down our pre-holiday business operations. Finishing up projects, trying to get those last to-dos ticked off the list, and planning our schedules for the year ahead. In the spirit of gift giving, my joining the firm this year was possibly the best gift I was given in 2019. (Thank you universe.) It’s been a gift of knowledge, empowerment, mentorship, and direction. There have been days of failure, mistakes, and lessons learned the hard way, but they’ve all contributed to the journey in positive ways. The Living the SDGs project, in particular, has inspired a forgotten passion within me. I can’t wait to see where it goes, and in what ways we as a firm can contribute, in 2020. I think I can speak for Anita, and all of us at AM&A, in saying that we hope you end the year in happiness, surrounded by love, and with the knowledge that you have the power to change the world.
It’s that time of year again. Twinkling lights strung across streets and shops and doorways. Store shelves lined with sweets and other goodies, heftily consumed in the spirit of the season. Joyful tunes waft through the air, bringing smiles to all who come in contact with the merry melodies.
This time of year touches all of us, regardless of religion or background or age. It brings magic and wonderment to small children and warm cosiness to those of us lucky enough to spend the days with family and friends.
It’s also the time of year that many of us shop the sales, peruse the malls, and meander down the high street in hopes of finding that perfect gift (or gifts) for those we love and hold dear. It becomes almost a game, an obstacle course, trolling crowds and Amazon for that last-minute special something.
It gets out of hand quickly. I’m guilty. Two kids and not seeing my family near enough, those wrapped boxes, tied with ribbons of love and good intentions, quickly add up to mountainous piles, that at a point, seem to lose their meaning.
We’ve spent the last six months talking about the Sustainable Development Goals. What they are, where they came from, and ways that we can contribute as individuals to specific goals such as 1. No Poverty and 2. No Hunger. While we haven’t yet touched on it in-depth, Goal 12 is Responsible Consumption and Production. I wonder, are we consuming responsibly in our moments of giving?
In the UK alone, 100,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown away. Two million turkeys will be eaten. And 100 sq km of wrapping paper will be torn and crumbled into piles across the country.
The thing is, I love giving presents. That smile on someone’s face when you’ve chosen that ‘perfect’ gift for them. That warm embrace and shared moment of giving. I don’t think that we need to stop buying presents, and wrapping them in pretty paper, but I do think we can be more mindful of what we buy and the purpose behind it.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of ten gift ideas that contribute to the SDGs. Some are material, some are more donation focused, but all of them have purpose. We encourage you to use this list of gifts that contribute to the SDGs as a starting point in your gift giving. We’ve said it all along: small steps, small actions, can add up to making a global difference. As 2019 winds to a close, let us end the year thinking about how we can make those moments of giving – moments of action and purpose that change the world for the better.
10 Christmas Gift Ideas that COntribute to the SDGs
Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 10: Reduced Inequality
Choose Love is the world’s first store where you can purchase real gifts for refugees. They sell practical items such as toothpaste and diapers as well as services such as language courses and legal support. Instead of taking the items you purchase home – a similar item is given to a person who needs it.
We’ve chosen the basic washbag as our top pick. It includes toothpaste, soap, shampoo and sanitary products – items nobody should go without. In the words of Choose Love, “This gift isn’t just about hygiene, it’s about helping people to maintain a sense of dignity in harsh environments.”
You can visit a Choose Love shop at one of their locations in London, New York City, and Los Angeles. Gifts can also be purchased from their online store. Price: £10
In 2017 alone, the International Rescue Committee helped to educate 1.14 million children around the world. Giving a ‘Year of School’ gift ensures that a child receives school fees, books, and other supplies to attend school for one year.
According to the IRC, “A safe learning environment in places like Nigeria and Syria can provide children with a sense of predictability, protection from violence, and a safe place to heal from trauma. Being in a classroom gives children hope as they continue to learn and plan for a brighter future.”
A Year of School can be purchased from the IRC’s Rescue Gifts online store. You have the option of getting a printed card for your recipient that explains what a difference was made for children around the world on their behalf. Price: $58
There are 40 million people in China from ethnic minority groups living in extreme poverty. Yunnan province is home to several of these, including the Yi people. Mass production in the province has replaced many traditional products and handicrafts with cheap reproductions, leaving the Yi community struggling to maintain their traditions and way of life.
The UNDP, United Nations Development Programme has partnered with Yi artisans, as well as communities around the world, to keep them out of poverty. The handmade Yi ring not only features beautiful traditional embroidery of the skilled Yi artisans, but the purchase also helps support the local women with new crafting, budgeting and marketing skills.
The handmade Yi ring can be purchased from the UNDP Homemade Collection online shop. Price: $19.99
Having reliable transportation can make all the difference for communities living in poverty. A simple bicycle can change someone’s life, giving them access to employment opportunities or education that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to access.
Cycle of Good is part of a social enterprise that works with a community in Malawi with a simple goal: to end poverty. They employ ten Malawian tailors full-time, with plans to expand to a team of 100. The enterprise uses unwanted or waste products from the UK and turns them to profit. The larger charity employs over 500 people, providing them with training, benefits, and salaries three times higher than the national minimum wage.
For every bike purchased through Cycle of Good, one bike is given to a local in the community. The Mammoth Elephant bike comes complete with accessories, all sustainably made from recycled materials. It can be purchased online from their website. Price: £365
64 million of the world’s hungriest children do not attend school. For those who do attend, hunger severely affects their ability to learn. Mary’s Meals aims to fill the gap with their one goal – that every child receives a nutritious daily meal in a place of education.
Mary’s Meals runs school feeding programmes in 18 countries, all owned and run by local volunteers in the community. Wherever possible, ingredients for the meals are locally sourced, supporting the local community and wider economy.
Giving the gift of a daily meal can change a child’s future. Your gift can be purchased through the official Mary’s Meals website. Price: £13.90
Advent calendars have become extremely popular. No longer reserved for small chocolates or tokens, now you can get a gin a day or luxury bath products behind every door. Advent of Change is an advent calendar, just not as you know it.
For every purchase, the money is divided between 24 charities. Every day, instead of a sweet treat, your recipient finds out which charity they helped that day and how the money might be used for change. In 2018, Advent of Change raised over £100,000 for their chosen charities through advent calendar sales. The impact included rebuilding a primary school destroyed during a storm in Burundi, providing training to 275 women living in poverty in West Bengal, India and providing more families in the UK with accommodation to be near dying loved ones in hospice care.
An advent calendar that gives everyday, that’s 24 gifts in one. Proof that small actions can make a big impact. Price: £29.95
In 2016, 5000 discarded life-vests were used to create a display in Amsterdam, sparking nationwide conversation about the refugee crisis. Makers Unite, a social enterprise in the Dutch city, has grown from that movement.
Through a six week program, Makers Unite provides refugees and newcomers with training, support and guidance within the Dutch creative industry – eventually connecting them with traineeships or employment opportunities.
The life vest collection helps fund these initiatives, travel accessories created from discarded life vests, all handmade by the refugees themselves. An object that once was a reminder of the trials they had to endure is now “granting the fabric a new identity as an ongoing symbol of hope. “
The Life Vest Laptop Sleeve can be purchased from Makers Unite online shop. Price: €39
Perhaps a waterpump isn’t the first thing you’d think of giving someone, but for the 790 million people who don’t have access to an adequate water supply, a simple waterpump can be life-changing.
WaterAid helps provide access to clean water, toilets, and hygiene to families and communities around the globe lacking these basic human necessities. It isn’t just about the water. Having access to clean water gives children in poor villages freedom to go to school (instead of walking miles a day to fetch water), it improves infant mortality, decrease deaths caused by water-related illnesses and diarrhea, and increases productivity.
Watch this video to see what an impact a waterpump can have on a community:
Giving a pump will provide cleaner and easier access to water for a whole community. The waterpump can be purchased in the Wateraid Shop for Life and includes a personalised card for your recepient. Price: £37
Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Goal 10: Reduced Inequality, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Fashion isn’t always thought of as the most sustainable gift to give, but Ninety Percent is working to change that. Based in London, the company donates 90% of their profits to charitable causes such as War Child and Wild Aid.
All clothing is ‘pared back, luxury basics’, that won’t go out of style. Ninety Percent has championed the #DressBetter movement, an initiative that hopes to get consumers to challenge poor working conditions in the fashion industry. We especially love the interviews they do with the workers who make their clothes, such as Nurjahan, a sample operator in Bangladesh.
The organic cotton oversized hoodie is available in five colours and is a staple piece anyone would love. Purchase in Ninety Percent’s online shop. Price: £105
After learning that many children in foster care are moved with only a bin bag to hold their belongings, Dave Linton, founder of Madlug, decided he needed to help. While he couldn’t save them from violence, neglect or abuse – he could make sure these vulnerable children made their way into a new chapter with dignity.
‘No child should carry their life in a bin bag.’
For every backpack you buy, one is given to a child in foster care. The backpacks are manufactured with a supplier who upholds high ethical standards, use sustainable materials, and focus on their environmental impact.
Backpacks can be purchased from Madlug’s online shop. Price: £65
Goal 10: Reduced Inequality, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
We hope these ideas inspire your holiday giving year-round. If you prefer shopping in a brick and mortar store, or if that small person in your life has a very specific request, consider shopping at locally owned stores that support your community. Recycle or reuse wrapping paper, or get creative by using old fabric or other materials that otherwise would’ve gone to waste. Finally, while contributing to the SDGs through your giving is a wonderful way that individuals can take action, don’t forget that the best gift we can give each other is love.
The quest is not new. Gender Equality has been a part of business agendas, and government mandates, for years – a desire to step-change the numbers of women in leadership positions, women in the workplace, women as active members of society, on equal terms. The desire has endured decades of good intentions.
Desire, however, has now turned into demands to make good on promises made. A significant push can be felt across borders, across boardrooms, pushing harder and harder to ensure that gender equality is no longer an initiative within business strategies and government mandates. It must now be an imperative – an essential part of the DNA that is going to reshape a more balanced, equitable, accountable and responsible society. Rhetoric is no longer enough.
How did this sharpening of focus occur? Who, or what, changed the lens through which we looked at this issue?
Interestingly, this is not a result of simply increased interest. Quite the contrary. It has happened because of increased interventions. The call to action has become louder, the volume of the conversation turned up, especially the base.
Markers on this evolving movement are clear, two in particular being defining lines, and dividing lines:
In 2015, the United Nations embedded Gender Equality as a vital part of our global community’s ability to establish a shared ecosystem for sustained global development. SDG#5 seeks to ensure that we work to shape a more fair, equitable, inclusive and participative world towards 2030. Policies to put new programmes and practices in place, pushing the percentages higher, are part of the plan of action. Yet many leaders are arguing the policies are already in place. Policies activated as a part of strategic decision-making is what is now needed.
And then in 2017, a hashtag pulled back the curtain on institutionalised inequality, revealing painfully both active and passive ways in which gender imbalances were allowing for abuse of women in the workplace, across all sectors, across the globe. #METOO became a cry for help, a rallying cry heard around the world.
The former made the case – the latter took the case to court. The message was clear, the volume was getting higher and higher, the notes were getting sharper and sharper, the softer treble notes drowned out by the deeper and more dramatic base notes. Time was up, the waiting for action was done.
Professionally and personally, in both private and public places, with colleagues and with friends, the shift could be felt. Caution in action and words have created new normals. Opportunities for access and appreciation are being created and activated. Efforts are being made. Percentages are increasing in the right direction.
Yet still something just isn’t adding up.
Recent on-stage engagement with top-level political leaders, leaders who happened to be women, put a spotlight on a critical component of achieving equality: accurate math.
To establish a quota of 20% women in leadership, 30% women in the workforce, 40%, whatever the number may be, is not equality if it is below 50%. For there to be equality it must be 50%. Anything below is creating an inequality baseline drawn too low.
As importantly, if we look at the issue of equality, efforts must ensure they are executed in a way that recognises all involved, 100%. This is where the equation becomes very interesting. And this is where being focused on the problem must shift to begin part of the solution, everyone.
Achieving genuine balance is not simply about plugging people into org charts. It is not simply about making policies that indicate a number without the ability to make it happen, for the long-term. There are many elements that are required for true gender equality – equal opportunity, equal access, equal recognition and reward. Absolutely.
And yet, there is one critical enabler to sustainable equality that is so often forgotten: equal respect.
The only way the equality equation will be accurate is if all involved are recognised and respected, 100%. Women, and men.
There needs to be 100% respect for the women working to be a fully active participants in the country, in the society, in the community that they call home. Opportunity without dignity, accountability and stability pulls away essential scaffolding in the psychological development critical to professional development.
But the calculus does not stop there. We need to remember one vital roleplayer and stakeholder in the quest for equality, an essential part of the equation: men. 100% respect for the men, and the efforts they are making to be facilitate changes to get the balance right in gender equality. Champions, change-makers, mentors, mediators.
Everyone needs to shift to the side of the solution, recognising that the most sustainable changes happen when the solution is designed, mobilised, managed and measured from the inside. External anger and aggression do not inspire sincere, sustainable action. They inspire avoiding eye contact. A critical part of the equation to gender equality is the equal opportunity for men to be supported and appreciated in supporting women to create the change. Our shared world is shifting towards the opening of attitudes, the opening up of aspirations, the opening up of the desire to make a difference openly.
The journey to 2030 and beyond is a long one, with solution required that enable success for the long-term. Each step of the way, walking side by side is the only way.
Because to achieve 50%, genuine equality, only 100% will do.
What a world we’d live in if hunger was a problem of the past.
It is hard to believe sometimes that, despite all of the abundance we see around us every day, the choices we face regarding what our taste buds crave, the amounts of food we see wasted as a result of excesses, millions go to bed hungry.
And yet, in 2019, the elimination of hunger remains a goal – a global goal.
Every goal in the 17 SDGs seems almost utopian on the surface. Luckily every goal also comes with the key metrics and specifics targets that help lead governments and individuals alike to align their strategies, measure their progress, and lay out specific areas that must be worked on to achieve them.
The Sustainable Development Goals continue to have a massive impact on the work we do at AM&A. Why? Because every day through our work we try to make the connection between Tourism and why the SDGs matter. From Anita’s presentations to tourism leaders around the globe, to shaping the strategies we suggest to clients, the Global Goals must be at the center of what we do – particularly in Tourism. With every goal we interpret, with every goal we implement into our daily lives, it becomes more and more clear how needed, how urgent, how impactful the Sustainable Development Goals can be for our future.
SDG #2 is one of the first that forces you, me, all of us, to deeply consider its practical meaning. I don’t know what it is to be hungry. To be honest, I’ve always struggled with the other side of the spectrum – eating too much. Growing up in a low-income family, the food wasn’t always nutritious, but it was always readily available. I can’t think of any society or culture that doesn’t revolve around food: dinner on the table brings families together after a long day, it breaks through cultural, political and linguistic barriers, and connects us when celebrating life’s momentous moments. Whether in Thanksgiving, matrimony, celebrations of faith, or even death – food is often at the heart.
And its presence can be taken for granted – healthy or not, abundant or not.
Yet, so many people on the planet struggle to get enough food to even survive. This basic human need is not being met for 821 million around the world who are chronically malnourished. 90 million of those are children under 5.
Today we are going to talk about Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals: Zero Hunger. Meeting this goal will end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030 and ensure that all people, especially children, have sufficient and nutritious food all year long.
This involves promoting sustainable agricultural, supporting small-scale farmers and equal access to land, technology and markets. It also requires international cooperation to ensure investment in infrastructure and technology to improve agricultural productivity.
Nobody should miss out on a childhood, going to school, or a future because of hunger. Particularly when there is just so much to go around.
1 in 8 adults around the world are obese. In the US and Europe, the number is hardly surprising, in Western developed nations the numbers jump to 1 in 3. While food security is an issue for families globally, 2/3rds of undernourished people worldwide live in only two regions: Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.
But why is there such a disconnect between the over-fed and under-fed?
Famines, food shortages/crises typically caused by drought or war, are responsible for the most severe cases of global starvation. According to the United Nations, there is a famine if:
20% of households suffer from extreme food shortages,
30% of the population is acutely malnourished; and
Two out of every 10,000 people, or four children, die daily from food shortages.
Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen are in hunger crisis with 20 million at risk of starvation and death. Armed conflict and climate change are the main culprits. Droughts have caused fields to go dry, cattle to die, and starvation to become the norm. Additionally, as of 2017, 37 countries depended on food aid – 28 of which are located in Africa.
Population growth, debt, corruption, and disease also contribute to the inability of some countries to produce enough food for their citizens.
what is the effect of hunger?
The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations says that chronic hunger happens if a person’s daily energy intake for an extended period of time is below what they need for a healthy and active life’. This typically equates to less than 1,800 calories a day. Using this measure, 226.7 million people are starving in Africa alone.
Hunger isn’t just about malnutrition, it has a far reaching effect on every part of life. Hunger stunts brain development and can be a major obstacle for children who don’t have the energy to reach school or the concentration to digest material. Many children are also forced to leave education to help support their families. Without an education, there are less people to enter the workforce and contribute to their country’s development.
It’s a vicious circle, but one that we can break.
is zero hunger achievable?
Up until 2017, the number of people suffering from hunger was on a major decline. Between 1990 to 2015, global hunger dropped by almost half – in large part to the UN’s Millenium Goals. Unfortunately over the past couple years the numbers are steadily increasing again – particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
But hope is not lost. With world leaders committed to ending world hunger by 2030, and individuals like us doing what we can in our own communities, the future looks positive. It’s been estimated that we could end world hunger permanently at a cost of $30 billion a year. That may seem like a lot, but to put it in perspective the US spends $737 billion a year on defense alone. According to the UN if we put $160 per person a year living in extreme poverty, world hunger would be completely eradicated by 2030.
Most of us don’t have that kind of pocket change lying around, and per person sponsorships aren’t feasible, but we can make small, conscious actions that can add up to make a big difference. Here are some ways that we as individuals can end world hunger.
actionable ways for individuals to end world hunger
1. Shop Purposefully When we spoke about Goal 1: Eliminating Poverty, we learned that the UK’s largest food bank gave away 1.6 million packs of food supplies – a 19% annual increase from 2017. More and more people in communities around the world are having to rely on additional provisions to make ends meet.
When you do your weekly shop, add one or two extra items for food bank donation. Many grocery stores in the UK have a food donation box at the end of the check-outs area. Check to see if your local store offers a collection point, and if they don’t – consider setting one up with a local charity. It’s such a low-effort way to make a big difference to locals in your area.
Reach out to your local food bank or organisations working to feed the community and ask how you can donate. If we all added two items of food to our weekly shop, this would amount to 104 food items that could entirely eliminate food insecurity for a local family.
Shop online? Online grocery shopping is the fastest growing purchase channel, in both value and growth. (I probably do 1/4th of my shopping online in any given month.) While you can still add-on items for food donation, if you’re more of an online type person, you can also donate to charities through their websites who have fighting world hunger in their core mission.
A wonderful example is Mary’s Meals, a charity that provides life-changing meals to some of the world’s poorest children every day that they attend school. Only £13.90 (approx. $17.85) provides one child with a meal a day for a year. For every US$ 1 you give, 93c is spent directly on their charitable activities. Today they feed over 1 million children a day. Think about it – for less than US 10c a day a child is fed, unlocking their ability to learn, to grow, to be hopeful. If you happen to live in Scotland, Mary’s Meals has seven charity shops where you can donate your unwanted goods that will be sold and converted into food for hungry children worldwide.
2. Encourage Food Share
Food waste is a root cause of world hunger worldwide, global food waste could feed the world’s hungry four times over. Globally we waste 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year, that’s about 1/3rd of the total amount of food produced for human consumption. In short, there’s enough food for everyone.
More businesses than ever are now actively working towards cutting down or eliminating their food waste. Put your money into businesses that you know are doing their part to fight waste and hunger in your community. In the US alone, 43 billion pounds of food is thrown away by grocery stores. In the UK, it’s estimated that restaurants and cafes throw away approximately 320 million fresh meals a year.
Friends of Champions 12.3 is a group of CEOs who are leading progress to achieve the UN’s SDGs target 12.3: Global Food Loss and Waste as part of Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. While there are not near enough big companies who’ve made the pledge, there are some that may be local to you who are doing their part.
Aldi for example has committed to halving their operational food waste by 2030. Last year in the UK they donated over 2 million meals through local organisations. They’ve also looked at their supply chain and have been actively reducing waste by not purchasing it in the first place.
You can see the full list of members in the Friends of Champions 12.3 here.
If you do a quick Google search of your local grocery store name + food waste, you should get a result for their policies and efforts. If not, reach out. Consumers drive what businesses ultimately value: let them know it matters to you.
Of course, limiting your own food waste is important as well. Meal planning is a great way to ensure that you only buy what you need. Bring a list, and stick to it. Utilise your leftovers by putting them toward additional meals or incorporating them into a recipe in a new way – be inventive!
3. Eat Local and Seasonally
There are some fresh food items we love to buy year-round. I, for example, love avocados – which unsurprisingly is not a fruit that grows well in the UK climate. The simple avocado that I grew up eating like apples doesn’t just appear in the UK – most of mine are plastered with a sticker showing their origin as Mexico. Firstly it needs to be grown – due to supply and demand this now trending fruit has contributed to massive deforestation, greenhouse and carbon emissions (from both growing on a massive scale and transporting) and has affected local water supplies. An avocado toast on a Saturday morning always feels like a great choice, and I’m not saying let’s put a ban on guacamole, but we need to consider the socio-economic impact of our food choices.
Farmers in developing nations actually make up a majority of the world’s hungriest and poorest people. The World Economic Forum estimates that 500 million small farms produce 80% of food for the developing world. Due to unfair trade policies as well as industrialised nations moving production to these affected regions and taking away supply chains, rural farmers are left in hunger. War, famine, and other outside influences also affect these stats, but how is it that those who grow our food are going without?
Instinctively I thought that by choosing to buy seasonally I’d be taking away what business these farmers have, creating a negative impact on their livelihoods. It turns out though, in most cases, that if there is money to be made, someone bigger is going in and producing at such large volumes that smaller farmers can’t compete with price competition, market access or profit. (Food and Agricultural Organization) If their own communities are buying locally, and we are following suit, there is more than enough food to be produced for the hungry without shipping it out in bulk to those of us already living in excess. The exception to this, are the nations we discussed earlier, such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa, where outside influences such as climate have made agricultural production impossible.
Food tastes better in season, and supporting your local farmers is important for the agricultural development and success in your own community. Challenge your food choices, explore new varieties, and find ways to increase the positive impact of foods you consume. You can find out what produce grows when in your area by using this map from Epicurious.
As I was reading about world hunger, there was an obvious cross-over with Goal 1: No Poverty. It’s logical: if you are living in extreme poverty, you aren’t getting enough food to eat either. Especially the right, healthy food.
We highly encourage you to go back and read about ways we can eliminate poverty if you haven’t yet had the chance. The SDGs don’t work alone – the 17 Goals are interrelated, interdependent. If we eliminate poverty, hunger would likely topple as a result. And when one SDG is addressed, the rest are given the nudge they need to step forward towards solutions that make today’s fundamental challenges history.
We as a global community have so much work to do. Our shared world hungers for action.
Let’s continue to work together, continue to make small changes in our everyday lives. It doesn’t need to be an overnight transformation – if we cannot sustain the positive impact we risk doing even greater damage.
Goal #2 matters, to millions. We need to be purposeful as we continue to consider ways that we, as individuals, together, can contribute to the SDGs towards 2030.
I’d like to invite you to take this journey with me, and AM&A, as I explore the 17 sustainable development goals. Each month we’ll focus on one goal and explore actionable ways that we as individuals can change the world.
Living the sdgs Let’s change the world together!
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