During an awareness-raising workshop, we used play to dramatize, through locally-relevant examples, the participants’ understanding the 17 SDGs.
Based on a post-workshop survey, participants now understand the simple role they have to play, by passing along the knowledge gained to peers at school, at home, and in the community to achieve the full benefit possible.
On 18 October 2017, we selected 50 participants as SDGs champions for an awareness-raising workshop at the Government Girls Secondary School, which is located in Kaduna, Nigeria. The training was aimed at bringing closer, localizing, stepping down and spreading the message of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the root beneficiaries at the grassroots level, and to deliver the training by young people, to young people. As a result of the workshop, we identified 17 local SDGs champions who would continue to teach about the SDGs after the workshop, and in and out of the school, so that the conversation can continue.
The workshop was organized on the theme, ‘Play the simple part.’ Our target participants were between the ages of 10-18 years, and were girls attending the Government Girls Secondary School. Prior to the program, we presented a number of survey questionnaires to the participants as well as teachers.
The pre-workshop questions were the following:
1. Have you heard about SDGs before?
2. If yes, where did you hear about the SDGs?
3. What do you think are SDGs from your view point?
Based on these questions, we learned that almost all the participants had not heard of the SDGs. Therefore, this workshop was the first time they had heard of the SDGs and what they are.
During the awareness-raising workshop, we used play to dramatize, through locally-relevant examples, the participants’ understanding the 17 SDGs. Many of the teachers that attended the program had heard about the SDGs on the news, yet they still did not know what the SDGs meant for the local level. This program also sought to address their questions and help them to understand the SDGs better.
Participants were impressed to learn about the goals and were eager to learn more by asking “hard-nut” questions. One of the girls asked us to explain the correlation of the bad condition of the pit toilet that served the over 1000 schools girls in their school and to tie the lack of a functional toilet to Goal 6, on clean water and sanitation. In response to this situation, we forwarded a petition to the state government and, two days later, we received a speedy response and attention. A new, flushable toilet will soon be built at the school along with a hand wash basin.
At the end of the workshop, post-survey questionnaires were collected from participants, with answers to the following questions:
1. Do you now know of/or what the SDGs are?
2. Which of the goals can you recall?
3. How old would you be by 2030? And which goal will you play a role in?
From the survey responses, it was clear that participants are now aware of the SDGs and they understand what they are all about. They also understand the simple role they have to play, by passing along the knowledge gained to peers at school, at home, and in the community to achieve the full benefit possible.
In general, our experience with this training workshop tells us that more needs to be done to connect the SDGs with local people at the grassroot level, because the SDGs can seem more global than local and that is what we want to reinvent. For us, that is our simple part to play. So what is the simple part you can play, because everybody has a simple part to play.
Children and Young People Living for Peace is a not-for-profit, youth-focused voluntary organization in Nigeria.