Against all odds and with very short notice, we put together a small but interesting gathering comprised of young professionals from various fields and students to discuss the SDGs on World Merit Day.
We wanted people to wonder about what we were doing and ask questions and so we chose a popular hangout spot in Okota where lots of young people and couples come to hang out in the area.
We started off by introducing each of the goals and looking at them in terms of their indicators and in light of the latest SDG report sent by the UN and also the SSDN SDG Index. Below are brief summaries on what people said on each of the goals.
SDG 1: we agreed that our government was very corrupt to achieve these goals and until we reduce our corruption, there might be no headway for this goal.
SDG2: we spoke about much nutrition and eating right can help improve a child’s development.
SDG3: We all agreed that there were so many factors hindering the development of this sector, some of which include corruption, power and an ever increasing population. While Ezekiel Bassey pointed that Nigerians have a poor attitude towards health and only go to the hospitals when their conditions have worsened. He suggested that the Federal Ministry of Health can replicate what Singapore is currently doing with Connexion where hospitals have a welcoming look and service pattern for patients. Ikechukwu Opara noted that achieving Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy will help reduce overcrowding for general hospitals as well as increasing competition for private hospitals as they will be forced to lower their prices.
SDG4: Jennifer Uchendu noted that Nigeria is starting to churn unemployable graduates and it is becoming a big problem for the country, while there were deliberations on who to blame for this, schools or students themselves, Odunayo Onafuye pointed that our environment is a definitive factor for how we turn out. We agreed that education goes beyond the classrooms but the classroom structure itself must be fixed- inclusive, balanced and qualitative
SDG5: While Olumide Idowu was of the belief that women interested in leadership positions must start from grass root positions, he also added that Gender was an important factor that cuts across all the SDGs.
SDG6: There was an argument on whether should be free for all or not, we agreed that there is a need to put some levy on it to make users value it.
SDG7: We wondered when Nigerian government would start including solar energy into the national grid. Chinma George pointed us to the fact that Solar Energy needs to subsidized before it can be implemented efficiently in Nigeria.
SDG8: We spoke about what a good job really means and the current minimum wage in Nigeria.
SDG9: We all agreed that only a strong political will and good governance can achieve this goal
SDG10: We thought of ways to improve our data problems in Africa as it is now increasing difficult to understand the extent of numerous issues in our country.
SDG11: We spoke about safe cities being sustainable cities and the current herdsmen saga (which is a climate change issue indirectly) making it more and more difficult for us in the country.
SDG12: Chinma George was of the opinion that responsible consumption is achievable even on a cheap budget.
SDG13: While we established the fact that Africa did not cause climate change, we agreed that adaptation is very key for us in this part of the world.
SDG14: Tamara Posibi linked this goal to the plastic waste pollution and made us realize her the cycle goes on to kill life below water
SDG15: Chinma George advised that we should plant trees at every opportunity because afforestation is a win-win for many of the global goals.
SDG16: We reflected on the moral standing of most citizens and questioned if it was only our judicial systems that needed strengthening. Jennifer Uchendu spoke alot on religious institutions paving the way for sustainable development like the Pope does.
SDG17: We all agreed all the goals are inter-related and Tomisin Ólumuyiwa also spoke about funding for the SDGs being a core function of this goal.
We obviously had an amazing time speaking life into our country and inspiring each other with the knowledge we have garnered over time.