Updated: Jul 11
Written by Ebere Chiemela, Global Schools Advocate from Nigeria.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a comprehensive blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. With their universal nature, the SDGs call for collective action from every corner of the world. In this blog post, I want to explore the pivotal role of the African girl in contributing toward these goals. As agents of change and resilience, African girls have the potential to make a profound impact on their communities, countries, and the continent as a whole. Through education, empowerment, and inclusivity, they are showing a drive to progress and help to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Quality Education (SDG 4)
Education is the foundation for sustainable development and a powerful tool to empower individuals. Unfortunately, many African girls face barriers to accessing quality education due to factors such as poverty, cultural norms, and gender-based discrimination. However, even with few opportunities, African girls are showcasing the immense potential to become change-makers by building solutions to some of the SDGs and becoming problem solvers in their communities. By promoting gender equality in education and investing in girl-centred initiatives, we can unlock more potential for African girls to drive progress, enhance social inclusion, and break the cycle of poverty. As a STEM Educator, I have pioneered and seen thousands of girls in Nigeria solving global problems around their communities using technology:
Besides being a Global Schools Advocate, I also contribute as a Chapter Ambassador at Technovation.
Gender Equality (SDG 5)
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but also a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development. African girls face various forms of discrimination and inequality, including limited access to decision-making processes and economic opportunities. We can create a more equitable and prosperous society by empowering African girls and ensuring their equal participation in all spheres of life. Through initiatives promoting gender-responsive policies, ending child marriage, and combating harmful cultural practices, African girls can become catalysts for change and champions of gender equality.
Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3)
African girls play a crucial role in improving health outcomes within their communities. They are often caretakers, responsible for the well-being of their families and communities. By promoting awareness and education on health-related issues such as reproductive health, hygiene, and nutrition, African girls can reduce maternal and child mortality rates, improve access to healthcare, and combat diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Providing African girls with comprehensive health education equips them to make informed decisions, leading to healthier and more resilient communities.
Sustainable Economic Growth (SDG 8)
The economic empowerment of African girls is vital for achieving sustainable economic growth on the continent. When provided with equal opportunities for education, skills training, and access to resources, African girls can become entrepreneurs and leaders in various sectors. By promoting financial inclusion, supporting women-led businesses, and bridging the gender gap in the labour market, they can contribute significantly to poverty eradication and economic development. Investing in their potential from early education, not only benefits them individually but also has a multiplier effect on their families, communities, and the continent as a whole.
Climate Action (SDG 13)
African girls are often disproportionately affected by climate change, particularly in vulnerable communities. They are on the front lines, witnessing the impacts of environmental degradation and climate-related disasters. By empowering African girls with knowledge and skills in sustainable practices, environmental conservation, and renewable energy, we can nurture a generation that actively participates in climate action. They can advocate for sustainable practices, support community resilience, and contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change, fostering a greener and more sustainable future.
The role of the African girl in contributing towards the SDGs is crucial for achieving sustainable development in Africa. With little resources and support available for the African girl child, they have shown that they can champion change across communities as changemakers and problem solvers. According to a report by Technovation, a global tech education organization, 95% of girls that participated in their programs in 2022 have all learned and gained problem-solving skills by learning about the SDGs.
As a Global Schools Advocate, I had the chance to see how African girls have been driving impact from the front line. Alongside 10 other girls, we identified one problem within my community, more precisely, “indiscriminate waste disposal and management,” which aligns with SDG 11, sustainable cities and communities. We built tech solutions that would solve Goal 11 within our community by connecting homes and industries to waste management firms where the waste would be recycled. This would help reduce the amount of indiscriminate waste disposal by 70%. This goes a long way to show that we can raise more young advocates when our curriculum is focused on equipping our students, especially the girl child, with the right skills to become better persons within our societies.
By addressing the barriers the African girl face, providing quality education, promoting gender equality, ensuring good health and well-being, fostering economic empowerment, and encouraging climate action, we can unleash the full potential of more African girls. When African girls are empowered, supported, and given equal opportunities, they become powerful advocates driving progress and contributing to a more inclusive and prosperous African society. Thus, investing in the African girl is an investment in Africa's future. Let us come together to create an enabling environment that empowers more African girls and allows them to shape a brighter tomorrow for themselves and their communities.