What do the SDGs mean for African civil society?

Ruth Wanjiku is the Programmes and Advocacy Intern with AbleChildAfrica. After speaking to Sarah Musau, Project Officer at Action Network for Disabled Youth in Kenya, Ruth shares her thoughts on the SDGs and their relevance to African civil society.

What do SDGs mean for African civil society?
‘Yes’ said the representatives of 193 nations of the world. This was followed by a roaring applause from an audience rising to their feet following the official adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals 2015. There is a lot of optimism surrounding the SDG’s, and in particular from United Nation Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, who declared “The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is a universal, integrated, and transformative vision for a better world”

What do SDGs offer for African civil society ? and for those working in disability? 
The SDGs aim to stimulate action over the next fifteen years in areas of critical importance to human life and environment. The SDGs aims to end hunger to all peoples, protect the environment from degradation, foster long-term peace and revitalise global partnership for sustainable development, in particular, it is focused on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable. Many of the challenges addressed by the SDGs have particular relevance to Africa. The continent remains among the least developed regions in the world, and with most African nations falling short in achieving targets set by the MDGs.

According to WHO, Africa has at least 81,200,000 people that are affected by some form of disability. Disability is referenced in various parts of the SDGs and specially in parts related to education, inequality, growth and employment, accessibility of human settlements, and as well as data collection and monitoring of the SDGs. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs stance on focusing on the most marginalised of groups is good news for disabled communities. AbleChildAfrica’s partner Action Network for Disabled Youth (ANDY) is optimistic about the changes that will come as a result of the SDGs.

So what does ANDY think?
ANDY is a youth led disabled persons organisation (DPO), run by and for young disabled people in Kenya. ANDY is dedicated to achieving equality, inclusion and empowerment of disabled youth in Kenya.I spoke with Sarah Musau, Project Officer at ANDY to get her views on the Sustainable Development Goals.

 “the SDGs drafting process was inclusive to all stakeholders”.

The drafting process involved government institutions, civil society groups and marginalized groups and communities. Arguably, SDG’s inclusivity is due to the fact that it captured and involved everyone. In doing this, the “voiceless have been given a voice”. 

Other than shaping social, economic and environment development agenda for the next fifteen years, the SDGs also focus on building productive capacity, a feature of the Common African Position (CAP) on the post – 2015 development agenda.

UK APPG on Global Education for All meeting with ANDY in Nairobi to discuss the need for inclusive education recognised in SDG 4
UK APPG on Global Education for All meeting with ANDY in Nairobi to discuss the need for inclusive education (recognised in SDG 4!)

Going forward 
ANDY is particularly enthusiastic about the achievement of SDG 3 on good health and wellbeing, SDG 4 on inclusive education and SDG 8, which focuses on decent work and economic growth. In line with SDGs, ANDY is committed to achieving and implementing these goals through partnership and collaboration of relevant stakeholders.

AbleChildAfrica will continue to support ANDY to ensuring the SDGs improve the lives of disabled children and young people in Kenya.

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