In a continuously evolving world, there must be constant development in education initiatives for sustainability in the face of relentless transformation. One way to do this is by upholding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) introduced by the United Nations (UN) in 2012 to address global environmental, political, and economic challenges.
Our article ‘Understanding the Significance of Sustainability Requires Development of New Research’ stresses that in order to achieve these SDGs, the community must always be on the lookout for change. In the same vein, educational institutions and organizations must make transformative adjustments to existing knowledge and methodologies to anticipate and mitigate tensions that occur alongside widespread structural change.
Even now, educational organizations across Africa uphold these tenets regarding sustainability. So, here are five initiatives that promote the UN’s sustainable development.
The Green Business College
SDG 2 intends to reach zero hunger worldwide, and education is key to working towards that goal. The Green Business College in Johannesburg, South Africa, seeks to address this. Not only do their courses like organic gardening, food preservation, and beekeeping address gaps in sustainable food production — they also empower students to cultivate entrepreneurial aspirations. These courses have allowed graduates to own businesses, such as Tsepiso Moloi’s hot sauces and Ongkopotse Seleka’s Uncle OG’s Jams. It also expands access to healthy food through small farms and fresh produce, addressing Africa’s “double burden of
malnutrition,” which refers to both hunger and obesity.
SDG 4 seeks to ensure that children and young people access quality education and learning opportunities. Bridge Kenya upholds universal access to quality education, by providing educational resources to children from the most underserved communities. Bridge utilizes a technology-powered teaching model that has consistently led students to outperform their peers on national tests. They do this using a model with standardized lesson plans and teacher feedback monitoring that has successfully advanced learning by 1 to 1.5 years.
Able Child Africa
SDGs 5 and 6 focus on gender equality and clean water and sanitation — serious obstacles to inclusivity in educational spaces. This is particularly true for girls with disabilities who are disadvantaged by the lack of knowledge and confidence in managing their hygiene, health, and sanitation practices. Able Child Africa addresses this, having developed a youth-led project that provides disabled girls with resources and education for maintaining good hygiene and reproductive health practices. With funding from Jersey Overseas Aid and in partnership with UWEZO, they empower girls in Musanze, Rwanda, by fostering inclusive spaces. They introduce simple modifications to school facilities and inclusive teaching methods and conduct peer and group mentorship for girls with disabilities to gain more confidence.
Protea Heights Academy
SDG 7’s focuses on affordable and clean energy, the adoption of which can allow schools to reallocate funds and resources away from energy bills and maintenance to educational resources. Protea Heights Academy in Western Cape, South Africa, has partnered with award-winning global solar micro-leasing marketplace Sun Exchange to power their educational facilities with solar. Already specializing in STEM, Protea Heights Academy empowers its students — and other educational institutions — to solve global problems through sustainable means. Through this initiative, they are future-proofing Western Cape schools by reducing their carbon footprint and transitioning to more affordable, clean energy.
Here at KCL, we believe that upholding sustainability in education can foster life-long values for sustainability among students and inspire other institutions and governments to pursue similar solutions to address pressing global issues. These educational organizations exhibit how institutions can apply the UN’s SDGs to move toward global sustainability.