Our guest today is Eric Nkinzingabo, networks coordinator for SDSN Youth. Welcome Eric – thanks for joining us – please briefly tell us about yourself.
Hi everyone, I am humbled to be your guest today. I am the Youth Network Coordinator of SDSN Youth, for the Great Lakes Region. Thank you for the invitation.
Its great to have you on board Eric. Can you tell us how the SDSN Youth structure works?
SDSN Youth is structured in a simple way; we have the Global Coordinator who oversees all SDSN Youth projects and operations. He works with an operation team that coordinates the Network Coordinators who operate in various regions in the world.
Helen Deise (CFP Cape Verde)
What does mean SDSN mean?
Sustainable Development Solutions Network. (More info about UN SDSN at http://unsdsn.org/)
Mahmoud (CFP Sudan)
Please Eric tell us what you are doing through SDSN?
I am coordinating activities of SDSN Youth in our region that includes leading a team of SDG coordinators at various SDSN member institutions and engage with other youth organizations in our membership program. We have Rwanda that has the regional secreteriat, Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania. Not all SDSN Members institution have SDSN Youth official representatives but we are working on this to make sure we have our activities there
Wonderful – in the Great Lakes you are many steps ahead compared to other areas
We are not perfect – we are doing our best to balance activities in all regions , that is why we are working on a strong partnership strategy to have massive representation in all those countries
Duku (CFP Liberia)
What is the overall function of SDSN youth?
Education; where our SDG coordinators( based at various universities in the region) engage their universities and communities in learning sessions and outreach programs whose aim is to raise awareness of the SDGs) and Solutions, we have soon lunched the Youth Solutions Hub that will be a platform to support young innovators get resources to scale up their projects. Education is under our new flagship program named ‘SDG Student Program’. Find more info here https://sdsnyouth.org/about/
Kienyui (DCFP Cameroon)
Great job but sustainable development is still new and people are trying to adapt to it. How do you manage to get people see reasons with you?
Though sustainable Development is new it also exciting. People nowadays like to explore new possibilities and I always tell them that this will be their legacy on this earth. I believe we all have a role to play around these goals
Achieving Goal 4 requires national commitment to substantially fund education. African countries collectively underfund education more than any other place on earth. Are you also concerned about engaging governments to increase their financial commitment to education?
SDSN is working with a Danish billionaire under an initiative named ‘Move Humanity’ whose aim is to influence world wealthiest people to donate 1 % of their revenue to sustainable development problems (education included) , this will influence governments to raise more funds in the education sector.
Access to Internet is still a major problem with African countries. Do you work only in urban centres or with rural communities
Internet is still a challenge, I understand, we have come up with easy way to communicate with our team who are in urban and rural areas
Do you hope to work with all the African countries and if yes, how soon
Our 2019 goal is to have 50 % percent representation in all African region, SDSN operates in regions and we’ll work hard to ensure that young people are also included in each regions activities.
Oumarou (CFP Mali)
Through your words I can argue that you and your fellows are doing a great job to change situations positively. Thanks for your commitment and leadership. So, can you let us know some achievements from your job as SDSN leaders in your countries of intervention?
Thank you for the encouraging words, our great lakes region officially started operations in 2017, and I can boldly say that much has been done. We now have a team of 8 SDG Coordinators at various institutions, 35 member organizations, have been an official partner of the iconic Youth Connekt Africa Summit engaging young people through our programs to learn and create solutions addressing the SDGs. We are still growing though.
NAYD operates in almost all African countries. Any possibility of partnership for a NAYD Focal point to represent you?
We will discuss this and find potential ways of partnership. Maybe we can organize call in days to come to discuss more about any questions or tangible ways to work with you.
NAYD joined the newly formed SDSN Youth facebook workplace just this week – watch this space for developments
What are the biggest challenges you face Eric?
Coordinating a wide team is hectic, in different regions, different personalities and interests and languages but I am learning how to engage and communicate with them
The 2 biggest challenges we face communicating are languages and internet reliability
You are right, maybe things will work out if we keep on working
A lot of African governments have adopted the SDGs but their spending plans differ significantly from their specific preferences. How are you engaged to ensure that governments promote the SDGs in action?
That is a good question, we have started doing National consultation of the SDGs, ( on the Global level) which will contribute to the Voluntary National review that is presented every year in the High Level Political Forum aiming at directing government leaders to channel resources towards solving most pressing issues in their communities
What are NAYD’s current projects?
We are primarily a networking organisation – all our CFPs are youth leaders in their countries. This forum enable us to communicate easily across the continent
What are your priorities area for now?
The SDG Student program whose main mission is to create SDG Hubs that will be semi physical and semi virtual platform that will teach and engage university students around the SDGs, and strengthening relationship with our member organizations and other potential partners in our region and Africa at large.
The SDGs issues are very pertinent. Any possibility of governments making it part of the education curricula?
Yes it is possible , find out more about our global school program https://www.globalschoolsprogram.org/ to see more ways governments are integrating the SDGs in school programs.
Thanks very much Eric for your invaluable contributions. You can see the team, including Eric, at https://twitter.com/sdsnyouth/status/1059298258625970177?s=21
Thank you for the invitation, and for every one of you, your questions were an eye opener for our team’s commitment. I look forward to more ways of collaborations. Have a pleasant day.