Sustainable development goals

WPDI’S SUPPORT OF THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

In 2015, the governments of the world came together and unanimously declared our commitment to achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which call for ambitious global actions from eradicating poverty to ensuring universal education to combating climate change to building peaceful and inclusive societies. Achieving the SDGs will require the collaboration not only of world leaders, but also of NGOs, civil society, and ordinary citizens.

 

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WPDI founder and CEO, Forest Whitaker, is a member of the UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocacy Group to raise awareness of these goals around the world and to promote the spirit of cooperation that inspired them. In line with this new global agenda, WPDI’s programs are making substantive contributions to many of the SDGs.


SDG 1: NO POVERTY

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Poverty is one of the greatest barriers to global peace. Through our programs, WPDI seeks to empower young people to develop income-generating and community-building projects that break entrenched cycles of poverty and violence.


SDG 2: ZERO HUNGER

End hunger, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

Fresh and healthy food is scarce in many of the communities where we work. Several of our youth peacemakers are developing community gardens and small-scale agricultural businesses to promote sustainable farming practices and provide a healthy source of food for their neighbors.


SDG 3: GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

WPDI takes a holistic approach to peacebuilding, assuming that healthy bodies and minds are integral to genuine peace. We aim to instill healthy lifestyles and lifelong self-preservation habits in all our peacemakers so that they are better equipped to build peace in the world around them. We provide, among others, trauma healing and psychosocial support to people who have been through extreme trials, notably refugees and former child soldiers. We partner with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to provide community-based hearing healthcare to victims of Uganda’s civil war.


SDG 4: QUALITY EDUCATION

Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

We believe in Nelson Mandela’s vision that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This is because learning is the first step to resilience, empowerment and autonomy. Education is the bedrock of our work: we want our beneficiaries to grow resources they can use on their own. This is paramount for our youth peacemakers, whose ability to learn–from WPDI trainers, from their peers, and from their own experiences–is central to their success as leaders. This is true also for all the youth and adults who come to our Community Learning Centers to acquire skills in mediation, ICT or entrepreneurship; and for the children who enroll in our conflict resolution programs in schools of Mexico, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda or the United States.


SDG 5: GENDER EQUALITY

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Empowering women and achieving gender balance in WPDI’s programs is one of our top priorities. We believe in a society of opportunities for all, where the potential of each person is understood as an asset for everyone. In South Sudan, we are partnering with UN Women to ensure that our youth peacemakers understand how they can work with community members to break down gender stereotypes.


SDG 8: DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all

Peace is sustainable only when people enjoy economic opportunities. Young people in particular want decent jobs that will provide them income and recognition. This must be an overarching concern when aiming at reconciliation in places that have been plagued by decades of conflict and violence. In those places in particular, unemployed and disenfranchised youth are easy preys to armed groups who will enroll them as foot soldiers in wars of their own. Our programs are geared to help young people break these negative cycles. We offer, at our Community Learning Centers, vocational trainings that increase their employability on the market. Through our Business Boot Camp facilities, we provide young entrepreneurs with access to incubators that help them transform their vision into sustainable and profitable businesses.


SDG 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Through the Youth Peacemaker Network and our Community Learning Centers, WPDI and our partners seek to increase Internet access among vulnerable populations in remote or underserviced places, in an effort to strengthen connectivity and spark creative development. ICT lessons are an important aspect of all our programs and trainings.


SDG 10: REDUCE INEQUALITIES

Reduce inequality within and among countries

Our programs, both in the United States and around the world, are deployed in low-income communities where young people often do not have the same educational and employment opportunities as their higher-income counterparts. We consider ourselves part of a global effort to level the playing field and give low-income youth the tools they need to succeed.


SDG 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

There is a deeper connection between peaceful communities and healthy environments. Both call on us to have the future in sight. We believe, therefore, that peacebuilding and ecological action can and must reinforce each other. In this spirit, we try to impart to our youth peacemakers how they can contribute to responsible and sustainable development. Several of our peacemakers’ community-building projects are attempting to raise awareness of how citizens can do their part to protect the environment.


SDG 16: PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS

Promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies

Our fundamental goal is to empower a generation of peacemakers to lead their communities and countries away from conflict. We have confidence in their capacity to launch a movement that will help build dynamic, fair, and inclusive societies all over the world. Helping our youth leaders build peace in their communities is at the heart of what we do.


SDG 17: PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS

Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

WPDI believes that humanity is at its strongest when we work together. At every stage of our programs, from conception to implementation, we seek out a variety of governmental, private-sector, and non-profit partners who believe, like we do, in the promise of youth to promote peace and development.