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Forum “Innovations of teenagers and youth to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”
From August 14 to August 15, 2019, the Zubrenok National Children's Education and Health Center hosted the Forum “Innovations of teenagers and youth to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”, which brought together teenage leaders, representatives of teenage parliaments from cities friendly to children and teenagers, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) youth ambassadors. The large-scale event was held to honour the International Youth Day and the 50th anniversary of NCC “Zubrenok”.
The main objective of the Forum is to strengthen the potential of teenagers and youth, increase their knowledge and understanding of the SDGs, develop leadership skills to successfully achieve global goals and direct the creativity and energy of young people to modern challenges in the country, region and the world.
Teenagers aged 14–16 years worked in 17 teams with one of the SDGs throughout the Forum. The result for each team was the idea of a project aimed at achieving the corresponding Goal. Project ideas were heard by an expert panel, which included the National Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus, the heads of UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA in Belarus, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education.
Here are the ideas the participants suggested:
SDG 1: FinGram mobile app to eliminate financial illiteracy among teenagers and youth, including an educational unit and a financial glider.
SDG 2: Children's Volunteer Care Center to address the adverse social situation among children and teenagers, including free nutrition, medical and psychological assistance, specialized educational courses, and communication with other children and adolescents.
SDG 3: a social video (or a series of social videos) on teenagers’ loneliness as one of the potential causes of thoughts about suicide.
SDG 4: a prototype of a specialized class for developing effective communication skills among children and teenagers to solve the problem of lack of educational programs in communicative qualities in the framework of school education.
SDG 5: a campaign on social networks (using the hashtags #BE_YOURSELF #MY_CHOICE #BEMYSELF) to solve the problem of stereotypical ideas about the appearance and image of girls and guys.
SDG 6: prototype rainwater purification device (for rural and urban areas) and a mobile application with tips on using and installing such a device.
SDG 7: Challenge in social networks “Save energy in 30 days” (using the hashtags #safetheenergy #saveenergy) to inform the public about the problem of non-responsible energy use and to create eco-friendly habits.
SDG 8: Career guidance program “I want to work …” involving students to present their professions and organizing educational excursions to companies and organizations for more detailed acquaintance with a particular profession.
SDG 9: Econet project for exchanging recyclables for free mobile Internet traffic (waste paper / plastic collecting machines are equipped with a screen for issuing a QR code with the amount of free traffic earned, which can be obtained in a special application).
SDG 10: a series of educational activities to get acquainted with the cultures of other countries for more tolerant and inclusive behavior towards representatives of other countries and cultures (includes interviews, interactive quizzes, talk shows, days “on the contrary”, etc.).
SDG 11: prototype application for the effective organization of all necessary contacts and locations of government and other institutions in different categories: education, health, social services, etc., including a breakdown by city and age of users and users.
SDG 12: “sweetilizator” – an automatic machine for exchanging recyclables (primarily plastic) for rewards for children and teenagers (small chocolates).
SDG 13: Chloroferm – a prototype incubator for growing chlorella algae to purify indoor air in an urban environment.
SDG 14: talk shows on raising awareness and awareness among the population about negligent pollution of marine ecosystems.
SDG 15: agency for environmental advertising and developing brand positioning using eco-friendly principles in the production of packaging, souvenirs, etc.
SDG 16: A school legal support service for children and teenagers, including an education unit and mediation services.
SDG 17: an application to strengthen global partnerships, collaboration and the exchange of best practices among teenagers from different countries to achieve the SDGs in the format of a specialized social network.
To engage youth in achieving SDGs at the global level, there is the UN 2030 Youth Strategy. The strategy outlines priority areas designed to improve the lives of young people who are directly related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and one of the platforms to accelerate the achievement of SDGs in Belarus – focus on future generations. These directions are also reflected in the national strategic documents of Belarus. In the concept of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development for the period up to 2035, it was noted that young people play a special role in the national model of sustainable development, which is the engine of sustainable development in the long term.
The forum was held as part of the UNDP / UNICEF / UNFPA project “Supporting the functioning of the architecture for managing the process of the Sustainable Development Goals achievement in the Republic of Belarus” with the support of the National Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Goals Marianna Schetkina, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education.