The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set some ambitious targets for the global community to achieve. You can find an introduction to the SDGs on our previous blog post.
The second and third goals focus on hunger and healthy living. Here at COCO, we know from experience that our aim of removing barriers to education cannot be achieved without solving underlying problems in the local communities of our projects. These issues are often related to a lack of resources, specialist skills, or infrastructure.
Sustainable Development Goal 2: Ending Hunger, Achieve Food Security and Improved Nutrition and Promote Sustainable Agriculture
In 2001, Judith Mutange founded the Great Mercy School in Trans Nzoia, Kenya. This incredibly generous and committed local woman had given all in order to provide a loving home for children with nowhere else to go and education for children who would otherwise have no access to it. Through Judith’s hard work and dedication and our support significant expansion and improvements have been possible. The centre now provides a loving home to 47 children who have no family and over 300 children who would otherwise have no access to education.
Despite its success the Great Mercy School continues to rely on the generosity of donors to keep the school open. They often suffer from shortages of food and high staff turnover when funding runs low.
In order to provide the school with an income stream to contribute towards the long-term sustainability of the school, COCO has helped to establish a sustainable agriculture project. To kick-start this ambitious project, COCO has worked hard to build a reinforced fence surrounding the project site, and to purchase tools and seedlings to enable cultivation to begin. To ensure the sustainability of this project in the future, farm staff were also provided with sustainable agriculture training.
Achieving food security can be a challenge in tough farming conditions. However, the sustainable agriculture garden at Mercy Primary is helping to secure a long-time solution to food shortages at the school. Growing their own fruit and vegetables will not only reduce costs to the school, but also eliminates the cost of buying in food from elsewhere. It will also provide a revenue stream as the School can sell the excess fruit and vegetables to the local community. In addition, the sustainable agriculture garden can be used as a learning tool. As a result of being trained in a variety of farming techniques, the students will be better qualified to seek employment within the agriculture sector or produce food of their own in the future.
Great Mercy School Garden
Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Well-Being for All at All Ages
A lot of different things can affect a person’s overall well-being and health, stretching from education and employment to personal relationships and mental health.
Having a safe place to spend the night is a fundamental influence on health and well-being. For children, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to their development. For many students at Kindimba Secondary School in Southern Tanzania, a dormitory on the school’s premises would make a huge difference to their ability to access education.
Transport in Kindimba is very difficult due to a lack of infrastructure in the area. Dirt roads make travelling particularly problematic during the rainy season, as they become saturated with water and very difficult to travel on without a 4×4 vehicle. This issue makes it very difficult for students and teachers to travel to and from school each day causing late arrivals, injuries and exhaustion due to the long and difficult commutes.
The goal here at COCO is to build dormitories for the students and staff to ensure their safety and the efficiency of the school in the future. Ensuring that a dormitory is fit for purpose is a big task, requiring everything from beds to mosquito nets! However, when we are finished, Kindimba Secondary School will be able to provide more support to their students and staff. This will help to ensure better physical and mental well-being, and get school days off to a better start.
Look out for further installments in our Sustainable Development Goal series coming soon!