In September 2019, we - Oswin Mahundi and Kesheni Sengo - attended an AidEx conference in Nairobi on 'The Importance of Inclusiveness to the Global Progress'.
The conference covered a range of topics relating to inclusivity as an integral part of sustainable development.
1. Partnership and Poverty Alleviation
Here the emphasis was on collaboration, rather than competition in the field of development. There must be cooperation among all stakeholders so that in the end, the community benefits.
- The primary focus is to help people to remain stable after graduating from poverty and not slip back.
- In some communities, there are multiple NGOs working with the same focus but through different approaches. Different stakeholders who deal with sustainable development should join their hands and work in collaboration to eliminate poverty in the community.
2. Inclusiveness for Zero Hunger
Hunger and famine are threats to sustainable development. Hunger must be suffocated first, then poverty will be eradicated.
- Stakeholders must bring together their power to fight off hunger and bring sustainable development in the society.
- Food security must be included in the sustainability of development. There is no development if people are starving; there is no person who can think of development while he/she is not sure of the next meal in a day.
3. Innovations in Healthcare
The agenda here stressed the need to innovate the provision of healthcare within societies. There will be no success without quality healthcare.
- The design of health initiatives must have the concept of User Centered Design. This means anything designed in healthcare for the sake of sustainability should think of the users first.
- There is much emphasis that poverty is the problem of many local communities and the solution of the problem must be the people themselves. Organizations dealing with healthcare providing should train healthcare providers by using digital means.
4. Female Empowerment
We focused on the concept of empowering women economically as a means to provide financial liberation – a concept to be used as the foremost tool of women’s freedom from poverty.
- Involving women in making decisions within communities will achieve the real concept of sustainable development in the society.
- NGOs should offer techniques of how progress can be made. For example, informing women in communities on how they can collaborate through forming groups, in which they can easily get grants and other financial assistance to help them.
5. Technology and Equality
Development needs to be parallel with the concept of technology. The delegates presented their experience on this and its essence, pointing out that technology is vital for development.
- Development should no longer downplay the question of technology.
- Technology will bring a sense of connectivity to people.
- There must be equality in the delivery of technology. Giving all people from rural and urban areas the appropriate technology will allow for equal progress with the development agenda.
6. Disability Needs in a Humanitarian Content
This vital topic caught the attention of many at the event. It must be well known that disability is not a disease and it can happen in the blink of an eye to anyone. Sympathetically, the meeting discussed this in consideration of the plights people with disability experience in day-to-day life.
- In many cases people with disability are left behind by stakeholders, due to a sense of rejection that these people receive – this societal attitude must be reshaped.
- NGOs should rethink disability in a positive manner in terms of policy making and economic plans - placing such people at the centre.
- Sustainable development should bring all people together and promote community.
7. Localisation as reality
Localisation refers to international NGOs shifting their operations to a local level.
- It has to be kept in mind that most of the work that NGOs do is to benefit local people, so the best solution in terms of sustainable development is for NGOs to work at a local level.
- The delegates shared their experience on this matter and how important it is on the issues pertaining sustainable development.
8. Faith-based Aid Delivery
Faith-based Aid delivery within development must be considered. Unfortunately, some societies are facing conflicts, and the roots of such conflicts are often religious. Therefore, the solution must be generated from a religious angle.
- It is not possible to have sustainable development in areas with conflicts or unrest. In such situations, conflict mitigation should be focused on before doing anything in the community.
- Faith-based organisations have a serious role to play before planning for sustainability in the society.
The conference added a sense of value to what we at COCO are doing, as well as exposing more techniques of how we can best help the communities that we are working with, with some of this mentioned below:
- Attend as many conferences as we can to expand the value of our sustainability
- Extend our projects in local communities as much as we can
- Focus on disability