Have you heard about Global Goals? On September 25th the United Nations launched a set of 17 ambitious Goals for World Leaders to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. These goals build on and develop work undertaken between 2000-2015, known as the Millennium Goals,that achieved great things – globally 43 million more children now attend school as a direct result of these goals.
A universal agenda
The new Global Goals go much further than the Millennium Goals and look at addressing all the issues that we, as humans, face around the globe today. Whilst the primary purpose of the Global Goals is to eradicate poverty, many more issues that contribute to poverty are now being addressed. The UN has stated that these new Global Goals represent a “new universal agenda” for humanity.
Here at Ecologia Youth Trust we are really excited about the implementation of the Global Goals because, for us, it’s a reflection of the way we have been working ever since we formed, 20 years ago in 1995. Unlike many international development approaches we place equal emphasis on social, economic, cultural and environmental sustainability in our programmes.
This draws upon our base in Findhorn Community – an international holistic education centre and United Nations (UN) recognised eco-village, established 50 years ago in Scotland. The Findhorn Ecovillage is known worldwide for its innovative and integrated new models for sustainable living. Our approach to helping disadvantaged children and youth reach their potential has always been integrated – our vision is “A world where all young people can thrive within sustainable communities”.
Our integrated approach
Just one example of this is our 3 year Big Lottery funded youth project in Myanmar, which aims to improve the livelihoods of young farmers through environmental rehabilitation and promoting community resilience.
Jane Rasbash talks more about how the course is in alignment with the UN Global Goals and Findhorn ecovillage values.
Eco Farming training in Myanmar
Misty mountains and vibrant green rice fields surround Nang Kham Farmers Field School Centre in Northern Shan State. When I visited in August 2015 at the height of the monsoon season with dramatic dark clouds bursting with torrential rain, we were very close to and present with nature.
Nang Kham Centre is run by Metta Development Foundation and was the host site for an enthusiastic group of young farmers with a strong will to find sustainable ways to farm and care for Inle Lake and its environs.
Twenty-nine farmers from Inle Lake and Pekhon started the 3-month training in July 2015 learning about an integrated approach to organic farming and conservation agriculture to promote locally sustainable food and other resources. The curriculum is based on the well-known farmers field school methodology, developed in the late 1980’s for use in Asia. This group based learning approach draws on farmers’ existing knowledge and skills within their own environment, empowering farmers by recognising their knowledge and valuable experience and using learning by doing.
The young farmers work together on a complete cycle of organic agriculture by tending plots as a practical application of shared learning. Uniquely to this programme, we have included ecovillage approaches to offer young farmers an integrated learning experience considering social, ecological, economic and cultural perspectives alongside impacts of climate change within their local area. The aim is to support the young people to embody values for sustainable, just and resilient communities that care deeply for people, place and planet.
Ma Kyin Htwe a young participant who, like others, in the village practiced chemical farming reflected:
The eco-farming training has shed a lot of light and understanding how to live with ecology in daily life and be friendly with mother earth —– it has dramatically changed my knowledge, attitude and practice regarding faming ——- I have learnt several technical skills for eco-farming and making natural fertilizers. I will firstly practice in my family compound then extend it to others who are interested in them.
Whilst I was there the young people raised concern about the chemical farming so prevalent in the area and came up with a plan to include ‘Say No to GMO’ as part of the annual ‘We Love Inle Lake’ awareness raising that will be held in October 2015.