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Varsity students urged to embrace, support SDGs

James Momanyi @jamomanyi

MK-Africa, a marketing and sustainability consultancy, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Treasury and Planning have launched the Kenyatta University Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) club through its #MyLittleBigThing initiative .

The campaign seeks to promote youth awareness, understanding and implementation of the SDGs at the national level.

Speaking during the launch at Kenyatta University, Planning Principal Secretary Julius Muia said it is critical for the youth to be made aware of and involved in implementation of the SDGs.

“Kenya’s adoption of the SDGs has created space for the conception of innovative solutions to address the needs and aspirations of young people.

It is fundamental to mainstream youth-led engagement at national level,” he said. MK-Africa chief executive officer, Muthoni Kanyana said the clubs, which will be launched in universities across the country, seek to promote youth awareness, understanding and implementation of the SDGs.

“The #MyLittleBigThing SDGs Clubs will help universities to start and deepen their engagement with the SDGs by building internal capacity and ownership of the SDGs, identifying priorities, opportunities and gaps and monitoring, evaluating and communicating their actions on the SDGs.”

The clubs are part of MK-Africa’s #MyLittleBigThing Sustainability Innovation Challenge which is a partnership between the company and the Cambridge University Sustainability Leadership Institute in South Africa. The initiative targets undergraduate students drawn from universities across the country.

It is inspired by Nobel Laureate’s Wangari Maathai’s “little thing” initiative, which is a call to planting of trees and aims to inspire young people to come up with sustainability ideas that are commercially viable.

Competition, which is in its second year, calls for undergraduate university students to submit their sustainability business ideas via the competition website www.mylittlebigthing.com.

The best 15 entries are then selected to participate in a business skills training programme before pitching their business ideas to a panel of experts who then select the final seven. These go through a public voting process on the competition website and the three with the most votes are declared winners.

The winners will attend a three-day sustainability practitioners programme by the University of Cambridge Sustainability Leadership Institute in South Africa in August, visit sustainability-centered companies in South Africa as well as tour Johannesburg before returning to Kenya for a three-month paid internship at top companies.

Muia congratulated MK-Africa for their efforts in promoting the SDG agenda 2030, adding: “The University SDGs clubs present an opportunity to engage Kenyan institutions of higher learning in promoting SDG-led education.”

He added that the Ministry is keen to establish partnerships with the private sector so as to promote the advancement of the SDGs Implementation Road Map. This calls for illustrations of hands-on, practical innovation.

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