The project development objective is to create a south-to-south focused collaboration platform among project partner Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other stakeholders in Ghana, Uganda and Zambia. The platform will focus on the important task of localizing the UN Global Goals (SDGs) at grassroots level.
Context of the intervention
SDGs are on the agendas in most African countries. The UN is active here, African Development Bank is opening increased investment for the SDGs, a Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa has been developed to bring together cross-sectoral actors on the goals, African agenda 2063 is also predominantly based on the SDGs framework. In the project three countries, there are developed SDGs coordinating mechanisms and targets with indicators. Both Ghana and Uganda have already participated in voluntary reporting to the UN on their progress. In fact, Ghana is placed as one of the best performing countries regarding reporting full data to the UN. Zambia is also on track in setting up relevant institutional frameworks for the SDGs. Zambia is the host of the SDGs Sub-Regional Center for Southern Africa (SDGCA), whose aim is to bring together ideas and experts on the SDGs for better contextualized representation of Africa.On the local level in all the countries of this intervention, CSOs and other actors form one of the central platforms for supporting government initiatives to reach the local grassroots. And in this regard, our partners – Ghana Community Radio Network (GCRN), Open Space Centre (OSC) from Uganda, Circus Zambia (CZ) have already demonstrated their crucial roles in these efforts. The project aims to strengthen civil society organization to advance social justice by improving the capacity of civil society organizations to cooperate transnationally and influence policy. By encouraging the discussion of the UN’s SDGs, youth in Ghana, Uganda and Zambia will be able to include and realize their own rights to participate and to influence decision-making processes which affect their present and future lives, reduce inequality and fight poverty. The lessons learnt by the project partners’ experiences of SDG localization will be shared among them via the platform, which will continue as a database for ongoing mutual learning, exchange and sharing of vital information to help strengthen civil society in all three of the project countries.
Our Ghanian partner GCRN reports a continued decline in the freedoms of expression. This includes limitation of broadcast radius and arbitrary denial of permissions to start new local radios in a country where the radio is still the main means of local information in the local languages. This violates the rights to information, news, entertainment, education and engagement in the local languages and contexts. These limitations directly affect the idea of localizing the SDGs, and the opportunities to have local voices get involved and contribute to the SDGs agenda.
In Uganda, where we have been implementing SDGs projects, there remains a huge gap between the local school contexts and how the policy on the SDGs prevent young people and other local communities from participating in localizing the SDGs as part of the curriculum and extra-curricular activities.
In Zambia, where we have been implementing projects for and by young people, we experience the same trend of shrinking the spaces for young people and local communities to participate in crucial local policy processes. Democratization, local participation, good governance are central parts of facilitating SDGs 16 and 17.