30 October 2018

#SDGsinAcademia - SDG Hub for Goal 1

As part of the ongoing campaign on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) carried out by the United Nations, United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) presents a series of articles on #SDGSinAcademia featuring the new SDG Hubs for each one of the Goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

30 October 2018 - This week we are featuring in our #SDGsinAcademia series Kristu Jayanti College (India), a member institution of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) that has been chosen as the SDG Hub for Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

About the Hub:

Kristu Jayanti College was founded in 1999 and is run by "Bodhi Niketan Trust", formed by the members of St. Joseph’s Province of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, an indigenous Catholic religious congregation in India serving the poor and rural people since 1831. The college offers 22 undergraduate degree programs, 13 post-graduate programs and has four 4 recognized research centers, including one on Social Work. The Research Center within the Department of Social Work offers a PhD program and has conducted a number of research projects jointly with collaborating agencies such as NGOs, on issues such as community based vocational training models and surveys of homeless.

The institution has as a vision: To provide intellectual and moral leadership by igniting the minds of youth to realize their potential and make positive contributions leading to prosperity of the society and the nation at large, being its mission: To provide educational opportunities to all aspiring youth to excel in life by nurturing academic excellence, fostering values, creating civic responsibility and building global competencies in a dynamic environment. Among the range of goals that Kristu Jayanti College has, one in particular is directly connected with the 2030 Agenda aiming to develop a lifelong desire in the individuals to create a positive change in society.

What is this Hub doing about Goal 1? 

The educational philosophy of Kristu Jayanti College wields in the individual, academic excellence with holistic development and nurtures a deep concern for the society. This pedagogy focusses on molding individuals into integrated personalities who are intellectually competent but also socially sensitive. One of the core values of the institute, ‘dignity,’ emphasizes the need to strive for the upliftment of the downtrodden and marginalized. This, under the premise that economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.

The institution instills a culture of community engagement and quality education to empower students with different religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Kristu Jayanti College believes that quality education is a powerful weapon to ensure a zero-poverty world. The college has implemented the Social Outreach program which is meant to give exposure to students to interact with marginalized groups, being entrusted with the task of promoting education and skills among poor and the underprivileged. The college is directly working with a few villages for its overall development, including through legal counseling.

Jayantian Extension Services (JES) was started to foster a systematic involvement of students in extension and social outreach programs. JES develops awareness about social realities, to have a concern for the underprivileged sections of the community and to engage in social change. The model adopted by JES is known as ‘3I’ model – Identification, Implementation and Institutionalization. In Identification, students are motivated to engage with the community, identify their needs and promote initiatives to engender welfare and conduct socially relevant research.

During Implementation, JES organizes Rural Exposure camps with village communities. Students conduct social and economic surveys and organize health and dental camps, eye clinics, spread awareness about government schemes and bank loans available to improve their quality of life. Students are also in charge of Computer Literacy Programs organized in rural schools to motivate children and cultivate their interest in education and sciences. The Vikas Kendra is a free tuition program for children to improve their learning outcomes and to reduce drop rates.

The English language enhancement classes, exhibitions and skill training are provided to inspire and empower them. Furthermore, economically disadvantaged children shy away from regular schooling due to inadequate financial resources. Hence a scholarship program was established to address this issue. The Institutionalization of community engagement as part of the curriculum sets a benchmark of quality. The community engagement of the institution has brought sustainable transformation in a number of Indian villages.

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The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 reviews progress in the third year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It has an overview that presents highlights of progress and remaining gaps for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on the latest available data, and examines some of the interconnections across Goals and targets. This is the overview provided in the Report, in particular about Goal 1:

While extreme poverty has eased considerably since 1990, pockets of the worst forms of poverty persist. Ending poverty requires universal social protection systems aimed at safeguarding all individuals throughout the life cycle. It also requires targeted measures to reduce vulnerability to disasters and to address specific underserved geographic areas within each country.

  • The rate of extreme poverty has fallen rapidly: in 2013 it was a third of the 1990 value. The latest global estimate suggests that 11 per cent of the world population, or 783 million people, lived below the extreme poverty threshold in 2013.
  • The proportion of the world’s workers living with their families on less than $1.90 per person a day declined significantly over the past two decades, falling from 26.9 per cent in 2000 to 9.2 per cent in 2017.
  • Based on 2016 estimates, only 45 per cent of the world’s population were effectively covered by at least one social protection cash benefit.
  • In 2017, economic losses attributed to disasters were estimated at over $300 billion. This is among the highest losses in recent years, owing to three major hurricanes affecting the United States of America and several countries across the Caribbean.

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The following resources can help improving your knowledge and understanding about the SDGs in general:

  • This is a comprehensive research guide made by the United Nations Library in Geneva listing resources about the SDGs in general and about each one of the Goals, including books and articles (some of which are fully available on line free of charge), UN documents such as resolutions and reports and additional resources.
  • The SDG Fund has created this online library featuring over 1,000 online publications. The publications are categorized by the Goals they represent, by geographical regions they relate to and by authors, to facilitate easy searchability. Each publication also has a short summary attached to it which helps with keyword searches.
  • This is an initiative supported by UNDP, UN-HABITAT and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which offers a selection of tools such as concept notes, papers, case studies, compilation of best practices and guides providing contextual and practical information about the SDGs.
  • This is a guide entitled “Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals” intended for stakeholders and designed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to serve as an initial basis for implementing the SDGs.
  • This guide entitled “Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities” developed as well by the SDSN to help universities, higher education institutions and the academic sector in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs highlighting the important role universities have in implementing the SDGs through their teaching, research, operations and leadership, and providing practical guidance and examples to inspire further action.

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You can learn more about the SDG Hubs at the UNAI website

Is your institution a member of UNAI and conducting activities and initiatives around Goal 1? Contact us at academicimpact@un.org to tell us about your work and let us connect your university with the SDG Hub! Working together we can make the 2030 Agenda a reality!