27 November 2018

#SDGsinAcademia: SDG Hub for Goal 5

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

26 November 2018 - This week our #SDGsinAcademia series features Ahfad University for Women (Sudan), a member institution of United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), that has been chosen as the SDG Hub for Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

About the Hub:

The Ahfad University for Women aims to prepare women to assume responsible roles in their families, communities, and in the nation. In keeping with this objective, the ‘Ahfad experience’ embraces a combination of academic courses, on-the-job training, individual research, and community extension activities. This combination of activities is designed to prepare women from all parts of Sudan to become change agents and assume leadership positions.

Ahfad University for Women was founded in 1966 by Yusuf Badri, and it was granted full university status in 1995 by the Sudan National Council for Higher Education due to its expansion of curriculum and student body. Currently, it is one the oldest and largest private universities in Sudan while being widely recognized in the African continent for championing women’s rights.

What is this Hub doing about Goal 5? 

The university hosts the Regional Institute of Gender, Diversity, Peace and Rights, which is focused on awareness, research and training on a wide range of gender issues. The vision of the Institute is to seek and promote a worldwide community of learning about gender, peace, rights and development, linking the local and the regional with the global to achieve a transformed society of equality, justice, security and prosperity.

Its mission is to become one of the leading institutions in Africa and the Arab world dedicated to achieving peace, gender equality, management of diversity and respect for human rights, with special emphasis on women’s empowerment and leadership, in order to change society and bring about a better quality of life. The Institute works to enhance research on gender and development studies and promote the integration of gender in university courses.

The Institute conducts research in partnership with other universities or research institutes or part of the postgraduate studies program, holds conferences and workshops, publishes policy documents and other educational and informational materials.

It offers four Master’s programs on Gender and Development, Gender and Peace Studies, Gender and Governance, and Gender, Migration and Multicultural Studies. The university also hosts the Gender and Reproductive Health and Rights Resource and Advocacy Center. This component of the university recently organized a research forum to present the main results of three studies on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) carried out in Sudan.

Finally, the university established the Rural Extension Program in the form of scientific field trips for students to explore the lives of rural people and learn about appropriate forms of intervention to improve their lives. One of the key objectives is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life in rural communities, especially of rural women. The participants in this program are students and faculty but also government officials and NGOs.


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 about Goal 5:

While some forms of discrimination against women and girls are diminishing, gender inequality continues to hold women back and deprives them of basic rights and opportunities. Empowering women requires addressing structural issues such as unfair social norms and attitudes as well as developing progressive legal frameworks that promote equality between women and men.

  • Based on 2005–2016 data from 56 countries, 20 percent of adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 who have ever been in a sexual relationship experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the 12 months prior to the survey.
  • Globally, around 2017, an estimated 21 per cent of women between 20 and 24 years of age reported that they were married or in an informal union before age 18. This means that an estimated 650 million girls and women today were married in childhood. Rates of child marriage have continued to decline around the world. In Southern Asia, a girl’s risk of marrying in childhood has dropped by over 40 per cent since around 2000.
  • Around 2017, one in three girls aged 15 to 19 had been subjected to female genital mutilation in the 30 countries where the practice is concentrated, compared to nearly one in two around 2000.
  • Based on data between 2000 and 2016 from about 90 countries, women spend roughly three times as many hours in unpaid domestic and care work as men.
  • Globally, the percentage of women in single or lower houses of national parliament has increased from 19 per cent in 2010 to around 23 per cent in 2018.


The following resources provide general information about the SDGs:

  • This is a comprehensive research guide from the UN Library in Geneva listing resources about each one of the Goals, including books and articles (some of which are fully available online 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, geographical regions and by authors, to facilitate searchability. Each publication also has a short summary attached to it which helps with keyword searches.
  • This selection of tools is an initiative supported by UNDP, UN-HABITAT and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which offers concept notes, papers, case studies, compilation of best practices and guides providing contextual and practical information about the SDGs.
  • This guide, entitled “Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals”, is intended for stakeholders and designed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to serve as an initial basis for implementing the SDGs.
  • SDSN also developed this guide, entitled “Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities”, to help universities, institutions of higher education and the academic sector in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs by providing practical guidance and examples to inspire further action.


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 5? 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!