By Cuthbert Mukora, TFF Regional Coordinator in the Africa region
As one of the young leaders who participated during the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator launch week in Arusha, Tanzania from the 21st to the 26th of January 2019 which was organized and facilitated by CIVICUS and its partners, I returned feeling more inspired, challenged and re-energized to take action in my community as TFF Regional Coordinator and beyond and contribute towards the achievement of the United Nations (UN) Global Goals.
The launch week was attended by 26 young data innovators between the ages of 18 to 35 selected from 22 countries around the global community. All of these next generation change makers are doing significant work in their respective communities and regions to ensure that our 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development materializes.
Selected from over 2,000 applicants, I was impressed by the 26 young Goalkeepers and how they are driving technology, using data and storytelling to solve the first six Global Goals, which include achieving zero hunger – a key priority for both Thought for Food and the Rural Enterprise Trust of Zimbabwe. For me, it was a great honor to have the opportunity to listen to the captivating stories of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as told by our young change makers, game changers, next gen data innovators and the disruptors of the status quo.
The Goalkeepers received training in various fields including storytelling, data, finance monitoring and evaluation, communications, advocacy, project management, and personal leadership.
“The sessions have inspired me. I’ve realized that by going to people and listening to their experiences, you can find skills within yourself that you can share and empower them with. This will give them the ownership to push for yet more action wherever they are,” Alison Mbaluto, Goalkeeper from Kenya.
“Thanks to the training on project management, I feel I can now plan and implement the strategic priorities of my initiative on my own,” Brice Sohou, Goalkeeper from Benin.
“My favorite learning session was storytelling. It taught me how to convey information to emotionally and intellectually impact different audiences,” Joseph Kagabo, Goalkeeper from Rwanda.
Similar to the TFF Regional Coordinator program, the Goalkeepers are now working on their action plans and progress monitoring tools and creating stories about their peers’ projects. The initiatives will collect data from local communities and use it to push for implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Pioneered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2017, the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator is part of an annual global campaign to use stories and data to highlight the progress of SDGs and hold governments to account. It seeks to empower young people to work towards the development of their countries. “We hope that after a year of the pilot project, we can provide evidence to show that supporting youth activism is important for achieving the SDGs,” said Ms Novoa, the Youth Engagement Coordinator at CIVICUS.
This experience confirmed for me, that the next generation will contribute significantly to the achievement of the UN Global Goals because they possess the creativity, energy and innovation mindset to create change. They will be the driving force behind the global political, social, cultural and economic transformation. That being said, young people do not only play a critical role in the socio-economic development of Africa and the world but will also be the ones to benefit most from the UN Global Goals.
Cuthbert was selected as TFF Regional Coordinator in January 2019 to execute and advise on TFF’s overall strategy and program, develop strategic partnerships, and manage a cohort of regional TFF Ambassadors. The TFF Regional Coordinators play a key role in gearing up their regions and ensuring the TFF global movement of next-generation innovators becomes a critical force for positive change in the food and agriculture industry.
For more information about his experience at the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator launch week and his Regional Coordinator work in Africa and specifically Zimbabwe, you can contact Cuthbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.