Sunday, July 8, 2018

Teaching ideas around the seven themes of the SDGs.


On 25th September 2015 the United Nations will announce the sustainable development goals (SDGs), a set of goals that aim to make our planet fair, healthy and sustainable by 2030.
The SDGs will build on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals which were agreed by world leaders in 2000 and will expire in 2015. For background information and teaching ideas about the MDGs see Change the World in Eight Steps. Ar gael yn Gymraeg: Newid y Byd mewn Wyth Cam.

Here are some teaching ideas around the seven themes of the SDGs. Prior to using these resources you may wish to use Getting Critical about the post-2015 Global Goals to examine different views about development and think critically about what learners believe the next set of goals should include.

Theme 1: Poverty

- 8-12: Interpret and compare development indicators for the UK and other countries and explore the use of infographics to represent percentages.                    Try Session 1 in Everyone Counts Unit 3.                  Ar gael yn Gymraeg: Pawb yn Cyfri Uned 3.

- 8-14: Use football to examine inequality between and within countries. See The World Cup: A Fair Game?

Theme 2: Health and wellbeing

- 7-11: Explore children's rights and use the case study of a school health club in Sierra Leone to learn more about the rights to good health, water and sanitation. Try Sessions 4, 5 or 6 in  Children's Rights.
- 7-14: Investigate what it means to be water vulnerable and learn more about the symptoms and causes of water vulnerability. Try the Learn and think about water vulnerability session plan in Water Week for Schools. Ar gael yn Gymraeg: Wythnos Dŵr.
- 11-14: Use case studies of new mothers and a midwife in Ghana to investigate ways of improving healthcare for pregnant women. See Explore Birth Rights.

Theme 3: Education, skills and jobs

- 7-14: Send My Friend to School is run by the UK coalition of the Global Campaign for Education (of which Oxfam is a member). Find out more about the barriers to education and why 58 million children around the world are still out of school.
See Oxfam's Send my Friend to School 2015. Further resources are available on the Send My Friend to School  website.
Ar gael yn Gymraeg: Danfona fy Ffrind i'r Ysgol. 

Theme 4: A just world - Gender equality/Justice and peace

Political Solutions​

We lobby leaders to influence international responses to conflicts and disasters, raising funds for relief work and pressing for swifter aid and ending the root injustices.

Theme 5: Sustainability

- 7-11: Work in a group to discuss, choose and plan an action to take against climate change.                 Try Session 6 in Climate Challenge (7-11).               Ar gael yn Gymraeg: Her Hinsawdd.
- 7-14: Develop English skills and learn about how, with the support of Oxfam, hundreds of families who survived the 2010 earthquake in Haiti are now growing fruit and vegetables in their backyards or on rooftops. See Session 10 in Stories from Haiti (7-11) and Stories from Haiti (11-14).
- 11-14: Get active by learning about climate change, writing or drawing personal messages to your MP and holding an MP meeting. See For The Love Of...   

Theme 6: The Environment - Protect the planet

- 7-11: Explore how some communities around the world are being affected by climate change and how they are adapting to it.                                          Try Sessions 4 and 5 in Climate Challenge (7-11).      Ar gael yn Gymraeg: Her Hinsawdd.
- 11-14: Use a vulnerability game, case studies and role to learn more about how some communities around the world are being affected by climate change and how they are adapting to it.                                Try Sessions 4 and 5 in  Climate Challenge (11-14).   Ar gael yn Gymraeg: Her Hinsawdd

Theme 7: The Global Goals - Global consciousness


Expert Martin Woodhead discusses the goals


Global Project Ideas

Inspiring starting points for Global Projects

Global Project Ideas provide an excellent starting point for pupils wanting to do a project based on Global issues, whether as part of the CREST Awards Scheme;  as an extended project for their Duke of Edinburgh Award or A level, or as part of the Children's University Passport.
Our 'Getting Started' document is for both teachers and pupils and explains how the Global Project Ideas fits within the different schemes.  The five Global Project Ideas sheets links to the Global Goals or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and give pupils ideas for a project and lots of links to other resources. 
The teacher resources and pupil resources have been adapted from materials developed as part of our Girls into Global STEM EU funded project.  They encourage classroom activites around global isues.
For more resources on global issues, which can be used to support the Global Project ideas please look at our Global goals materials. 

Getting started

Clean water and sanitation

Gender equality

Climate action

Affordable and clean energy

Zero hunger

Sustainable cities and communities

This project is funded
by the European Union.

Design for a better world


Design For A Better World

Thank you to all the schools and students who entered the Design For A Better World competition.  
We are delighted to announce the Top fifty winning designs. The certificates and prizes will be with you shortly.
Design for a better world offers an exciting new global design challenge for students aged 11-14 years.
If offers students the opportunity to:
  • Learn about the Global Goals for Sustainable Development
  • Access a range of global contexts including Water and Sanitation, Food Security and Climate Action in which to identify a design problem
  • Explore a range of  technologies that people are developing around the world to address global challenges.
All the teaching materials and student activity sheets are available to download below. To order your FREE poster that supports this challenge, click here.
For display materials and other activites around the Global Goals please go to our Global Goals main page

Teacher's notes

Contains all the information needed to deliver the Design For A Better World Challenge and competition.

Student Sheets (All)

A single file with all of the student activity sheets to run the challenge.

Notes on the World's largest lesson video

A question sheet for students to answer having watched the video.

Can Technology help?

An activity to identify which technologies could help to reach the Global Goal targets.

Research and Design Ideas

Sheets for students to capture their research findings and design ideas. These sheets are the essential for the competition entry.

Power Point

A presentation to support teachers to deliver the Design For A Better World challenge and competition.


A full colour poster to support the Design a Better World challenge.

World Fact and the Global Goals

An activity to match the Global Goal symbols to their targets and world facts.

Technology Solutions?

Photographs of a range of existing global technologies that could help reach the Global Goal targets.

Five Global Goal information sheets

Sheets providing students with contextual information and research links on five of the Global Goals.

Youth Perspective: Youth Action Guide on the SDGs


A guide for youth as the ECOSOC Youth Forum concludes at UN HQ
As the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum just finished convening at the United Nations in New York, we reflect once again on the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their relevance to youth. In a recent piece, Karkara along with Ragan described how relevant the SDGs were to youth—the article highlighted that youth are an integral aspect of the goals, and every goal requires youth participation to succeed, especially with the largest youth population, under 25, in the history of the human race. But how are youth to participate? How can they organize? What is it that youth can start doing to actually make an impact under the SDGs? Here we provide youth with a simple guide to get started under each SDG:
Photo Credits to Sailesh Singhal.
Photo Credits: Sailesh Singhal.
SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Young people can create awareness on goal 1 through traditional and progressive media, including social media. Young people can also write blogs, focusing on youth and poverty as well as youth in poverty. ONE is an “international campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa… because the facts show extreme poverty has already been cut by 60% and can be virtually eliminated by 2030, but only if we act with urgency now”: Blogs can be linked to
SDG 2: End Hunger Achieve Food Security and Improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Young people can get involved in their local communities by raising awareness about food security, participating in food drives, and helping support food programs at homeless shelters through volunteer activities. Students can access the resources of the World Food Program online. Yet another resource: the Super Food Drive specifically organizes food drives for youth.
SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Youth can start by learning more about health and sanitation, and taking precautionary measures to avoid the spread of disease, as well as teaching these precautionary measures in their communities. Youth can join the Rotary Club’s initiative to end Polio globally. Youth can further raise awareness about the health risks of smoking tobacco. Resource: The Red-Cross has numerous volunteer programs catering to youth, including leadership camps with a focus on health.
SDG 4: Ensure Inclusive and equitable quality education and promote  learning opportunities for all                                                                       
Students can encourage their peers to attend class and spread awareness on the importance of education in their community. Marginalized groups and groups that are likely to leave school or university should be encouraged to stay. The UN Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) provides excellent resources on ensuring inclusive and equitable education. Teach for All, covers a wide range of countries and offers similar opportunities. Youth can also get involved with the Malala fund and reading the Brookings Foundation report on what works.
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Youth should join many of the advocacy campaigns in the gender equality and women’s empowerment space. Through its advocacy initiatives at the global, regional and national levels, the UNiTE campaign is working to mobilize individuals and communities. In addition to supporting the long standing efforts of women’s and civil society organizations, the campaign is actively engaging with men, young people, celebrities, artists, sports personalities, private sector and many more”. Students should read about and look for activities supporting UN Women’s “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality campaign, which asks governments to make national commitments to address the challenges that are holding women and girls back from reaching their full potential”. Youth should also sign up for the HeForShe campaign to take a stand on gender equality and women’s rights. “Students can also partner the MAN UP campaign to support gender equality: .
SDG 6: Ensure available and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Young people can work with their local bodies to post signs next to water bodies, wells, and other water sources asking individuals not to pollute or waste water. Students can also implement rain harvesting at their homes and schools. Students can get involved with World Water Day on 22nd March or join the Sanitation for All campaign, collecting data and implementing action on sanitation: Get involved.
SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Young people can participate in setting up solar panels on their roofs and in their schools and universities. Students can make use of many programs offered by UNEP Tunza, specifically tailored for youth. Tunza regularly organizes youth related programs around the world. Youth can also take part in Earth Day and join the Earth Day Networks initiatives to plant trees globally.
SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Youth can organize job fairs and workshops to help their peers sharpen skills necessary to be more employable in the market. Youth can engage with the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, launched at the EOSOC forum on February 1, 2016. Another key resource is the Knowledge Gateway on Women’s Economic Empowerment”. Students can join AIESEC and make use of their resources.
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Students can get involved with entrepreneurship incubators and platforms to push their ideas ahead. Youth should read through UNIDO’s Youth Entrepreneurship Curriculum Program. Yet another resource for young entrepreneurs is the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance.
SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
Students can increase their exchange and dialogue with one another and foster peace and understanding. Students can collaborate on projects internationally  that allow them to help build a sense of harmony between cultures. The YWCA has strong campaigns to end racism and inequalities.  Youth should join the Indigenous Youth Caucus. Youth can also support equality in education for LGBTQ and marginalized youth by supporting the GRIN Campaign. Yet another initiative that is reducing inequalities with a focus on discrimination against disabilities is “World Enabled“. UN DESA also provides resources. Lions Club provides youth with the opportunity to understand other cultures and work towards reduced inequalities.
SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Youth can create a hotline for individuals to call during late night hours to ensure safety and a ready group of volunteers to respond in case of an emergency or contact officials. UN Habitat’s Youth division has numerous activities, publications, and programs that students can make use of. Youth can access more resources on preventing violence against women at the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Youth can start a compost project  in their house or school to ensure that food does not go wasted. Youth can take up organic farming projects as well, attempting to reduce chemical usage in production and improve production and consumption patterns. An example from UNDP’s Youth Organic Farming in Samoa.
SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Youth can start by carpooling and measuring and reducing energy consumption in their homes and schools. They can also join campaigns. The UNFCCC Youth portal is an excellent resource. The YMCA “Camp Climate” seeks to ensure strong youth participation in climate related action, and is a great resource for youth. Verdentum is a non-profit social network that will allow students around the world to work on programs co-launched with UN bodies, governments, and international organizations to make an impact. You can register to be considered for Verdentum at and read more about it here.
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development
Youth can petition to reduce over-fishing and pollution of water. The WWF provides material and has campaigns related to over-fishing.  You can find an organization in your region working on water-related issues.
SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Youth can organize local campaigns to reduce deforestation and can organize tree-plantations with indigenous varieties of plant life. Youth can join UNEP’s TUNZA Youth Network. The network is an excellent resource and method to collaborate with youth around the world on environmental sustainability issues. Youth can also participate in the Earth Day Network’s initiatives.
SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Students can organize legal clinics with local lawyers to help members of society that require legal aid, especially members of marginalized and under-served communities. Youth related organizations, schools, and universities can become members of the United Nations Academic Impact, individuals can access useful information, videos, and speeches. Another critical resource is the International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics (iKNOW Politics) is an online workspace. Youth can join the SCOUTS ‘Messengers of Youth’ project to promote peace. Adobe’s Project 1324 allows students to express themselves through creative means. 
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals:
Students can participate in UN surveys such as MyWorld2030 and big data platforms such as reach out to students and peers in their communities to participate. The Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth’s statics portal is an excellent database of youth-related information. Furthermore, you can now register your initiative and achieve the SDGs. Another excellent way for youth to get involved is to join some of Junior Chamber International’s projects around the world.  The Millennium Campus Network is a useful tool for university students to collaborate. The SDSN is a network of scientists and technical experts in support of the SDGs.
Ravi Karkara is the Co-Chair of WorldWeWant 2030 and Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary General, UN Women (@ravikarkara)
Rohit Pothukuchi is the Founder & President of Verdentum, Policy Specialist to the UN Human Settlements Program, and Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School (@rpothukuchi)

How to teach SDGs and Why

By Emily Reynolds

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals defined by the United Nations to tackle the world's biggest problems by 2030. Emily Reynolds of our schools team explains why it is in students' interest to know about the goals, and how teachers can teach them.
Why teach the UN's latest development goals?
The goals form a useful lens through which to look at the most pressing global issues. Hundreds of millions of people don't have enough food to eat; women still earn less than men and have fewer rights; plant and animal species are rapidly vanishing; and the gap between rich and poor is indeed getting wider.
More than 40 per cent of the global population are between the ages of ten and 24 – the largest youth population ever. To solve the world's problems, the next generation needs to know what those problems are. A good way to ensure this is to teach them about the SDGs.
Studying the goals is part of a broader, international approach to learning. Our research shows (PDF download, 0.8 MB) that this improves academic skills, helps learners’ mental and moral development and motivates them. It also helps students find jobs (PDF download – 0.2 MB) when they leave school.
For teachers, it's energising to teach fresh material. It can give their professional development a boost, especially if there's the opportunity to take online courses or to lead a programme on the SDGs.
For schools, there's a positive influence on their ethos and relationship with the local community. Plus, learning about the wider world helps schools meet inspection requirements.
How can teachers start teaching the SDGs?
You could start by working out what subject matter related to the 17 goals already exists in your curriculum. If you make small changes to increase that focus, it becomes more manageable. Even the most enthusiastic teacher will struggle to prioritise the goals in their day-to-day teaching, if it means a lot of extra work.
For an introduction to the SDGs, you could show pupils The World’s Largest Lesson, an animated film written by Sir Ken Robinson and introduced by Malala Yousafzai. After watching the video, you might ask your students to choose one of the goals and design a campaign poster to promote it, with a practical suggestion on how the goal could be met.
You can also tie the goals into classes you're already teaching. Project Everyone has some good examples of how you can use the 17 goals in the classroom. Let's take the second goal, 'No Hunger', as an example. You could incorporate it into an English class by asking students to analyse media stories on hunger; a maths class by asking pupils to calculate daily nutrition requirements; a geography class by showing students the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's Hunger Map;  or a history class by asking students to research and compare characteristics of historic famines.
Ideally, the whole school should be involved. You may have to win over colleagues at first, by talking about the SDGs at school meetings and sharing examples of what's possible. You could also organise a student ‘task force’ on the goals, giving children the chance to lead assemblies and blog about their topic.
What other resources are available for schools that want to do this?
As well as the teaching material mentioned above, the British Council offers a free, downloadable schools pack (PDF download – 0.5 MB) on the SDGs. Oxfam has lesson plans with SDG themes for different age groups, plus advice on incorporating global themes into the whole school's activities. UNICEF's resources give a general overview of the goals. Finally, Practical Action has free resources for teachers, specifically designed to help them teach the goals.
A further idea might be to look for a school partnership through the British Council. We have collaborative project templates for lessons based on the Sustainable Development Goals, which you can adapt to match your school’s needs. They’re also available to partner schools abroad.
Can you give an example of a school that's doing this well?
At Torriano Primary School in London, even the youngest children in the nursery classes know what the SDGs are. The headteacher worked with an external consultant to map the goals onto the existing curriculum, organise staff training days, and encourage teachers to read about them. They decided to teach one SDG theme per term to the whole school.
At the school, one teacher acts as a central co-ordinator on the SDGs. Other subject teachers lead on goals related to their area of expertise, and share resources with their peers.
Another school that's approached the SDGs in a creative way is the D.A.V. Public School in Ludhiana, India. This school is taking part in our International School Award, which encourages an international outlook in schools. The students are planning to hold Skype sessions with other school groups around the world to discuss the goals, and are also organising a series of after-school debates with other local schools on themes related to the SDGs.
What about getting parents and the community involved?
Children may enjoy teaching their parents about the SDGs. At Torriano Primary School, pupils asked parents and carers to complete a questionnaire about the SDGs, with questions asking how many goals there were, and whether they could name any. Next, the pupils plotted a graph comparing which SDGs the parents and children saw as the biggest priorities. The parents were set 'homework' on the SDGs, to be evaluated alongside their children's, to see whether there was a shift in attitudes.
The students also opened a successful food waste café at a school exhibition on climate change. Inspired by the twelfth goal, 'Responsible Consumption', they collected unused and nutritious ingredients from friends, families, the school kitchen, and shops in the community.
At D.A.V. Public School in India, the students are developing a public Facebook page to encourage their local community to get involved in discussions about the SDGs. The students also had the idea of engaging with other people living in Ludhiana on issues related to the goals through the Smart Cities Challenge. This is a competition that is meant to get city officials to come up with ways to improve people's lives, and Ludhiana has been nominated to take part.
Download the British Council's schools pack (PDF download – 0.5 MB) on the Sustainable Development Goals, and find other classroom resources on related topics.
Download lesson plans and resources to take part in The World's Largest Lesson on 19 September 2016.