Written by S. P. Mohanty and A.K. Duraiappah
The Sustainable Development Goals, are seventeen ambitious “Global Goals” endorsed by 193 countries to help us achieve the “Future We Want”. These Goals have been strategically designed to be general enough to exhaustively cover all the major problems the world faces at the moment. But the same “generalizability” poses a problem; mobilizing a large number of people becomes difficult mostly because these goals now seem like a moonshot making a single person feel powerless to do anything about it. The T-learning team located in India approach attempts to overcome this through crowdsourced SDG monitoring; a bottom-up model of community mobilization. Below is a summary of a paper they are developing on this methodology.
We urge citizens across the world, to simply focus on local issues that they “care” about; local issues that their community suffers from, local issues that they relate to. For example, an individual would be inclined to volunteer to teach english during the weekends in the local village school to contribute towards improving the literacy of village children versus being asked to asked to help achieve Universal Primary Education.
We urge these local community members to point out such local issues, contemplate what could be actions to help solve the issue, and contemplate on the indicators of change to monitor changes in the status of these issues. It is much easier for someone to be motivated to pick the issue that they have the means to help solve once a repository of such pressing issues and their associated actions are available. In fact, the whole exercise of contemplating about the local issues and their possible solutions and indicators is one of the most important and educative first steps of achieving the goal.
It is important to understand that in this process of aggregating the issues that communities across the globe face, we also empower new communities to learn from how other communities are tackling a particular issue, hence giving them a head start in terms of preparing to deal with an issue; in other words a bottoms up “best practises” global resource base to be used by all communties.
Now the next question would be is how would the information on Issues, Actions and Change reported by the local communities be used for action. Lets us illustrate the usefulness of the data with a simple example. Lets us assume we focus on a single issue such as Garbage on Roads. We then imagine every reported instance of this issue as a Red blip on a spatial map in realtime.