Happy Global Goals Week! Every year, we come together to celebrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how people around the world are working to make them a reality.
In 2015, the United Nations launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals aka The Global Goals “to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity”. UN member states, including Malaysia, are actively striving to achieve these Goals by 2030 to ensure a sustainable world for all. Global Goals Week spotlights these efforts with an annual week of “action, awareness and accountability”. People of all backgrounds, including young people, unite to organize events, participate in actions, and advocate for the SDGs.
Young people play an undeniably crucial role in shaping a sustainable future. Since we are the ones who will inherit and impact the planet for decades. While getting involved may initially appear daunting, take heart in the fact that these young Malaysians are setting an incredible example!
Project ID: Quality Education (Goal 4)
A recent mentorship session organized by Project ID.
Education is key for sustainable development! Project ID is a social enterprise (and a UNICEF partner) aiming to empower students using skills and leadership training. It was founded by Teach for Malaysia alumni and focuses on students from low-income communities. Using online workshops and longer-term in-person programmes, Project ID teaches young people about personal development, career planning, entrepreneurship, leadership, and more. I spoke to Kelvin Tan, CEO of Project ID, to learn more!
Q1: What does the government need to do to make soft skills development accessible to all students?
“Malaysian employers value soft skills like communication, problem solving, and emotional intelligence. We believe the education system should prioritize providing more students with quality soft skills education. Accordingly, we urge the system to reconsider how it measures student success. Currently, the focus is heavily on grades and exam results, often driven by parental expectations. We call upon the government to establish concrete Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for assessing soft skills as a crucial component of a student’s success, aligning with employers’ hiring needs and promoting a holistic approach to education.”
Q2: What’s the best Wifi name you’ve ever seen?
“Let’s Connect! #tolong bayar.”
GirlsInCodeSEA: Gender Equality (Goal 5)
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The girls who started GirlsInCodeSEA!
GirlsInCode Southeast Asia (GirlsInCodeSEA) was founded by a group of secondary school students trying to overcome the stigma against girls who code in Southeast Asia. Earlier this year, they organized a coding competition for nearly 100 female coders from 38 Southeast Asian schools. GirlsInCodeSEA’s current project is a fundraising campaign to set up and refurbish computer labs in Malaysian public schools. I spoke to Chloe Wong, one of the co-founders of GirlsInCodeSEA, to learn more.
Q1: What improvements should the Malaysian government make to improve gender equality in coding and STEM?
“The most important thing is fostering both interest and confidence in girls from a young age. One of the biggest barriers to entry into CS (Computer Science) is self-exclusion. Girls often feel disincluded or ‘less suited for’ careers in tech when compared to their male counterparts. Therefore, ensuring they’re supported and encouraged to develop an interest is really important. Additionally, fostering an inclusive environment for learning is key. Women, myself included, often feel like the only woman in the room. Clubs and organizations like GirlsInCodeSEA are great first steps to creating affinity groups that give women a place to belong and feel comfortable exploring CS within.”
Q2: If you could be a guest star on any show, which would you pick?
“Jeopardy! I love trivia games!”
Mogesh Sababathy: Climate Action (Goal 13)
Mogesh discussing his ocean-related work
At just 25, Mogesh Sababathy is not only a PhD candidate in Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering but also a passionate ocean and climate advocate as well as a UNICEF Youth Climate Champion. He has represented youth perspectives at climate conferences hosted by the United Nations, various governments, and organizations. Additionally, Mogesh regularly contributes articles to the media, addressing issues such as haze and floods. He has delivered impactful talks on climate and youth activism to diverse audiences. I chatted with him to get his thoughts on climate change
Q1: In what areas does Malaysia lag behind other Southeast Asian countries in terms of climate action?
“Our reliance on coal and fossil fuels, slow adaptation to climate change, and outdated development strategies raise concerns for me. Government subsidies for fossil fuels make it difficult to transition to cleaner energy sources. Widespread flooding causes significant natural disaster losses, and our climate heightens the risk of vector-borne diseases. Addressing these challenges requires reducing fossil fuel dependence, investing in climate adaptation, and improving the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process for more effective environmental impact mitigation in development projects. Enhanced coordination between federal and state authorities regarding environmental regulations is crucial. It’s time to prioritize these issues and collaborate for a greener future.”
Q2: If you were auditioning on The Voice, which song would you sing?
“Exile by Taylor Swift!”
Sparking Change for a Better World!
I’m so inspired by the work these young Malaysians are doing!
I hope that learning about their work will inspire you to take action too. Whether it’s starting your own project, volunteering for a NGO, or making your lifestyle more sustainable, there are many ways for you to help achieve sustainable development. Moreover, consider exploring different avenues for engagement. For instance, I love climate advocacy, and I plan to start doing more work on gender equality.
Now, here’s my simple challenge for you: scroll through the Global Goals Week website and join an event!
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