The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted on September 25th, 2015 when countries set 17 goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Each of these goals has specific targets to be achieved over 15 years leading up to 2030. These goals involve governments, the private sector, civil society and every single person.
Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, 90% of humanity is not aware of the United Nations set goals. This low awareness can be attributed to the fact that the SDGs cover a range of complex social, economic and environmental challenges we currently face. The youth in Kenya have not being left behind as most do not well understand the concept of SDGs and what they entail. According to a report targeted towards university students in Kenya, only 45% understand the goals but not in a much broad perspective. This is compared to the 54% of an understanding among university students globally. India has an understanding of the SDGs at 54% which is followed by the USA and the UK. This is an inspiration for all developing countries to also get a deeper understanding of the SDGs. University students are expected to be broad-minded and understand these concepts such as the SDGs more in-depth since the university is a higher education level were many different concepts are discussed. It is imperative that at this level of education, the SDGs need to be well taught and understood and then be able to participate in the implementaion process.
This report done by MK- Africa in collaboration with TIFA Research shows SDG3 which focuses on Good Health and Well-being, SDG 4 Quality Education, SDG 5 on Gender Equality and SDG 6 on Clean Water and Sanitation are at +60% understanding by the youth. This is no surprise as health is critical for everyone no matter the health and access to good health care services is paramount for every individual which can also be interrelated to clean water and sanitation. University students are also well able to understand the importance of education and access to every child.
With environmental challenges increasing daily, Kenyan youth are concerned about environmental problems such as global warming (27%) and environmental pollution (15%). They are also concerned about poverty, unemployment and terrorism. The survey also noted the top 3 concerns for Kenyan youth are unemployment (16%), corruption (15%) and poverty (12%). Fortunately, 98% of the students who participated in the survey feel that SDGs can be used to solve the social, economic problems not only in Kenya but the world.
Universities offer a platform for students to be able to participate in extracurricular activities that broaden their perspectives towards life even after finishing their degree. 62% of those who have participated are involved in activities linked with the attainment of the SDGs. This is a good sign as university students may not well understand these concepts but they can be able to be involved in such.
Postgraduate students, however, have a higher understanding of the SDGs with 88% of the surveyed being highly involved in activities around the SDGs. This can signify that the higher the education level, the deeper the understanding of Sustainable development goals and the targets within.