The UN Sustainable Development Goals – How our programmes and partnerships are aiming to contribute.

A brighter future is within our grasp, if we are able to embrace collaboration across sectors to achieve it. At Apps for Good, we are aiming high.

In January 2016, the United Nations outlined seventeen broad reaching, global development goals to reduce poverty and hunger by 2030. Across the seventeen, there are 169 targets for the world to hit and 301 different indicators outlined to track progress.

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As an impact focused non-profit organisation, Apps for Good and our partnerships with businesses, schools, educational organisations and policy makers are aiming to make an impact in line with some of these goals, targets and indicators in order to ensure that we are contributing where we can to this drive towards a better future.

As part of this broader group of stakeholders business has an important part to play if the world is to achieve what is needed by 2030 to hit many of the targets set by the UN. Lila Karbassi, Chief of Programmes at UN Global Impact states that:

“There is growing understanding – especially by business leaders and investors ahead of the curve – that it is not enough for companies to concern themselves only with short-term profits because natural disasters, social unrest or economic disparity can damage long-term prosperity. The businesses that understand this challenge and take action will be a step ahead.”

At Apps for Good, the businesses that we work with such as Thomson Reuters, SAP and Salesforce do understand this challenge, and focus resources on contributing to wider society through the form of their own programmes, their commitments to sustainability in people and supply chain, and both in-kind and financial support for a wide range of organisations working towards similar goals such as ourselves.

Through this commitment and understanding, our partners drive us forward to achieve the maximum impact that we can by contributing to strategy, offering expertise and providing financial support for our programmes. This collaboration is vital to our continuing impact on young people, as well as maintaining our relationship with schools.

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How is Apps for Good contributing to the UN SDG targets and indicators currently?

There is one SDG target that aligns seamlessly with our charitable mission.  

SDG four focuses on ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

An important target for this broader goal is SDG target 4.4, and indicator 4.41:

“By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship”

With the indicator:

“Proportion of youth and adults with information and communications technology (ICT) skills, by type of skill”

The primary focus of our charitable mission is to ensure that we are driving an increase in both technical and soft skills to prepare young people for the future job market.

We take building confidence and resilience as seriously as we do programming and coding, powering young people to think about the world that they live and apply new skill sets to their own projects.

Our impact metrics have shown over the past seven years that our materials are successful in achieving increases in these skill areas as well as increased engagement and aspiration in young people from a broad range of socio-economic, gender and ethnic backgrounds.

There is a current skills gap in the UK and Apps for Good’s other areas of operation such as Portugal, Poland and the United States in skills such as programming and coding as well as understanding the mechanisms behind technology. Combined with the entrepreneurship and confidence focused nature of our programmes, we believe young people on our courses are receiving excellent grounding and preparation for becoming the technology and business leaders of tomorrow, both in employment and self-employment.

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Our hopes for the future and how our broader impact can contribute to the UN SDGs

In addition to the impact that our programme is currently making on the ground, driving potential for the next decade and beyond is a big part of our mission statement. Putting students in the lead we are aiming to nurture an attitude that anyone can be an innovator, and focus our resources on young people facing barriers to their success.

Our courses aim to show young people that problems that they care about can be approached from different angles, and solutions are never as far away as you might think.  The ninth Sustainable Development Goal focuses on “building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation”.

We believe that Apps for Good is one of a number of organisations aiming to ensure this future by helping to foster growth mind-set in young people today, so as to ensure they are best prepared to make that future a reality.  

Our courses have already seen success in engaging students that were previously disengaged, and provides opportunities for extremely impactful interactions with industry. Interactions with industry role models are a key driver for re-engagement with education and lowers the risk of becoming NEET (not in employment, education or training). Reducing the number of young people globally that are NEET is a key target within the SDG 8, focused on promoting economic growth and sustainable employment.

Apps for Good hopes to build on our proof of impact in this regard, piloting a new programme targeted specifically at UK Opportunity Areas during the 2017/18 academic year, with a view to providing more for schools in challenging circumstances moving forward into the next decade.

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Engaging Young People in Social Good & Sustainability

Whilst students on our courses lead on their own ideas, the common thread between all of them is that they are encouraged to work towards a solution that benefits society, however broad or niche the idea.

In the past, student App ideas have covered issues that are related to UN SDG priorities from environmental and agriculture based solutions to personal finance and care. It is our hope that instilling a sense of social leadership in young people will help to continue the legacy of the Sustainable Development Goals moving towards 2030.

Our partners are an important part of helping to shape these ideas. Idea generation is the most popular Expert Session on our courses, and in-person Engagement with our partners often centres around idea generation.

For example, at the end of February, students on the Apps for Good course will be attending the Salesforce offices to take part in their “Earthforce” day, shaping ideas for technology solutions that have a positive impact on the environment.

As we mentioned, we are aiming high. But we believe that with the help of teachers and businesses, young people on our courses will receive outcomes that contribute to the advancement of the Sustainability Goals, and in future will help to shape the solutions to some of the world’s biggest and broadest problems themselves.

If your organisation would like to get involved in helping us make an impact, please get in touch with us at partnerships@appsforgood.org. Working together we can collaborate to make our contribution to a vital global mission.

 

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