Volunteering & the Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2017 I left my day job to pursue a career more in line with my values, to chase my dream of living sustainably both personally and professionally, while helping inspire others to live the same. While I spend most of my time here at The Eco Society and somehow being rather social during business hours, I also dedicate a chunk of my time to volunteering.

Dedicating some of my time to a volunteering position where I could help make a positive change has been on my mind for a while. So, when the opportunity for me to volunteer at Volunteering Auckland, an organisation who wanted to embrace a sustainable future, came along I jumped at it. The more I got to know about Volunteering Auckland and what they do the more I was excited to be a part of it. 

Volunteering Auckland UN Sustainable Development Goals SDGs Volunteer

The list of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals cover Poverty, Health & Well-being, Education, Skills & Jobs, A Safe & Fair World and combat Climate Change.

Have you heard about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Neither had I, but it intrigued me, and I was eager to know more. The UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs for short, are made up of 17 universal and inclusive goals. They have been built on the success of and modified based on the shortcomings of the Millennium Development Goals set prior to 2015. The UN states that the goals recognise that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

Well, of course, this has my name all over it, so it made sense for me to take a deep breath, stand tall and accept the challenge.  Head first into research I went, and I quickly learnt the significance of the SDGs and how my role as a volunteer was going to play an important part in helping to achieve the goals.

Goal 17 talks about how partnership is the key to positive change and the success of the SGDs and volunteer organisations are at the forefront of this. They have the ability to create awareness and educate a variety of people at all levels, creating long-term mindset change. Due to their wide-ranging networks, they have the capability to collect and analyse data which will help to monitor progress and offer supporting evidence of the SDG’s implementation.

Without the likes of Governments, non-profit organisations and corporate businesses it is likely we wouldn’t make much progress towards the bold commitment of the SDGS. That is why I am working hard with Volunteering Auckland to help connect these key stakeholders with volunteers, to create awareness, educate and inspire everyone to get involved. We have our work cut out for us, but there is a great bunch of highly motivated people helping to make the goals a reality, and I’m hugely proud to be part of this.

VOLUNTEERING AUCKLAND UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS VOLUNTEER NEW ZEALAND

Interested to find out more? Head on over to UN SDG website to learn about what the goals are, why they are important, why you should care and how you can help make a positive change as an individual – Click on the “Why it matters (PDF)” button under each goal for this information. There are some confronting facts but are also some great stories about the positive changes achieved by the Millennium goals.

My role as a volunteer is exciting and rewarding, and best of all it directly relates to what I set out to achieve with The Eco Society – that is to highlight the need for everyone to share in the responsibility of looking after the planet and each other to ensure a better future for everyone. I’m not going to lie, this is challenging, sometimes wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew, but I’m not going to give up because this is something that is so important to me.

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