It is now official, the MDGs(Millennium Development Goals) expired already and we now have what is called the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). The goals were signed to be implemented by Heads of Member States of the United Nations towards the end of 2015. Nigeria, as a member state of the United Nations was ably represented by the President of the Federation, His Excellency General Mohammad Buhari, who after going through the goals assented their implementation in Nigeria with his special interest in HIV/AIDS. The government of Nigeria agreed to kick start the implementation of the goals earlier this year (2016) not wanting history to repeat itself as regards the MDGs, which were implemented in 2005 against the agreed upon year by Member states in 2000. Five long years of delay really tell on the success in achieving the goals here in Nigeria, Hence, the quicker response in the process of implementation of the SDGs.
Unlike the MDGs, which were primarily drafted and agreed upon by older people, the process of drafting and implementation of the SDGs involved the youths from all over the world at all the stages both nationally and internationally. One of the steps taken in bridging the gaps between the old and young in the process of drafting and implementation of the goals was the establishment of a body called the ACT!2015, which is a social mobilization initiative that came into existence from the collaboration between PACT and UNAIDS to support the youths movement working on SRHR (Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights) and HIV (Human Immuno Deficiency Virus) at the global level, regional and national levels.
The ACT!2015 has completed three different phases of rigorous advocacy activities. This includes the ACT!2015 Nigeria, also known as the National Alliance, which consists of about 56 Nigerian youths and adolescents. they came up with a goal, which was: “Youth Friendly services that cater for the sexual reproductive health and rights of young people including access to comprehensive sexuality education and post abortion care for unsafe abortion victims.” Lots of advocacy exercises had been carried out by these young people and they have managed to successfully achieve this goal to a reasonable extent in the country. Establishment of Youth Friendly Services Centres and improvement in the services of existing centres are some of the outputs of their advocacy efforts.
The ACT!2015 is now in its 4th Phase, which deals with the SDGs implementation. The fourth phase kicked off in Nigeria at Abuja, the country’s capital with about 24 young people from the six geo political zones in the country. Goals 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing) 4,(Quality Education for all) 5 (Achieve Gender Equality), 16 (End inequality), 17(Global partnership) are the most vital for this phase. Goal 17 is included because it deals with global partnership.
The sole objective of the fourth phase of the ACT!2015 is to develop an effective accountable and transparent interventions at all levels through quantitative and qualitative data gotten by youth partners of the National Alliance.
The National Alliance were trained on monitoring and accountability, evaluation types of data and how to source for them in order to help them carry out the slated activities more effectively.
The 4-Day workshop was more than an enlightening programme, it was also an empowerment programme as participants were able to learn more about Monitoring and Evaluation, a germane aspect of social and community development work. The four identified sustainable development goals, which are very important for the all-round development of young people are expected to be worked on with the full participation of other young people who were not present at the workshop and policy makers who can help push for the achievement of the goals.