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July is a month boasting with SDGs once again reiterating the interconnectedness and interdependence of various factors in sustainable development. SDG#4 Quality Education, #5 Gender Equality, #14 Life below Water, #15 Life on Land, and #17 Partnership for the Goals might seem only loosely related at first, however, they all affect one another. Last month, we have written about how the ecosystem of our planet is dependent on the fragile synergy of aquatic and terrestrial habitats (life below water and on land). Quality Education is key to ensure that the next generation is mindful about climate change and the anthropogenic impact of our economies on nature and the climate. Education is also a tool to combat poverty and inequality and to promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle to all.

Both education, and climate change are gendered issues. Gender parity in schooling is a long way away in many places and worldwide, 5.5 million more girls than boys of primary school age were out of school in 2018. Simultaneously, climatic change tends to affect rural, indigenous women the most. This is due to the gendered division of labour which makes women more dependent on nature and natural resources making Gender Equality a top priority for sustainable development. Gender-based discrimination in education also leads to less skills and confidence for women resulting in less economic opportunity and independence, and vulnerability to violence.

To stop the further skewing of inequalities as well as the deterioration of the planet, ensuring the quality education of women and men on the issues of gender, climate change, and health is vital. Partnerships for the Goals represents just this: An overarching, multilateral and multilevel solution is required if we are to achieve sustainable development for just as nature’s components depend on each other, so do human communities across the Globe.

DanceIt SLP volunteers in a group hug representing community and partnership in volunteering
DanceIt project volunteers in a group hug

UCL educating for equality, the environment, and cooperation

UCL and Quality Education

Apart from providing world class education to its own students, UCL’s community is working tirelessly to ensure better conditions for primary, secondary, and higher education worldwide. The institution has high quality, open access databases to disseminate knowledge free of charge, and equitably. They also offer scholarships to those from disadvantaged backgrounds including African nationals directly supporting Target 4.9. Moreover, the UCL scholar community also contributes to research on how to combat poverty through education. The IoE has been at the forefront of a longitudinal study following the lives of children to shed light on the drivers and impacts of child poverty with an emphasis on education.

UCL and Gender Equality

Emphasising the inseparableness of SDGs, one gender equality-related project of UCL is combatting inequality in education. The IoE and UNICEF are partnered with African governments to ensure the end of gender-based violence in school across the continent. Women are disadvantaged in education as they face physical, sexual, and psychological violence in school endangering their safety and hindering their learning. The research team is raising awareness and evidence of the issue thereby prompting governments to take firm action and fill policy gaps.

Read more about Gender Equality in the March feature here.

UCL and Partnership for the Goals

Everyone can help to ensure the success of Agenda 2030 and to achieve sustainable development. UCL is doing its part through collaboration in research and implementation. Most of UCL’s SDG relevant activities are in partnership with other international organisations including various UN agencies and national governments. UCL shares knowledge to ensure best practice in all fields of sustainable development from economic, through environmental, to health aspects.

Read about UCL and SDG#14 and #15 here.

School girl and teacher solving a Maths problem in a Homework Club in 2018 - representing the importance of ensuring quality education to all
Solving a maths problem together at a homework club

Support a Goal-relevant charity

Support a Goal #4 charity

To combat inequality in education and to ensure the fair access of all, those socially disadvantaged need to be recognised, their needs surveyed, and their learning supported. The Cardinal Hume Centre provides families and young people who are in poverty or homeless with the support they need to realise their full potential. One of their main foci is education as a tool to empower people. As a Study Support Volunteer you will support children and young people with their studies thereby empowering them to learn and benefit from social mobility through education. Not in London at the moment? No problem! They are already recruiting for after the summer to help residents with homework and keeping up in school in the Autumn.

Check out the myriad of other tutoring opportunities that we have by using the ‘Tutoring and Mentoring’ filter under categories in the directory.

Three female UCL volunteers at a cheerpoint in a charity Half Marathon run in 2018 representing female power in volunteering
Cheering on charity runners at a Half Marathon

Support a Goal #5 charity

Combatting unequal gender relations through education is a vital tool in achieving an equal, and fair society. Beyond Equality have realised this and made it their mission. They work with men and boys to change perceptions and tackle gender inequality. Their main target audiences are primary, secondary, and university students who they encourage to challenge cultural norms, become allies to feminist and other gender-related causes, and to influence public discourse. Join as a Workshop Facilitator to teach the next generation about challenging and changing the status quo and being open.

Support a Goal #17 charity

The organisation I Have a Voice is working tirelessly to form partnerships between generations, disciplines, and professionals and students. Through bringing politicians and professionals into the classroom and through encouraging young people to use their voice, they are raising the next generation to believe in partnerships for sustainable development – both social, environmental, and economic. They are also among the winners of our summer volunteering grant and have put on a special one-off opportunity jut for UCL students! As a one-off researcher for IHAV you will learn about collecting and understanding data and working with others to foster change in education and combat racism. Are you interested in a longer-term position in making change happen? Become a Public Affairs Mentee and gain first-hand experience in policy, and local and global partnerships.

Read about the latest on Goal#14 and #15 charities to support here!

The scope of this month's SDGs is huge and the opportunities to support the cause infinite. As Goal#17 represents, it is everyone’s responsibility from governments to civil society to act on Agenda 2030 and to ensure that no one is left behind. As students, and as volunteers we can do our part by supporting projects that work for a better future for all, including people and planet.