UNICEF at 70 commemoration kicks off in Sudan with children on “The SDGs & ME…”
UNICEF Sudan kicked off the count down to the global UNICEF's 70th anniversary commemoration with a workshop for adolescents from the Khartoum region, on “The SDGs & Me…the way I see them”.
The workshop activity co-hosted with the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW) targeted 60 adolescents between the ages of 13 & 17 years, representing the largest urban areas of Khartoum, including Khartoum center and Omdurman. The children came from mixed and varied backgrounds, including students from schools and other learning centres, street children, children from religious institutions, children with disabilities, and refugee children from South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Beyond the contribution to the 70 years commemoration, the workshop aimed to reinforce the core UNICEF principle of child participation, in Sudan, on issues affecting their wellbeing. The workshop also served as a training platform and allowed children to have their first basic knowledge on the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
“I once heard about the SDGs when watching news, but I had no idea of what this expression meant, said, 14 year old young Aboubaker Suhib Yousof; a student from Khartoum. “This workshop gave me the opportunity to discover what they were about, in a funny and amusing way. Our supervisor is real fun”, Abubaker said, smiling.
The workshop which was held on the 5th to the 6th of December, gave an opportunity to children to redefine the SDGs using their own words, and the way they understood them. Following a child friendly presentation on the SDGs by UNDP, where the presenters developed and explained the general context, and defined SDGs, children were given the floor to comment and question the presenters. It was an engaging discussion with some challenging questions such as how every goal connects to the others and how to implement them according to the Sudan context.
“I immediately connected with the Education goal; said Aowatif Saif Abdalrahim, a 14 year old girl from Bahri, in eastern Khartoum area. Think about it: Education is the key to every success in life. It opens and widens every door to success. When selecting our work groups; I even strongly requested from the facilitator to include me in the education goal.” 2
For 17 year old Saba Mamay, from the Ethiopian refugee community, the SDG 16 on Peace Justice and Strong institutions was the first priority. Because for her “without peace and security, nothing among all these things can be done or realized: no school, no development, people will lack food, the quality of health will be below zero degree ... We need first peace before thinking about everything else", she said.
Children were very expressive in interpreting and displaying their understanding of the SDGs through creative writing, role plays, drawings and poetry. They identified five key priorities for children in Sudan with Education as priority one followed by health, no hunger, poverty and gender equality.
Muayed Habib Alhadi a 14 year old physically challenged young man who acted in a participatory role-playing game on gender equality as promoted by the SDG 5 said "The short role play on having two chairs, one for a boy and other for the girl, instead of having a single chair and having the girl get up for the boy to sit was our way of showing the need to offer equal opportunities to boys and girls without discrimination.. At home, we do not discriminate against my sisters; I even find that they are more pampered than me! I would like to see this practice spread throughout Sudan. That is why I got involved in this role play". The play was showed during the closing ceremony attended by the Secretary General of the National Council for Child Welfare, Ustaza Souad Abd A’al, the UNICEF Sudan Representative Abdullah Fadil and a cross section of UNICEF staff, representatives from the NGO community, civil society members and the Medias.
The commemoration of UNICEF@70 – on the theme ‘For Every Child – Hope’ continues in Sudan with a press conference today 8th December, the announcement of the appointment of Nancy Ajaj as UNICEF Sudan National Ambassador and a two day public advocacy event on 15th and 16th December at 6:00pm each evening, at the Green Yard.
Key Sudanese artists will be partnering with UNICEF around the children’s agenda to bring Hope to Every Child. These include amongst others Nile, a famous Sudanese singer who was second on' The Voice' competition on MBC and well-liked by youngsters including, Mohammed Ali a young Sudanese Reggae artist and Radio presenter on Vision and he hosts a show on Vision 101.3 FM, Igd Al Jalad - advocates for children 3 especially through the Saleema Initiative - combating traditional harmful practices, Sudan drums and Salute Yal Bannot an all-female band
especially through the Saleema Initiative - combating traditional harmful practices, Sudan drums and Salute Yal Bannot an all-female band comprising students from Ahfad University.
‘The greatest resource of any country is not its natural resources but its children. Let us together invest in the health, education, protection and wellbeing of all children in Sudan’.