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Young people inform their peers on the Sustainable Development Goals(c) UNDPI Yerevan After learning about the Sustainable Development Goals I cannot ignore them and I want to play my part in achieving them. And I will begin the change from myself and my surroundings.
The United Nations office in Armenia, namely the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNO/DPI) Office in Yerevan and the UNFPA Armenia have initiated an awareness raising campaign to ensure a greater involvement of youth in the process of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The first three events took place in the cities of Yerevan, Stepanavan and Gyumri from July 20 to August 18. What makes this initiative unique is that both trainers and trainees are young people, meaning that young people are allowed the opportunity to educate their peers on Sustainable Development Goals.
It all began in the Spring of 2017 when the United Youth Union, soon followed by the Y-Peer Armenia, expressed interest in visiting the United Nations Office to familiarise themselves with the Sustainable Development Goals and the processes for the implementation and progress of the SDGs in Armenia. A few months later, after several meetings and discussions with the United Nations staff, selected members from these organisations were ready to educate their peers on SDGs and the Agenda 2030 through a format of educational games developed by themselves.
Event 1: Yerevan
On July 20, nearly 40 young people representing not only the two initiator organisations but also the Masis Youth Centre and the Armenian UN Association, (the latter, since last year,  have already organized several events on SDGs for their volunteers and high-school children) gathered in the United Nations Office in Yerevan. The event led by Aza from the United Youth Union and Sargis from the Y-Peer Armenia with the assistance of 10 other members of their organisations, comprised of introductory, theoretical, practical and game segments.
During the theoretical segment the participants learned about the concept of sustainable development, the background story of the 2030 Agenda (in particular about the Millennium Development Goals) and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The practical segment allowed the participants to discuss issues existing in Armenia and in their communities proposing possible solutions.
Within the third segment the participants were divided into teams to take part in a web-based educational game. The game which was developed by the members of UYU and Y-Peer Armenia, was a test strengthening the knowledge received by the participants on the MDGs, SDGs and their implementation in Armenia. As planned, the winning team (which was the team from Masis Youth Centre), could take part in the upcoming event in Stepanavan, this time in the role of a facilitator.
Event 2: Stepanavan
The event in Stepanavan took place on August 4, with assistance from “Argina” and “Menq” local NGOs. Nearly 30 young people from Stepanavan and almost 15 young people from Yerevan took part in the event. In the practical segment the participants from Stepanavan came up with various ideas on how they themselves could contribute to the advancement of the SDGs. The discussion over the SDG 4 on Quality Education was particularly active: evidently, education was of primary concern among the participating young people.
At the end of the event all teams received awards according to their performance, as well as educational materials and publications related to the United Nations. Whatever else the participants gained other than awards they personally shared their thoughts with us:
“Before this event I knew almost nothing about the Sustainable Development Goals, whereas now I can proudly say, that I am quite informed on the topic and I’m eager to join the Team. To see these Goals achieved by the 2030 is a significant motivation to become a part of this project. I’ll be very pleased to share the knowledge I gained with my peers,” says Silvia Hakobjanyan from the winning team.
Another participant, Lilit Hakobjanyan added: “After learning about the Sustainable Development Goals I cannot ignore them and I want to play my part in achieving them. And I will begin the change from myself and my surrounding.”
Ani Ghazaryan told: “I’d wish to gain a deeper knowledge on the topic and join the Team in organising future events. I have no doubt that our team will be expanded and that by 2030 we will achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”
Event 3: Gyumri
The third event of the awareness raising campaign was held on August 18 in the city of Gyumri. Around 45 young people participated in the discussions and games with enthusiasm, considerable part of them being members of the Gyumri Youth Initiatives Centre. This time Alina, a representative of the Masis Youth Centre (the winner team of the first event in Yerevan) was among the moderators of the event, while a group of participating girls from Stepanavan event were among the facilitators. As usual, the participants presented their ideas regarding simple steps everyone could do to save the Planet. These ideas will be tuned and included in the localized version of the Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World. “We met many bright young people, got inspired and enthusiastic and spent a great time,” said Lida, one of the participants.
It is anticipated that after the outcomes of the first three events of the Campaign are discussed, analysed and wrapped up, the initiators from UNDPI and UNFPA will draft a proposal to present to the UNCT and UNCG for approval with the aim to expand the scope of the project allowing organization of similar events in other regions of Armenia.
In the result of this evolving campaign the young people far from the capital will receive an opportunity to not only learn about the activities of the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Agenda, but also to express themselves and participate in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda with their ideas, suggestions and projects.
These relatively informed young people will be able to realise their potential and implement their ideas particularly within the framework of SDG Lab which is being established by the joint efforts of the UN/ UNDP and the Government of the Republic of Armenia, for the benefit of the country where no one is left behind.
PHOTO ALBUM of the event in Yerevan
PHOTO ALBUM of the event in Stepanavan
PHOTO ALBUM of the event in Gyumri