Volunteers at a tree planting project led by Green Futures initiative - Uganda.
The truth is tomorrow will be too late to begin action. Each and every one of us needs to take that decisive step today to ensure we succeed in building the better future we envision.
Globally, climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time.
If we do not take action to address climate change, the consequences will be severe, leading to widespread food insecurity, displacement and conflict. Africa, in particular, will be severely affected by such consequences with seven of its countries ranking within the top ten of countries most at risk of climate disaster1. But climate change is not the only critical issue.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015, identify and address what we have collectively agreed as a global community, as the most important issues facing our world today, including poverty, hunger, climate change and inequality.
A volunteer seating on a heap of plastic collected from the streets of Douola, Cameroon during the 'cleanup Day project'.
If we are to achieve the SDGs, we need to all work together. We need to see the SDGs not as a challenge but as an opportunity to build a better future for ourselves and for generations to come.
We have always been passionate about advancing science and innovation to find solutions that contribute to overcoming challenges impacting us all. The question now is – how can we use our expertise, talents and passions to transform the communities we live and work in?
The answer is not – and never has been – easy, but it provides a great first step is to team up with other like-minded individuals, organizations and communities and that’s exactly what we’re doing on the African content as well.
For the past two years, we partnered with LEAP Africa, Africa’s most prominent youth-focused leadership development organization, to host a Pan-African youth-led social impact campaign, the Youth Day of Service (YDoS).
YDoS is an annual month-long initiative aimed at renewing the spirit of active citizenship among African youth with an emphasis on spreading the culture of service and collective responsibility. The campaign seeks to inspire African youth to be social change agents by fostering the spirit of service to the community and volunteerism, focusing on the SDGs.
YDoS offered a unique opportunity to contextualize our 2025 sustainability goals and supported us to contribute to achieving global goals by raising awareness for the importance of SDGs within the African youth community. By partnering with young members of our society, we created social impact by advancing sustainable solutions, building inclusive communities and developing tomorrow’s innovators.
In the past two years, close to 10,000 volunteers registered and implemented over 500 projects during the month-long campaign. The participants represented a broad spectrum of African youth communities from 34 African countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Algeria, Sierra Leone, Mali, Madagascar, Ghana, The Gambia, South Sudan and South Africa.
All 17 SDGs were addressed in one way or another within implemented projects which reached an estimated 10 million individuals. Under goal 1 of the SDGs (No Poverty), more than 10 skill acquisition sessions were organised to empower vulnerable people to earn income. Over 200 people were reached by activities conducted under this particular activity.
Participants at the 'vocational training for Women project' in Lagos, Nigeria.
Similarly, to address SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, a group of volunteers in Ghana was responsible for empowering other young people with hard and soft skills to help them start their own businesses. Some of the vocational skills taught during the project include phone repairs, liquid soap production and make-up, after which they were given seed capital as investments.
Participants at the 'Microenterprise project' at Nalerigu, Ghana.
Over 30 cities and community clean-ups were implemented across countries to address SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, whilst 4,970 trees were planted in more than five countries. Done in accordance with SDG 13: Climate Action, this was accompanied by over 20 sensitization activities on the causes, consequences, and solutions to climate change.
The truth is tomorrow will be too late to begin action. Each and every one of us needs to take that decisive step today to ensure we succeed in building the better future we envision. Together, we can build a better future for all. Let’s apply our products, technology, and expertise for the greater social good and for our planet.
Mumbi Keega, Public Affairs and Citizenship Manager Africa