Merit360 engages youths on sustainable development goals

Cross section of African delegates at the conference.

Cross section of African delegates at the conference.

Towards the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by year 2030, unique opportunity has been provided for youths across the globe, through the maiden edition of Merit360, to work together to create initiatives that would ensure the attainment of the targets.
    
At the just concluded international conference, held at the Indian Head Camp, Equinunk, Pennsylvania and Hostelling International, New York City, New York, which took place between August 26 and September 11, 2016, 360 young people between ages 18 and 30, who are nationalities of 84 countries, were brought together for the period.
   
World Merit is an international charity organisation, working with the youths to take on global goals that have been put in place by the United Nations. It is a UK based company founded by Chris Arnold and based in Liverpool, England.
  
The first phase of the programme, was a two-week training and brainstorming session. During the period, each participant also known as an Action Plan Executor was divided into the 17 different UN Sustainable Development Goals, which they applied under.
 
These goals include; no poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace, justice and strong institutions; and partnerships for the goals.
   
At the end of the first phase, each SDG Group proposed the global scaling of already existing projects that were changing the lives of people in local communities. These projects were presented before the United Nations in New York on September 9, which was the second phase of the conference.
  
Each SDG Group nominated for their various representatives presented their projects to the UN. One of these representatives was Joseph Jikeme, a delegate from Nigeria, who represented SDG 5-Gender Equality. He presented SDG 5’s social entrepreneurship project, KEEPER, which set a first time record for the largest gender equality campaign in the United Nations by asking all delegates to apply lipstick and take selfies for social media using 
#LetsFaceItPeriod and #Red360.
   
Jikeme was a British Council delegate under her Active Citizens programs. He has undergone training as a Facilitator of the Active Citizens Module. He was one of the nine delegates of the Active Citizens program that also included Anoka Abeyrathne from Sri Lanka; Khrystyna Zhuk from Ukraine; Yeabsira Bogale from Ethiopia; Mohamed Ghanem from Egypt; Maria Lipiak from Poland; Thiri Wai Lwin from Myanmar; Aqeelah Malek from UK; and Hodday Mahairi from United States of America.
  
The Active Citizens delegates were led by Jennie King, a British Council Assistant Director based in Egypt. The program is a social leadership-training program that promotes intercultural dialogue and community-led social development.
 
Jikeme told The Guardian that Merit360 provided a unique opportunity for young people across the globe, who are working on the SDGs to work together to create initiatives that would ensure the achievement of these goals by year 2030.

“These Action Plan Executors have successfully created Action Plan 001 and would work to ensure that these projects and campaign reach every country, using the over 116,000 members of World Merit and their offices in 126 countries.”
  
Other participants with Nigerian heritage at conference include Catherine Makwe, Chidera Onyeukwu, and Morenike DaSilva Ellimah of SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being; Bola Ajose of SDG 5 – Gender Equality; and Victoria Akintomide of SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
 
He advised Nigerians, especially youths to visit https://goo.gl/J8IytWorld Merit Official Press Release on https://goo.gl/J8Iytx, for more gists on the conference.

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