On 25th September 2015, with the eyes of the world on them, 193 world leaders met in New York to commit to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. These aim to achieve 3 things by 2030:
- End extreme poverty
- Fight inequality and injustice
- Fix climate change
On 26th September 2015, with significantly less international media attention, two international trainers flew from the UK to Sudan to start another Nile Swimmers programme. These programmes aim to achieve the 3 Nile Swimmers principles:
- Everyone has the right to safe access to water
- Everyone has the right to enjoy the water safely
- Everyone has the right to know how to safely help someone in difficulty
Whilst these two events might appear to share very little except timing, the work of Nile Swimmers contributes towards the Global Goals in more ways that you might think.
Nile Swimmers works in Africa because we know that drowning is a tragedy that overwhelmingly affects the world’s poor with over 90 % of drowning deaths occurring in low and middle income countries. Nile Swimmers’ training programmes seek to change that. That training contributes to Goal 10 – Reduced inequalities. The training courses that we run are based around helping communities to help themselves. We want every community to know how to protect themselves and future generations from the risks of drowning. That helps us to contribute to Goal 11 – Sustainable cities and communities. Not only that, but by promoting well-being around the water and making the water a safer place for recreation and sport, people can live healthier lives. That means we are also contributing to Goal 3 – Good health and well-being.
Every training course that Nile Swimmers runs is designed with the environment and culture in mind, but is also based on the best and most up-to-date scientific knowledge available. That’s because we believe in achieving Goal 4 – Quality education! This year Nile Swimmers took a massive step forwards with Goal 5 – Gender equality. You have probably seen in these blogs that in March 2015, we ran our first programme that involved women. In Sudan, where men and women are separated in many aspects of day-to-day life, drowning will never be prevented if only half the population are educated on how to stay safe and how to help those in difficulty.
In October, Nile Swimmers ran the first Pool Lifeguard Programmes for men and for women in Sudan. This training allows them to find jobs as lifeguards both in Sudan and further afield, which is a step towards Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth.
Since the first programme in 2007, Nile Swimmers has drawn together people from across many different towns, tribes, countries, and walks of life. In some cases, we have seen and experienced an initial distrust of those that are seen as different. Through working alongside one another, people are able to find common ground and common goals. These similarities are a great reminder that deep down, people are more similar than they are different. Understanding that is the cornerstone to building peaceful and inclusive societies, which means that we are inadvertently contributing to Goal 16 – Peace and justice strong institutions.
Finally, nothing that we do is done in isolation. Nile Swimmers works closely with some fantastic partner organisations in Sudan to ensure that the right training is reaching the right people. Without the hard work of our partner organisations, including the Sudanese Sea Scouts, the Sudanese Swimming Federation, the Civil Defence and the Ministry of Education, none of the work that we do would be possible. That’s Goal 17 – Partnerships for the goals.
What do you think of the Global Goals and the work that Nile Swimmers does? Are there Global Goals that we contribute to and have overlooked?