The Sustainable Development Goals and their reflection in AWO International’s Regional Portfolio South Asia

During the Sustainable Development Summit, held from 25th - 27th September in New York, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been adopted by the United Nations as the new basis for development till the year 2030. The regional portfolio of AWO International in South Asia follows a multi-dimensional social structure approach. 15 projects are implemented in 2015 addressing 13 of the 17 SDGs.  

Poverty reduction and promotion of gender equality are cross cutting issues that are addressed in all project interventions. Seven projects focus on SDG 1 and 2 by promotion of organic agriculture. Dependencies to middle men and on expensive production inputs shall be decreased and food security increased. This includes the introduction of new agriculture techniques, the promotion of market linkages and the diversification of food habits for better nutrition. Our program interventions promote SDG 12 “responsible consumption and production patterns”.

In the past year a clear increase of natural disasters and change of wetter patterns has impacted the life of many people, especially in the rural areas of South Asia. Droughts and floods got common and land degradation decreased income and promoted food insecurities. That’s why SDGs 13 and 15 are addressed in all rural livelihood projects; especially in one “Climate Change Adaptation Project” in the dry-belt of Maharastra / India, where bio-engineering structures and the re-introduction of traditional seeds help to mitigate the effects of climate change (CC) and where changes in land use patterns contribute to mitigate CC.
SDGs 3 & 4 are addressed in all livelihood projects. Here the access to governmental health services and private health insurances such as to primary education (for example by help of school enrolment campaigns and bridge classes for marginalized children to catch up with government systems) are facilitated. This includes awareness rising at target group level for the relevance of education, regular health check-ups, nutrition and immunization (especially for mothers and small children) but also the implementation of health camps in emergency situations. Currently a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Project is implemented focusing also on the eradication of Japanese Encephalitis in the flood prone areas of Uttar Pradhesh, India.

Gender Equality, as described in SDG 5 is promoted in all development and DRR projects. Beyond empowerment of Women to fight discriminatory practices and gender based violence and for equal rights (for example for equal payments at the job market but also concerning the decision making at household level), we focus on women in our safe migration and counter-trafficking projects. Here the social and economic re-integration of unsuccessful female migrants and survivors of human trafficking is promoted. To achieve gender equality we engage male as well in empowerment interventions.

Clean Water and Sanitation as highlighted in SDG 6 are mainly addressed in the three DRR projects implemented in India and Bangladesh but also during the recent earthquake response program after the devastating earthquake in Nepal (where Hygiene kits and water purification drops were distributed). In flood prone areas elevated hand pumps and toilets are supported.  

In Nepal and Bangladesh AWO International advocates for decent working conditions for labor migrants that are widely exploited in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries and Malaysia. In India safer intra-state level migration is addressed. Income generation activities (especially for unemployed youth) are supported in all development projects. The relevance of inclusive sustainable economic growth and decent work are also outlined in SDG 8.

South Asia is characterizes by wide social inequalities that are root in the traditional discriminatory cast system as well in high disparities between some very rich and the big majority of most poor population. All development projects focus on livelihood promotion of deprived communities (for example Dalit or marginalized ethnic groups) and people (for example widows and people with disability). To achieve this inclusive empowerment and planning processes such as self-organization of civil society in social structures (see graphic) are promoted at local level. Dialogue processes between target groups and government institutions and political representatives, as well as with other relevant stakeholders are supported at different levels. Access to rights, resources and public services are promoted as well as social harmony. Main aim of all development and DRR projects is to enable the target groups and the promoted social structures to sustain after projects end and to develop ownership and own solutions for conflict- and problem solving. DRR projects contribute also to disaster resilience of the targeted communities.  In Bangladesh and Nepal justice for survivors is promoted (this includes the repatriation of survivors and the prosecution of perpetrators).  In the described way AWO International contributes to the achievement of SDG 10, 11 and 16.

Building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions to achieve sustainable development. Source: http://i1.wp.com/www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment

All SDG’s at a glimpse. Source: UN

Supported Social Structures in South Asia

Example of social structure system incl. stakeholders: Cooperation projects with MSS Seva (India)

Partners and donors of AWO I. portfolio in South Asia