By Sustainability Hub Reporter Emanuel Manko
In business, supply chain design ensures that products reach customers from wherever they are produced. Likewise, there would be no meaning of spending years making policies if what is discussed on the table at the UN won’t reach the doorsteps of communities around the world. And in this lies the challenge because communities around the globe are diverse in languages and culture. Tanzania, for example, has more than one hundred ethnic groups, which translates into more than one hundred local languages with different traditions and customs. Let’s us not forget that it’s practically impossible for members of these communities to speak one of the UN’s official languages.
So the question is: how can a global phenomenon like the SDGs successfully reach these communities in an understandable way? That being said, there is a big chance that as of today, more than a year after the adaptation of the SDGs, the majority of these communities doesn’t even know of their existence. Can we really leave no one behind as we claim not to? How do we expect these communities to question the integrity of their leaders if they don’t even know what’s going on? And, bad enough, they are hardly impacted by the global developments about climate change, extreme poverty and gender imbalance.
Clearly, there is a need for local communities to understand the global trends if we really want to leave no one behind. Mr. Ntiokam Divine from Cameroon who has been working with organizations such as UNICEF, is trying to change the situation. A 33-year old social activist wants to translate the SDGs into Africa’s local languages to make them accessible and understandable to all. He started his endeavor by training a group of young people who will later educate their local communities by translating the SDG’s into Cameroonian local languages—Ewondo, Shupamum, and Basaa.
His training program also involves the establishment of SDG’s clubs in primary, secondary and tertiary schools while ensuring that the most influential community members become SDG’s ambassadors in their respective localities.
Interviewed by African Renewal Mr. Divine was quoted saying “By ensuring that youths understand that being part of the global discussion is an opportunity for them to address issues relating to their future, African youths can better appreciate the SDGs”
He successfully translated the SDGs into 20 local languages in his native Cameroon, as well as into local languages of Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.
In Nigeria the SDGs were translated into Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa, the country’s main ethnic languages. There is also a Swahili version, which will be distributed to communities in Swahili-speaking countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as parts of Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Somalia, and the Comoro Islands. (Africa Renewal, 2016)