How to Continue Championing the Sustainable Development Goals Amid a Global Pandemic? A Lesson from Greece
The Sustainable Development Goals could be sometimes perceived as an out-of-touch topic for young people. That is why It is crucial to constantly establish a meaningful link between these global goals and the reality of local communities. Youth organisations play a vital role in connecting youth with the SDGs and engaging them in dynamic programs that bring about a concrete positive impact on their own lives and on the lives of their communities.
Scouts of Greece have succeeded in bringing the SDGs closer to their members and to their communities, by embedding it into their youth programme in a fun and a compelling way. Their initiatives have even been further boosted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today we will meet with the Greek Scouts who have demonstrated an impressive level of commitment to the SDGs while facing a global pandemic.
Scouts of Greece have fully integrated the SDGs into their Scouting Youth Programme.
“We have found a way to make every Scout become an ambassador of the SDGs in their communities ”- Says Christoforos Mitromaras, Chief Commissioner and a member of the initiative team.
Through an initiative called “SDGs Friendly Scout Groups”, every Scout Group around Greece has been motivated to participate and earn the “SDG-friendly group” label. The initiative has its own website and encompasses a great range of educational activities that Scouts can implement in their units.
The initiative is open to all Scouts. All they need to do is enrol through the website, select a number of SDG-focused activities and complete a set of tasks. The tasks can be completed either as groups or individually, but the actions should be reported within one year from the time of the enrolment.
Then, things needed to be adapted as COVID-19 took over the world....
“The pandemic has been a challenge for everyone around the globe. Scouting wasn't spared either, but we made it through and managed to develop an indoor version of our “SDGs Friendly Scout Group”initiative .” He added.
As the initiative gains more and more momentum around the country, over 350 different neighbourhoods have joined to implement sustainability projects, primarily focused on social impact. The actions have attracted the attention of local and national media.
“We shared our stories via social media, , we supported our leaders to be more engaged in the SDGs, we are glad we have actually inspired the community to be part of this initiative. “ He added.
The Greek Scouts have promoted their initiative through a TV commercial, enabling them to raise awareness nationally and attract more young people to become local SDGs ambassadors.
The main goal of the initiative is not only about raising awareness, but it is also about slowly engraining new sustainable community habits for generations to come.
Scouts always strive to optimise their efforts through building strategic partnerships with other civil society organisations with similar values.
Christoforos told us:
"We have already built strategic partnerships with relevant NGOs and Institutions in Greece, such us: The Local UN Offices, the "Greek Platform for the Development", a platform that brings together all the relevant Greek NGOs and Institutions with an aim to promote Sustainable Development and so many others. Moreover, for many years we have signed an MoU with the Ministry of the Environment & Energy for sustainable youth actions.”
Nadia is a Scout who has greatly benefited from the initiative:
“A game-based project that we really enjoy! New skills, new way of thinking, new attitude! Thank you Scouts of Greece for the great ideas, for the support and for converting the motto “creating a better world” into actions!”- She said.
The Greek initiative will be further scaled up as it will draw on some syneries with the recently-launched world scouting initiative Earth Tribe.
The great ideals brought by the Global Goals are already embedded in the very nature of the Scout movement. Scouts are prepared to support in any circumstances, their sense of resilience and innovation amid a global pandemic is truly contagious.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Scouts around the world have been responding to the needs of their communities on an individual and group level from awareness-raising to deliveries of essential items. World Scouting set up a Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, where you can donate to help Scouts continue supporting their communities in need. All funds will be channelled directly to support National Scout Organizations.