On September 16, 2023, SocialGood Lagos, one of the local hubs of the United Nations Foundation plus Social Good program, held it's 2023 edition of the SocialGood Summit Lagos.
The theme of this year's edition was Ideas Shaping the World. In line with this theme, SocialGood Summit Lagos 2023 focused on how we can leverage technology, new media and more young people participation to accomplish the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With the 2030 deadline underway, the SocialGood Lagos team curated sessions and speakers to hone in on the theme. The speakers shared incredible ideas on how to go beyond awareness to actions that drive the achievement of these goals. From a keynote by Mr. Niyi Yusuf, to interactive plenary sessions on the topics: Moving from Ideas to Change and More Young People, More SDGs Action. We also had innovative speeches from the likes of Chioma Ukpabi and Fabia Ogunmekan.
Lessons from Behind the Mic
I had the privilege of anchoring the summit as the official emcee, and the experience was one for the books. From guiding the conversations and engaging the stakeholders at the summit to keeping the excitement amidst a rainy day. Beyond creating an amazing experience for the attendees, I also penned down some wisdom from the speakers.
In this post, I'll be sharing 5 of those lessons. This is to help anyone interested in contributing to Nigeria's efforts towards the achievement of the 17 SDGs before 2030.
Here are my top 5 takeaways.
1. You Have a Role to Play.
Usually when we think about national development, everyone's expectation is that it is the government's sole responsibility to change the standard of living in the country. However, that isn't entirely true. Granted, the government has a role it must play. However, you and I must also make our inputs if Nigeria is to cover enough miles in the accomplishment of the SDGs before the 2030 deadline.
2. Educate Yourself.
Did you know that the 17 SDGs are further broken down into 169 targets? Did you know that Nigeria is only in time to accomplish only one out of these 169 targets: registration at birth? That is both shocking and sad. But it also buttresses the fact that each of us needs to join this movement.
How can you contribute? Start by educating yourself on the 169 targets of the sustainable development goals. This will help you to discover the area(s) you would like to contribute with your skills and experiences. Educate yourself also on the best approaches for participating in this very important and challenging work.
If you're new to this terrain, and are looking to join a team that's already working in this regard, Social Good Lagos is currently open to volunteers. Consider joining the team to learn more about the role you can play, and begin taking action.
3. Find Partners.
It goes without saying that this work is not a one-man business. Hands must be locked if we're going to make significant strides before 2030. In fact, the 17th SDG is Partnership for the Goals. Go figure. SocialGood Lagos is keen on partnerships too. So it wasn't surprising that one of the panel discussions covered partnerships.
If you've already got your foot in the game, and are looking to find the right partners, the panelists advise that you need to first define your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? What are the challenges you would likely encounter? Who would make an ideal partner? Who has the skills, resources or will to solve the same problems you are working on? Which organisation can you collaborate with?
I particularly loved what Sheila Ojei said about partnerships: it doesn't always have to be money. For instance, instead of asking an organisation to provide monetary sponsorship for your project(s), consider partnering with an organisation that already has what you would spend the money on.
4. Social Entrepreneurship is a Thing.
Usually, when we think of the 17 SDGs, opening an NGO that creates awareness or provides education in an area comes to many people's minds. But can there be for-profit organisations whose business is creating solutions to one or more of the problems identified in the #Agenda2030? The answer is yes. Muazu Africa by Tolulope Makinwa and ECO by Samuel Owolafe-Austin are good examples. Can your startup/business manufacture a health product that can directly contribute to the eradication of some of the diseases covered in the SDGs? Then make it available at a subsidized rate? #somethingtothinkabout
5. Philanthropy is a Vital Vehicle.
Fabia Ogunmekan's speech was one for the money. Let me reiterate it this way: imagine you and 9 of your friends come together and decide to contribute N50,000 monthly to be donated to a cause working towards any of the goals/targets? That's N6,000,000 per annum. Or you could decide to purchase a key medical instrument for a local hospital to provide better diagnosis and/or care to patients. The list goes on. It doesn't have to be N50,000, but I'm sure you get the gist.
So, if you already have too much going on that directly working on any of the goals/targets isn't feasible for you, send your money to go where you can't. Every kobo helps.
Those were my top lessons from this year's SocialGood Summit Lagos. In general, the event was a productive one. And I had a blast creating a wonderful experience for everyone (including the virtual attendees) as the event host.
How are you contributing to the SDGs? Which of these lessons resonates with you?
Want to experience the SGS Lagos 2023 yourself? Here's a replay of the livestream.
Are you looking to elevate your next event and leave a lasting impression on your audience? Let me bring a high dose of energy and professionalism to your event. Whether it's a conference or an AGM, contact me today, and let's discuss how I can add a touch of excellence to your event.