In our ever-accelerating world, passive observation of global challenges no longer suffices. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require active engagement, and that's precisely the goal of the SDG Traineeship project, spearheaded by The 2B Collective. We sat down with Shanna de Lang, the overall project manager, to delve into the dynamic realm of sustainable development and gamified learning.
Empowering the next generation of SDG professionals
The SDG House offers an enticing opportunity for young enthusiasts to step into the shoes of future SDG professionals. Over a span of 15 weeks, these trainees will dive headfirst into SDG-related projects, driven by an ardent desire to make a genuine impact. Their mission: contribute substantively to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the realms of business, civil society, and the public sector.
The 2B Collective embraced this initiative by introducing a distinctive project: the creation of a gamified learning program, designed to comprehensively address the entire SDG framework. With five dynamic trainees on board, the stage was set for a 15-week journey into the heart of sustainable development.
The unfolding expedition
The journey began with numerous trainings at the SDG House. These preparatory sessions serve as a vital stepping stone, ensuring that all trainees embark on the project well-equipped with the knowledge and skills they need.
The inaugural framing session marked the launch of the project. Here, ideas, theories, and structures swirled about, much like a brainstorming session. However, to build a new program, a foundation of trustworthy and accurate information is imperative. This is where the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) entered the scene. Their expertise and information provide the solid ground upon which the content will be created. Throughout each framing session, the UNSSC will play a pivotal role, offering insights into queries and expertly guiding the project's trajectory.
The project took an exciting turn when the trainees, accompanied by colleagues Shanna and Yvette, ventured to the UNSSC in Bon. This excursion was more than just about in-person meetings; it was an opportunity for mutual learning and growth. Shanna recalls, "It was a pleasure to meet our partners in person for the first time and engage in live sessions with them. Together, we outlined the target group, crafted a framework upon which the content will be built and the structure of the forthcoming challenges."
With the trip to Bon now behind them, the team is poised for action. Presently, the trainees are in the middle of the writing process and attending weekly content sessions, collaborating closely with Shanna and their designated UNSSC liaison to dissect the challenges and draft solutions. The result? A dynamic quiz, a purposeful set of actions, and a consequential body of content primed for dissemination.
A word from the trainees themselves
Given the fact that the trainees are stars behind this project, we also want to highlight their personal opinions and experiences. Therefore, we asked them multiple questions.
Why did the trainees want to be part of this specific traineeship?
“This was an amazing opportunity to learn more about how companies are working to become more sustainable and I wanted to apply my academic knowledge to help them navigate this transition.”
Why do you think it is important to create a game that tackles the SDGs and informs people about them?
“I am excited to create this game because I think there is a lot of unharnessed motivation and will to act on the SDGs, in all aspects of society, whether that be in personal behaviours or at work. This game will hopefully reach a wide range of people who would not have had access to or would not have sought information otherwise.”
What is your opinion about gamified learning?
I like that it allows people to learn and develop practical knowledge and skills while being enjoyable. I think this is what makes it a pretty effective method of learning.”
What is or will be the hardest part you think in the creation process of this new program
“I think that one of the hardest parts in the creation process is finding a way to make sure people who are not necessarily already aware of or passionate about sustainability engage with and complete the programme.”
“Another challenge for us is to find a way to make the content as appealing as possible to a large target group, to people who know little about sustainability and to those who already know a lot.”
If you could create an SDG18, what would it be called and why would you want to tackle this problem?
“Protecting the night’s sky (access to skylight): protecting skylight is very important for scientific observations, for cultural heritage.”
“Welfare of the animals: The 17 SDGs that exist so far look at sustainability from a human-centred perspective. While the 15th SDG deals with life on land, it does not deal with the welfare of animals that are bred and kept by humans. As an exclusively plant-based diet for humanity is currently not feasible, it is important to address the rights of animals that are utilized by humans.”
In closing, the voices of our trainees serve as a powerful reminder of the passion, purpose, and determination at the heart of our mission. Together, we are forging a path towards a sustainable future, one where the SDGs are not only understood but embraced with enthusiasm. Through gamified learning, we aim to ignite a spark of inspiration and action in all corners of society, transcending barriers and engaging individuals from all walks of life. As we tackle the challenges of creating this innovative program, our trainees' dedication and insightful vision underscore the immense potential for transformative change. The future of sustainability education is in the making, and it's an exhilarating journey we're proud to undertake. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to shape the world of learning and sustainability.