The goal setting department at the United Nations is nothing if not ambitious. Its 8 Millennium Development Goals, running from 2000 until 2015, aimed to tackle such enduringly complex issues as poverty, hunger, inequality, maternal health and low education rates. Although much was achieved in the 15 years, most goals were not fully met. Unperturbed, the UN’s latest goals aim to do pretty much the same things, just this time in a sustainable way.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.” Ambitious indeed. But we love a bit of ambition here at Seed Change so we are keen to do our bit.
There are several goals that we are directly contributing to:
Goals 1 & 2: By giving Kigoma farmers access to better yielding palm trees, we help fight rural poverty and hunger in the region. The new trees provide a much higher income for our farmers and supply local markets with red palm oil, a popular cooking oil in the region.
Goal 5: In our farmer extension program, we have established farmer groups that provide a support network to our farmers. We made the explicit choice to have each group led by two people: one woman and one man. This way we strengthen the position of women in rural communities and contribute to gender equality in the region.
Goal 8: Palm oil is a crucial economic sector in Kigoma Region. The thousands of high yielding palm trees Seed Change has provided will strengthen local economic growth, which will create work for many. Moreover, Seed Change’s operations provide local jobs for local people. We created 2,292 days of work for people in local villages in 2015, in addition to employing 12 full-time local staff.
Goals 13, 14 & 15: We work hard to make sure the palm oil sector in Kigoma is sustainable, with respect for life on land and the climate. We have partnered up with Proforest and RSPO to pilot simplified techniques to train smallholders on ‘High Conservation Values’. This way, farmers across Kigoma are sensitised on the importance of protecting the environment.
In addition, Seed Change also contributes to several goals indirectly. Because our farmers can generate higher income through better yields, they can set aside some money for education for their children, clean water, sanitation and electricity for their families and invest in their communities. In short, at Seed Change we work hard to make sure that our impact is sustainable, both for the farmers and for the planet.