Investing in the health and education of young people—“human capital”—unlocks productivity and innovation, reduces poverty, and generates prosperity.
This was the clarion call during the second annual Goalkeepers events on September 25 and 26 to highlight the remarkable progress toward the reduction of extreme poverty, and the need to accelerate efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals.)
The events, co-hosted by Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were attended by Julius Maada Bio, president of Sierra Leone; President Emmanuel Macron of France; Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway; United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed; and many established and emerging leaders from around the world.
The 2018 Goalkeepers events focused on the potential of young people to propel global progress and highlighted themes from Bill and Melinda Gates’s 2018 Goalkeepers Data Report.
Three new high-level partnerships, called “Accelerators,” were announced at the Goalkeepers event on September 26. These Accelerators will catalyze progress toward the Global Goals by offering funding and programmatic support toward increasing early literacy, eliminating child marriage, and empowering young people to use data to drive progress toward the Global Goals.
Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator: This Accelerator will empower young people (ages 18-35) to source and use data to hold public, private, and government leaders accountable for achieving the Global Goals. Led by CIVICUS and the Gates Foundation, with an advisory committee comprised of representatives from the Obama Foundation, the George W. Bush Institute, Restless Development, and Action for Sustainable Development, this Accelerator will provide up to 30 young leaders with hands-on and technical support, mentorship, and direct funding of up to $30,000 each. Applications will be open until October 31, 2019, and program participants will be announced in late November.
Scaling Early Literacy: This Accelerator brings together Room to Read—a leading nonprofit focused on girls’ education and children’s literacy in Asia and Africa—with a variety of partners to scale the organization’s approach to increasing literacy skills and helping children develop a habit of reading early in life. The Accelerator will expand Room to Read’s country-specific programming in India, Vietnam, and South Africa with $3.5 million in new funding from Credit Suisse, Dubai Cares, and Four Acre Trust, furthering Room to Read’s goal of reaching more than 1.1 million additional children in these countries over the next three years.
Girls First Fund: This Accelerator will launch the Girls First Fund, a collaborative new partnership to end child marriage. Founding donors and implementers include Girls Not Brides, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the Ford Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the Kendeda Fund, the NoVo Foundation, Capital for Good USA, and Geneva Global. The Girls First Fund will identify the most promising community-based organizations, particularly those led by girls, women, and youth, and provide them with multi-year funding to develop and pursue local solutions to ending child marriage.
The Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards were presented on September 25, with participants including Prime Minister Solberg, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed, UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore, and British singer songwriter Ed Sheeran.
The Progress Award was presented to Dysmus Kisilu, founder of Solar Freeze, which provides renewable energy solutions to smallholder farmers in Kenya to increase agricultural productivity.
The Changemaker Award was presented to Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who advocates on behalf of her community and survivors of genocide. Loyiso Madinga, stand-up comedian and Africa correspondent on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” hosted the awards.
The Goalkeepers Global Youth Poll, released on September 24, found that young people are more optimistic about their future, the future of their country, and the future of the world than older people. Levels of optimism are highest in lower- and middle-income countries, where young people (ages 12-24) are the most optimistic group across all measures. The poll also found that young people in these countries are more likely to believe they can affect the way their countries are governed and that their generation will have a more positive impact on the world than their parents’ generation.
The Goalkeepers campaign was launched with the release of “We the Goalkeepers,” a short film based on an original piece by spoken word poet and youth activist Aranya Johar, who also participated in the Goalkeepers event. The film was directed by the award-winning director, Joyeeta Patpatia, and focuses on young “Goalkeepers” working around the world to advance the Global Goals.
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.
Goalkeepers is the foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through events and an annual report, hopes to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.
About the Global Goals
On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030: end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.
Project Everyone, co-creators of Goalkeepers, was founded by writer, director, and SDG Advocate Richard Curtis with the ambition to help achieve the Global Goals through raising awareness, holding leaders accountable, and driving action. Find out more at www.project-everyone.org.