Start the Change Project explores migration & the SDGs
Focusing on migration and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Start the Change is a 3-year project spanning 12 European countries and aims to increase citizens’ awareness of the need for a connected, considered and collaborative approach to achieving the SDGs by 2030.
Based in Inverness, Highland One World Global Learning Centre (HOW) (one of Scotland’s Development Education Centres and core members of the IDEAS Network) is the UK’s partner organisation and recently hosted a 3-day seminar welcoming colleagues from countries including Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Slovakia & Spain.
“Start the Change invites young people to reflect on migration and development issues. The project gives them tools to face contemporary world challenges and to actively engage themselves on global issues, starting from their practical experiences.”
Working directly with teachers and practitioners, Start the Change is co-funded by the EU Commission and brings together 15 partners (ranging from HOW to Amnesty International), all of whom provide training to those in the formal and non-formal sectors (from science teachers to youth group leaders) based around the aims of the project. A key one of these is to provide a broader context and a deeper understanding so that citizens come to see the connections between each other’s lives and experiences more clearly.
Why migration & the SDGs?
There are of course many, many reasons for migration – some very positive, some wrought with incredible challenges. The way we live our lives has an increasingly visible impact on the planet itself and many of these impacts are directly influencing migration. The SDGs offer a framework for exploring the many connections and for raising citizens’ awareness of the difference they can make at a local and global level.
As one of the first countries to sign-up to the SDGs, Scotland’s commitment to them ties very closely to its National Performance Framework, which aims to measure “societal well-being and human rights” in Scotland. Unlike their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs ask countries to look both outwards and inwards; it is this way of approaching global challenges that gives projects such as Start the Change a real opportunity to increase civic engagement.
More than victims
A key aim of the project is to unpack and explore the reasons for migration, so that those who migrate are understood fully as humans, not simply as victims in search of charity or aid. Understanding our connection to and responsibilities for what is happening on a global scale (be it environmental, political, societal, spiritual or otherwise) can be daunting, but also incredibly empowering. When the challenges are approached honestly, humbly and with a will and desire to collaborate, our connections can be used to affect positive change in a way that is infectious.
Working with practitioners and young people, Start the Change is helping to address, unpack and explore these issues in a way that empowers citizens and connects the dots not only between the many challenges we face, but between their solutions.
You can also find interviews and videos from the seminar up here on the HOW YouTube Channel.
This blog was written by Josh Brown of Third Works.