Tag: SDG

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It is December, just when the wind was getting chilly, with most people taking a deserved break from work to travel and be with loved ones. When the exchange of gifts becomes commonplace, it’s quite easy to overlook a few things, especially those that matter.

But, in the spirit of giving and community awareness, HUAWEI teamed up with Friends of the Environment (FOTE) to show love and care for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Abuja.

Nigeria is ranked 8th among the 9 countries in the world with the highest number of displaced persons (1.2million) and 4th in Africa, trailing DR Congo, Sudan and South Sudan.

IDPs are simply people who are on the run from home, facing, as in the case of Nigeria, multi-faceted complex and often over-lapping issues like insurgency, communal conflicts, flooding and violence between pastoralists and farmers.

These people flee from their homes in search of basic human needs, food, shelter and clothing; and they live in little colonies or camps with aid from the government, organizations and individuals.

Huawei, showing a high level of social responsibility and empathy, visited two IDP camps namely Area One IDP Camp and New Kuchingoro IDP Camp with a combined population of just a little over 4,200 persons.

The donations made to the camps comprised solar lamps in particular, food items, clothing, and sanitary pads for women.

Speaking at the handover of the items, the Huawei representative reiterated their commitment to connect with people, not just on a technological level but also on the human and humane level.

While socially responsible organizations are reaching out to help IDPs, the surface in reality has barely been scratched. The Chairman of the New Kuchingoro IDP Camp remarked with glee that this was the first time they were receiving any form of aid since 2014.

According to Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), in the first half of 2019, about 142,000 new displacements were recorded in Nigeria, 140,000 by conflict and 2,000 by disasters.

Huawei has a tradition of caring for the less privileged, and it would go a long way if other organization would set their moral compass right and take a cue from the Asian tech giants.

Friends of the Environment remains committed to advocacy for the needy in society, while ensuring the use and application of energy efficient tools and practices at home and in the workplace.

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SDG 4: Quality Education – The Nigerian Focus

Quality education is one that provides all learners with capabilities they require to become economically productive, develop sustainable livelihoods, contribute to peaceful and democratic societies and enhance individual well-being.

Remarkably, major progress has been made in access to education, specifically at the primary school level, for both boys and girls. Still, at least 22 million children in 43 countries will miss out on pre-primary education unless the rate of progress doubles.

According to the United Nations Development Programme statistics

  • Enrollment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91 percent.
  • Still, 57 million primary-aged children remain out of school, more than half of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In developing countries, one in four girls is not in school.
  • About half of all out-of-school children of primary school age live in conflict-affected areas.
  • 103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60 percent of them are women.
  • Globally, 6 out of 10 children and adolescents are not achieving a minimum level of proficiency in reading and math.

There is little doubt that the failure of countries like Nigeria to attain real appreciable progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was what led to the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGAS) in New York on September 25, 2015.

With this in mind, the SDG 3 is designed to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.



Long before the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, Nigeria’s educational system had variously been rated poor by many analysts.

In the early 2000s, a lecturer in the Department of English Language at the University of Abuja, argued that contrary to what many people think, the standard of education in Nigeria had not fallen as there is only one excellent standard. He posited that what had gone bad were things that ought to sustain that standard. Controversial may be but the remark is not far from the truth.

One of these ‘’things’’ is facilities, many of which, as at the early 2000s, were moribund in many tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools across the country. It was so bad that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on a six-month strike to protest, among other matters of concern, the poor state of education in Nigeria’s universities.

Clearly, little was achieved by the strike, as 12 years later, ASUU again called its members out on strike to protest what it called “the abysmal state of Nigerian Universities. In embarking on the fresh strike, ASUU said that the Federal Government had failed to honour the agreement on improving the university system that it had reached with the union in 2009. The strike also lasted six months and in order to resolve it, the government agreed to release the sum of N200 billion per annum to be disbursed to Nigerian Universities over a five-year period.  But issues surrounding the 2009 agreement remain unresolved, and ASUU has again threatened to go on strike. Nor is ASUU the only body to do so, as associations of Polytechnic and College of Education lecturers had also embarked on strike action over the government’s failed promises or breaches of contract.

This negative trend is even more disheartening at the basic level.

The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme is key to achieving development goals. Established in 1999, UBE’s primary objective is to eradicate illiteracy, ignorance and poverty as well as stimulate and accelerate national development, political consciousness and national integration. For such a critical agency, it is surprising that even by its own admittance, since it was set up, its progress was hampered by lack of an enabling law to execute certain aspects of the programme. This issue was addressed on the 26th of May 2004, when President Obasanjo signed the Universal Basic Education Act into law. The results achieved, however, has been less than satisfactory.

In 2016, the management of the Universal Basic Education Commission released a distressing statistics on the state of education at the primary level in Nigeria. It was revealed that Nigeria had the highest number of out-of-school children in the world which was estimated to be around 10.5 million, something UBEC considered a worrisome trend and remains a major challenge in the delivery of basic education in the country.

A high percentage of these out-of-school children are in northern part of Nigeria, and in this regard, the report states that over the last decade, Nigeria’s exponential growth in population has put immense pressure on the country’s resources and on already overstretched public services and infrastructure. With children under 15 years of age accounting for about 45 percent of the country’s population, the burden on education and other sectors has become overwhelming. Forty percent of Nigerian children aged 6 -11 do not attend any primary school with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country, particularly for girls. This statistics was compiled by UNICEF in 2005.

By 2015, the situation had not changed, as another UNICEF report revealed that 10.5 million children are out of school in Nigeria, with more than 60 percent of them girls.

These, however, are just a tip of the iceberg as there are a plethora of other underlying problems at the various levels of the educational system in Nigeria. These issues have dealt a crippling blow to the system through poor funding, discriminatory practices, decayed infrastructure, weak and obsolete legal and regulatory regimes, wanton and wilful breach of agreements as well as serial and sustained cases of impunity in the sector.



It is not all doom and gloom for the Nigerian educational system even if the stats confirm that it is indeed a herculean task. The government has a major role to play in reversing this ugly trend.

The introduction of incentives like nutritious and delicious school meals could go a long way to get children back into school. A feeding programme as has to introduced and sustained by the federal government. A hungry child cannot concentrate in school.

The State Universal Basic Education Board has an essential action plan that must be seen through by the government. The cardinal points are enumerated below.

  • SUBEB works to ensure unfettered access to nine years of formal basic education.
  • The provision of free Universal Basic Education for every Nigerian child of school going age.
  • The drastic reduction of the incidence of drop-out from the formal school system, through improved relevance, quality and efficiency.
  • Ensuring the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills.
  • Ensuring the acquisition of  ethical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning.

Alas, all these cannot be achieved if billions of naira meant for improving the quality of basic education continue to be misappropriated and unaccounted for.

Attaining progress on education and meeting the SDG 4 goal will go beyond planning without effective implementation. As the experts have said, amongst other things, it will also require improved funding of the sector, the political will to curb corruption and mediocrity, and partnership with the private sector. While the Federal Government has collaborated with the private sector, including foreign agencies, on education matters in the past two years, it needs to deepen such engagement.

Also, it is of utmost importance to put an end to strikes and ensure uninterrupted academic sessions; the government should – as a matter of urgency – establish a statutory body that must meet periodically to dialogue and negotiate with stakeholders on issues affecting the education sector.

Beyond such collaboration, direct private sector involvement could go a long way towards improving not only the quality of education but also providing less privileged children with the opportunity to go to school. In February 2017, a foundation established by Nollywood actress, Tonto Dike, pledged to renovate some schools in Warri and provide items such as books, whiteboard and school uniforms. Clearly, all hands must be on deck if we are to run this race to the finish line.


Quality education is a human right and a public good. Governments and other public authorities should ensure that quality education service is available freely to all citizens from early childhood into adulthood. Quality education provides the foundation for equity in society.

The benefits of quality education in a society cannot be overemphasized. Education liberates the intellect, unlocks the imagination and is fundamental for self-respect. It is the key to prosperity and opens a world of opportunities, making it possible for each of us to contribute to a progressive, healthy society. Learning benefits every human being and should be available to all.

Despite the pessimism expressed by many Nigerians, the country would do well to be part of the successful group that achieves Quality Education status come 2030.

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SDG 2: Zero Hunger – The Role Of Agriculture

The sustainable development goal number two aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

It is forecasted that by 2030 we should end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by doubling agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers (especially women and indigenous peoples), ensuring sustainable food production systems, and by progressively improving land and soil quality.

According to the United Nations Development Programme statistics

  • One in nine people in the world today is undernourished; that’s 795 million people.
  • If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by 150 million.
  • Since the 1900s, some 75 percent of crop diversity has been lost from farmers’ fields.
  • Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods for 40% of the global population. It is the largest source of income for poor rural households.
  • Women make up about 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries, and over 50% in parts of Asia and Africa.

Investing in the agricultural sector can address not only hunger and malnutrition but also other challenges including poverty; water and energy use; climate change; and unsustainable production and consumption.

Africa is potentially an agricultural powerhouse. The continent has 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land and could grow enough food to meet its own needs and export surpluses. Yet hundreds of millions go hungry. Despite recent progress, Africa’s farmers, most of whom are smallholders, underperform.

Global population growth and increasing prosperity could increase the demand for food by 50% by 2050. But our planetary boundaries are already reaching their limits. Land and freshwater resources, the very basis of our food production, are under heavy stress, and oceans, forests, and other ecosystems are being degraded at an unprecedented scale. Conflicts over resources and the devastating impacts of climate change risk pushing millions more into abject poverty and hunger. And as always, it is the world’s poorest who suffer most. We see this now in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Northern Nigeria where more than 20 million people are in desperate need of food assistance.

The challenges to feed the world sustainably are huge, but fortunately we are not starting from scratch. With the Sustainable Development Goals, the global community has adopted a compelling vision with ambitious goals. To successfully implement the SDGs, governments of all countries must play a critical role, but it is not their responsibility alone. Fulfilling these ambitions requires an unprecedented effort by all sectors in society, and business must be at the heart of this endeavor. The expectations are high, and so are the opportunities. Across the world, an increasing number of businesses are already looking beyond short-term profit to create value through sustainable solutions for society. Such decisions are not simply motivated by altruism, but rather by a clear understanding that social risks are detrimental to their bottom line.

Far-sighted companies are doing business responsibly and embracing new technologies to deliver on wider goals of development, including improving access to food and clean water, to sanitation, healthcare and education. They are building alliances and partnerships to drive innovation, create jobs, and advance equitable growth. There is an urgent need to reshape agriculture and food systems to better feed the world and deliver sustainable development.

The importance of greater investment cannot be overemphasized, particularly in developing countries where the need and potential for increasing agricultural productivity and production are greatest. This would help feed growing populations sustainably, while creating jobs and incomes across rural areas, particularly for young people. One example of this is in Africa, where over the last decade, countries have started to put greater emphasis on investment in agriculture and supporting policies and regulations. Indeed, history shows that increasing agricultural productivity is a critical driver of economic transformation and social development.

It is imperative that smallholder farmers, who produce nearly 70% of all food consumed worldwide, are at the heart of all our efforts. Government and the private sector can and must form innovative partnerships with farmers’ organizations and smallholders, providing access to better seeds, sustainable farming techniques, and modern technologies. It is soothing to know that major companies, including Syngenta AG (a global company agribusiness that produces agrochemicals and seeds) are already providing tools and training to smallholders in Sub-Saharan African and other regions, thereby filling critical gaps along the value chain. It is crucial that the bigger corporations share market access, financing and knowledge with small farmers and local agribusinesses. The greatest success will come if all stakeholders work in close partnership. Smallholders need to grow  into agro-entrepreneurs and subsistence farms into profitable businesses.

We must ensure that agriculture and food systems become nutrition-smart, because it’s not just about the amount of food we grow, it’s also about the type of food that we consume. We are what we eat. Evidence shows that nutrition is crucial for economic growth as better nourished populations are more productive. We need governments to urgently adopt the right policies and mobilize resources to scale-up nutrition. The food industry must support these efforts by providing consumers with access to more nutritious foods. Scientific research and innovation is equally important in this context.

We have to foster food systems that produce more food but with fewer resources as we are reaching a point where our capacity to meet current and future needs is seriously jeopardized. Governments have to adopt, enforce and strengthen policies that promote responsible natural resource management and prevent the loss of natural habitats, forests and biodiversity. It is crucial that businesses source, process and manage resources efficiently to meet growing demand, while preserving our environment and climate. This must include responsible water stewardship, striving for zero waste and using energy resources more sustainably.

These may seem mountainous a task but it is our only shot at eliminating food scarcity and attaining Zero Hunger status come 2030. Reaching the SDG targets simply will not be possible without a strong and sustainable agricultural sector.



Credit to the Kofi Annan Foundation!