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Global Goals Youth Forum Recount

On Thursday 29 August 2019, two teams from Tintern Grammar attended the ‘Global Goals Youth Forum’ held at Ivanhoe Grammar, Plenty Campus.

The focus of the day was Goal 16 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in place by the United Nations with specific targets for 2030. These goals gave a framework for every country to strive towards, and to put in place common goals for all countries to work collaboratively together in order to achieve an end to poverty, protection of the planet and ability for all people to enjoy peace and prosperity. Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build affective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

The day-long forum ran in a work-shop style which aimed to encourage young adults in high school to develop a broader perspective of the world, and look at sustainable living from a wider point of view, specifically in terms of Goal 16 of the SDGs.

In preparation for the day, research was conducted in regard to the SDGs themselves, particularly Goal 16. Each team attending the forum was assigned a different country prior to commencement which we were required to research into and complete certain questions about their countries progress and effectiveness in child birth registration, child labour/working conditions and child refugees/living conditions. Once all members of the Year 10 team had investigated these issues individually, a 2-minute presentation was complied that would be presented to the forum on the day.

During the day, the ten teams from schools across Melbourne were involved in many varying activities which ranged from listening to a talk about homelessness in Australia, to prototyping solutions to improve living and working conditions for child refugees in Asia, as well as increasing numbers of birth registration.

Personally, the Global Goal Youth Forum was incredibly eye-opening. It took a large and seemingly unsolvable, large issue into actionable steps, and demonstrated how major, possibly worldwide impacts can be created by an individual, one step at a time. Whilst looking overseas at developing countries and looking at how we could positively aid those areas of the world, the forum also encouraged all attendees to take a step back, and, keeping the broader perspective in mind, look locally for steps of action to take.

During the conclusion of the day, students were asked to discuss what local impacts we are able to action, specifically within our own school community. Upon hearing the other schools’ contributions, it became clear that Tintern Grammar already has a leading edge in sustainability for schools in this region.

Relating predominantly to Goal 16 referring to peace and justice, the team of Year 10’s discussed possible alterations to the ‘Big Brother, Big Sister’ program currently run at the school between the Year 7s and the Year 12s. The point was raised that if the school managed to alter the program to be between the Year 7’s and Year 10s instead, stronger, more meaningful relationships would be created, therefore creating a great peace between year levels.

The six Year 10s who attended the forum all believe that the experience was positive one, which encouraged their thinking and perspective to broaden, and to take steps locally to help take part in an effort to work towards much larger goals. We are looking forward to continuing to share what we have discovered at the Global Goals Youth Forum with others, and to encourage their world view to widen as well.

by Victoria, Year 10

Green Team students attend Global Goals Youth Forum

On Thursday 29 August, two teams from Tintern participated in the Global Goals Youth Forum at Ivanhoe Grammar. It was a day dedicated to learning about the 17 Global Goals for sustainable development that were created by world leaders in 2015 to fight inequality, climate change, and poverty across the globe. Our focus for the day was on Goal 16, which is about peace, justice, and strong institutions, and look at how it is being implemented in South East Asia. Each team was assigned a different country to research before the forum and my team was assigned Vietnam. In the weeks leading up to the forum, we met several times to complete the pre-forum activities and prepare a short speech about our country to present to the other teams, which focused specifically on what Vietnam are doing to address Goal 16.

My team had six members who are all Year 11 students actively involved in the Green Team. For us, the Global Goals Youth Forum was an opportunity to learn more about the issues facing our world and work collaboratively with students from other schools to come up with creative ways to address these issues. After we’d done our presentation on Vietnam, our group was split up and we went to work in different groups with students from other schools, who were all representing different countries. Our task was to design an innovative product or solution that would address one of the issues we’d looked at in our research including child labour, birth registration, and child refugees.

The issue that my group was presented with was “How to increase the number of birth registrations?” and we had to look at this problem from the perspective of Vietnam, Brunei, and Cambodia. From the research we’d done back at school, I knew that birth registration rates were improving in Vietnam as they had increased from 60% in 1998 to 87% in 2001 thanks to help from UNICEF. However, the issue of birth registration is still very prevalent in many South East Asian countries as the process of birth registration is difficult, often involving large amounts of paperwork, and only select places such as hospitals have the authority to register births. The birth registration process is discriminatory towards minority groups as many of them are either illiterate or do not speak the national language, meaning they cannot fill out the forms, or they do not know that they need to register their child’s birth. The consequences for these children of not having a birth certificate are numerous; it is impossible for them to prove their age, therefore, they are often exploited by employers, they cannot get a passport, and their basic human rights are not met.

Keeping all of our research in mind, the group then had to come up with an idea of how their countries could improve the rates of birth registration. This was quite challenging as we had to consider the theoretical cost and feasibility of our plan as well as consider whether or not the government would support it. One of the obstacles we had to work around was the fact that in Brunei, due to the conservative nature of their government, a child needed to have birth certificates from both parents (to prove that they were not a product of pre-marital sex) in order to get a birth certificate. These constraints meant that our group had to think outside the box and come up with an idea that would not involve the changing of government legislation. Our solution was a community-based campaign that would spread awareness of the birth registration process and teach remote communities how to register their children and why it’s important to do so.

In order to showcase our solution to the other groups, we had to make a poster that explained our plan and covered all the logistics and challenges that we might face. I was chosen to be the spokesperson for my group, so I got the opportunity to speak about our plan to the other students who’d also looked at solutions to birth registration. Thanks to the creative thinking and effort that my team members had put in, our solution was voted top of the birth registration ones and I got the opportunity to speak again, but this time to the whole room of people who’d attended the event! The microphone and flashing phone cameras of the media people meant that presenting our plan the second time was a bit daunting for me; but I really enjoyed the opportunity to practise my public speaking skills, and it was really cool that our solution had been chosen for the final presentations!

Overall, the Global Goals Youth forum was a really enjoyable and educational day that gave us the opportunity to think creatively and use our collaborative skills. Not only did it give us the opportunity to put ourselves in the minds of world leaders and think about large issues that affect entire countries, but we also left the event with plans about how we can strive to meet the Global Goals objectives within our own school and community.

Following along the theme of Peace and Justice which was the main focus of the day, my group decided to investigate the suppliers of our school uniforms to see whether or not their products are produced ethically and meet the Fair Trade standards. After learning about the use of child labour to produce goods in third world countries, we feel like we have a responsibility to make sure the products that we purchase from the school are not being produced by workers who have been exploited and denied their basic rights. Many other schools shared their plans to initiate new recycling schemes within their schools or introduce a few compost bins. Learning that some of these schools didn’t even have comingle recycling gave us a new perspective on how far we’ve come as a school since the creation of Green Team. I personally felt very proud in that moment to have come from a school that was already so committed to sustainable development and had already made so many positive and environmentally-friendly changes.

by Hannah, Year 11