Youth Corner
Published on August 7, 2020

Global Citizenship Education in Kenya

The 2030 agenda for sustainable development

Global citizenship education in Kenya plays a key role in leaving no one behind. Through this, young people develop the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes needed to build a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable world. On September 25, 2015, 193 countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda is a plan of action for the people, the planet and prosperity. Each country pledged to work tirelessly to Leave No One Behind.

The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Youth is a student program initiative that embraces Global Citizenship Education through its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The program aims to engage students in higher education in the global effort to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. It also empowers them with the knowledge, skills, and pathways to action to be effective agents of change today.


What is global citizenship education?

Global citizenship education is a series of activities undertaken to raise awareness on the challenges that affect our world and inspires action to solve them. The challenges range from civil-political, social, and economic issues to technological and environmental issues. With three key theories of change, we provide opportunities for young people to learn about what the SDGs are, engage with and develop a passion for the SDGs, and act on implementing the SDGs in the community.

Moreover, SDSN Youth, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the SDG Academy, conceptualized the SDG Students Program Certificate. This is a non-credit certificate to encourage university students to learn about, engage with, and take action on the SDGs. Hub Members who complete the eight criterion receive an SDG Students Program Certificate signed by Ban Ki-moon (Co-Chair, Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens), Chandrika Bahadur (President, SDSN Association) and Siamak Loni (Global Coordinator, SDSN Youth).

Through SDSN Youth’s efforts to prepare and empower active global citizens determined to tackle the world's numerous challenges, we believe that effective global citizens require skills and knowledge as a prerequisite to engage, live, work and collaborate in all types of settings.


cynthia kenya


The role of stories in global citizenship education

Storytelling provides a great opportunity for new voices to be seen and heard. While there are large organizations already working towards the attainment of the sustainable development goals, there are young people who are using limited resources to contribute. Therefore Cynthia Untamed was formed. This is a digital platform that seeks to highlight the brilliance and excellence of the African youth whose stories have not yet been told. Its mission is to share the stories of young Africans who are positively impacting their communities using fundamental life, social and effective decision- making skills in addition to limited resources. The objective is to create groundbreaking opportunities for them and to enable the fellow youth to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.


The impact of digital stories

Young people are inspired to embrace global citizenship by their peers. The platform has had a positive impact so far. Cynthia Untamed featured the story of a girl who is teaching children in Kibera life skills such as how to save money. Unfortunately, she did not have the school fees to join college. Her story was highlighted in this platform which managed to raise USD50 from the public which she used for her transport to school. Later, I reached out to my networks that supported her to secure a loan through the Higher Education Loans Board as well as buy textbooks for her at the Kenya Medical Training College in Mombasa. She is now in her final year of nursing studies. Despite the challenges, she is ranked as one of the top 10 in her class and is now preparing to sit for her final exams.

Young people are often afraid that they don’t have the capacity to change their circumstances and those of the community. ‘Cynthia Untamed’ shows that it is possible to start small and then develop your idea into a bigger movement. The youth also needs to understand that it is their responsibility to build their own countries. However, governments must also put structures into place that enable these young people to thrive through good education and access to healthcare and employment which reduces poverty. These are some of the enabling factors that will empower young people to innovate in promoting sustainable development goals and to solve some of the world's greatest challenges.