The issues that I am interested in, are based on three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they are applicable in Kenya. The 3 SDGs are: Quality Education; Gender Equality; and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
SDG 4: QUALITY EDUCATION
By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
Education needs to be viewed as a rite of passage for children in Kenya. To achieve this would mean creating awareness about the importance of education and learning among families and in particular parents. In some households, school-aged children are tasked with chores and other domestic responsibilities because parents do not understand the need for their children to attend school regularly.
Market can be equated to the number of employment opportunities. If there is a demand for skilled and educated youth, this may also influence the number of children in primary and secondary education. If youth are guaranteed jobs upon graduation, this may increase the number of children in school and reduce dropout rates.
The solution for law is simple: to have governments enact compulsory education laws. These laws, will mandate that all children to attend school up to a certain level. Failure to comply would be unlawful.
This can be achieved through promoting creative learning in various educational institutions. This would result in developing an enabling environment for young people and also teachers. Typical rote based learning is considered rigorous, boring and unchallenging. Through adopting Mitch Resnick’s 4Ps of creative learning: Projects, Passion, Peers and Play; we can ensure that kids are inspired and interested to learn.
SDG 5: GENDER EQUALITY
Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
Unconscious biases are a key driver of gender inequality in the workplace. During the recruitment and selection processes, women are unjustly stereotyped despite having the same qualifications (or even better) than their male counterparts. To become aware of our biases and to take action to alleviate them, may help to promote gender equality.
Majority of senior and leadership roles across many disciplines are held by men. There needs to be a deliberate push to increase the number of women in managerial positions. Both public and private sectors should urge women in junior levels to pursue professional development trainings. Furthermore, women in senior roles should also make effort to participate in mentorship programs to encourage and inspire young women to pursue their career ambitions.
In 2010, Kenya enacted a new constitutional requirement that states that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective bodies can be of the same gender. This law has had a positive effect on the number of women in national and local public office. Although, the two thirds gender rule has not been 100% complied with, it creates future opportunities for women to vie for various available positions.
For women, the workplace can be quite a hostile environment. With cases of sexual harassment and assault on the rise, this creates an extra hurdle for women in pursuit of professional growth and development. Companies and various institutions need to create environments where women feels safe and comfortable. There need to be proper channels that are developed to report complaints and misbehavior in the workplace and consequently, strict punishment for perpetrators.
SDG 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets.
In Kenya, locally produced goods and services and perceived to be of low quality. People should support local businesses and enterprises to ensure the survival and sustainability of the small-scale industry.
Market / Law
Increase access to markets for small scale businesses by eliminating cartels that monopolies certain industries. This may be achieved through legislature that promotes a free market economy. The market lever would work in tandem with law.
In Kenya, with accordance with the State Corporations Act (CAP. 446), Brand Kenya Board (BKB) corporation was established. Two of the key functions of the board are to promote local products and services and to encourage commitment to quality and innovation among businesses and people. The establishment of this corporation is an example of how code can be modified to assist small-scale businesses and enterprises.