YoUbuntu: SDG- Sustainable Development Goals

In the week from 4 October to 10 October 2021, 16 young people met in Mannheim and Cape Town at the same time to explore global connections, to experience international and local encounters and to develop strategies for multiplying sustainable ways of life. In the joint online exchange with the nine young people from South Africa, the Ubuntu philosophy was of great importance: the experience of being part of the whole. In an intensive week, the participants dealt with the SDGs - with a special focus on SDG 8 "Decent work and economic growth." In addition to various local discussions, actions and excursions around the topic, the daily digital meeting with the participants from Cape Town was an enriching and connective opportunity to engage in an international exchange. Their own ideas on the topic were also exchanged and further developed, divided into two smaller international groups.
This article:
29.11.2021 / 14 Uhr
Anna-Lena Putschky

Local and international exchange

Coming from all over Germany, the young people dealt with topics such as sustainability and the environment in relation to the SDGs. In addition to the daily online meetings with the partner group from South Africa, the young people deepened their knowledge and ideas through various actions at the local level. After a short introduction to the topic by means of an SDG quiz, the participants jointly designed a chart with their personal expectations. Tuesday started with an SDG walk through Mannheim. The participants went on the trail of sustainable development and local places in Mannheim whose work is based on the development goals.

On Wednesday, the two groups dealt with the question "What is decent work? After the personal examination of the topic and a work phase in the local groups, they went out to the streets of Mannheim in the afternoon to conduct interviews with local people. The collected audio and video material was processed the next day into videos that focus on the issue of decent work on a personal level. The newly learned method of storytelling served as creative support and as a framework for processing. In the afternoon, the participants went to Heidelberg to the community nursery "Wildwuchs e.V." to get an insight into the sustainable cultivation of fruit and vegetables and thus also into the work involved. Friday was used for further processing of the videos and storytelling in the small groups. Within these small groups and later in the plenary, it was also discussed how the stories and content created could be taken into the world.

On Saturday, the last digital exchange took place between the German and South African participants. The plans for the "change agents" of the two groups were presented and the personal expectations were reflected retrospectively.

Focus: Sustainable Development Goal 8

For a special deepening of SDG 8 "Decent work and economic growth", the participants listened to the episode on SDG 8 of the podcast "Trick 17" in one evening. In this episode, Nick talks with Markus from the Fair Finance Institute and Christian from Starkmacher e.V. about finance, how it can be thought sustainably and about their joint project "Future of Fair Finance".

Click here to listen to the podcast →

However, the participants were not only passive consumers, but were also able to gain interesting insights into SDG 8 themselves. During the SDG Walk in Mannheim, the participants learned at one station about the stories of some women in the Asian region who work in different wool factories under precarious conditions. Some women fight for their rights there, others report that they wish they no longer worked in the factories. It was an impressive insight and made us think and rethink.

Through the interviews and conversations with people in the city about decent work and the collection of personal stories, SDG 8 became more tangible. Especially the international exchange in this context allowed an insight into the life worlds of people in Mannheim and in Cape Town. This provided a good basis for discussion and exchange.

Voices of participants

"An intensive week with many great encounters both on site and in exchange with the participants from South Africa. It was a pleasure to exchange with different people about God and the world. Especially the strong engagement with the question "What is decent work for you and what touch points have you had with it?" challenged me to rethink and question."

"Overall, I had a great time, learned a lot and gained great experiences. Although my day went from 7am to 11pm, the effort I felt was a rewarding one and a feeling of positive stress. I was able to meet so many nice, personable and fascinating people, all with very impressive vitae. For that I am grateful and looking forward to seeing them again and for the second week."

"I particularly enjoyed the (unfortunately) digital transfer with the South Africans, in addition to socio-critical discussions with the participants, such as on racism. [...] Through the project "YoUbuntu" new horizons are opened, which let me experience the problems on another continent "up close"."

Filled and strengthened by intensive encounters and fed with new knowledge and strategies, the participants look forward to the second week in November with joyful and curious anticipation.