The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require an all-inclusive approach. This means that groups of people that have been marginalized before by global and local development plans have a greater chance of getting involved now. Central to these is women; women will play a significant role in the implementation since they are not only custodians of indigenous knowledge- in that they understand the community better in terms of its customs and traditions- but also because they are leaders in community participation.
Specifically I am interested in how women will innovate around areas of sustainable goals like education, gender equality among others. Innovation and technology especially in the Global South will also be critical to the extent to which the goals are implemented. Development across different fields in the last few years has been largely fueled by technology; innovations in technology are the backbone of what is commonly referred to us the information age. The key issue here is access. Who has access to this technology, what are they doing with it, what kind of innovation are they spearheading? Asking these questions in relation to Africa, then we start to understand why we have lagged behind in the journey towards sustainability. If women are going to own this development process; then by all means it is time they embraced technology and actively used it in innovations that will drive implementation and thus social and economic change.
We already know that there are women out there doing great work at the community such as setting up alternative informal schools for children who have no access to formal schools, introducing feeding programs in schools so that children can remain in school, holding sexuality and sex education for adolescents just to name a few. It is important for the development actors, governments and policy makers to find out ways through which women innovate around these projects that they run in the community.
If we are to effectively leave no one behind in implementation then we have to allow the community to empower itself through the existing projects. By focusing on what is already there at the community, we give the community a sense of ownership of any project and programs that are implemented in their community. Focal to this is the CSOs that are working at the community. Let’s take technology to the women, let us introduce them to tools that they can use to empower themselves leading to social and economic development. There are international organizations like World Pulse, in their recent project She Will Connect Project that aim at empowering women and young girls with skills in technology. Local CSOs should look out for these organizations and form working partnerships that will strengthen the impact in the community. In relation to this is private enterprise that deal with technology should tap into this group of people, women, and see how they can partner especially through social entrepreneurship.
So as we formulate ways through which we will implement SDGs in an all-inclusive approach let’s not forget the important tool that is technology and innovation and the place of women in the implementation process. Give women the necessary tools in technology and there is no telling what innovations they will come up with.