Social Development Goals 01
Poverty is one of the age-long challenges humanity has been plagued with. As if that is not enough, eradicating poverty is posing an even greater challenge. It is no longer news that while the number of people living in extreme poverty has reduced a great deal by half, way too many people still find it difficult to access basic human needs such as healthcare, education, food, shelter and potable water.
Poverty rate in Nigeria has been pegged at 40% by the National Bureau of Statistics, representing about 82 million Nigerians lacking access to necessities. It isn’t strange that those in the rural areas have more rate of poverty (52.10%) as compared to their counterparts in the urban areas (18.04%). While Lagos state recorded the lowest poverty rate, 4.50%, Sokoto state recorded the highest poverty rate in the country at 87.73%.
Now all of these statistics are quite alarming for a nation at 60 to still be battling all forms of poverty and with no hope of achieving the SDG of “no poverty” by 2030. As bleak as the feat of achieving the “no poverty” goal in Nigeria, it is not impossible.
To effectively tackle poverty in Nigeria, it is best to approach the fight from the root cause of poverty and some of the causes of poverty in Nigeria include: weak governance, lack of basic infrastructure, poor quality of education, conflict, and climate related factors among others. These causes are separate yet, their effects are interconnected.
Lack of education among young people in Northern Nigeria makes them susceptible and gullible to radicalization which makes them tools for conflicts and insurgences which end up destroying and displacing rural dwellers from their own home, making them IDPs and dependent on the government for basic survival needs such as daily meals.
Climate related factors such as drought or flooding reduces crop productivity and increases loss among farmers whose earnings are dependent on climate. Excessive rainfall or drought also displaces people from their natural homes and are forced to relocate to most times, IDP camps.
The inability of government to provide security to militate against communal clashes and violence further results in the destruction of the available infrastructure and increases spread of violence and crime to neighbouring communities.
Provision of basic infrastructure such as clean drinking water can curtail water-borne diseases. Proper education can make the youths employable and armed with relevant skills that can take them off the streets.
Proper education by health workers can also teach them the use of contraceptives or other birth control methods to control excessive childbirth in the Northern areas and among people in rural areas across the country.
Provision of irrigation facilities during drought by farmer groups and local governments can help maintain food production during drought and the construction of drainage systems and land survey before building or planting can help reduce flooding in flood prone areas.
Everyone has a role to play in order to drastically reduce the rate of poverty in the country, government and individuals alike and if everyone stuck with their script and played their roles accordingly, the goal of no poverty in Nigeria would be achieved in no time.
Author: Chibuogwu Faith
Social Development Goals 02
Zero hunger as part of sustainable development goals is the priority of the World Food Programme and is targeted towards ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. This goal is important because the success of other goals is somewhat tied to its success. If one has access to healthy food and balanced diet, the issue of malnutrition would cease to exist or exist in its barest minimum. Malnutrition is a strong indicator and result of poverty.
The United Nations estimate that currently, 8.9% of the world population are hungry, that is, nearly 690 million people in the world are without food in adequate quantity or quality and if these trends continue, by 2030, there would be over 840million hungry people in the world.
Food security as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, means that all people at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.
Nigeria is not close to achieving the zero hunger goal, many thanks to increase in insurgence and a constant clash among farmers and herdsmen, lack of good road network linking farming communities with neighbouring markets thus resulting in high cost of transportation for the vehicles that decide to ply those un-motorable roads which further increases cost of food items in the market, making it hard for the lower class to purchase quality foods in sufficient quantity.
Reaching the zero hunger goals in Nigeria may not be a walk in the park but it is also not a herculean task. The problem of food security must be solved first for every other aspect of zero hunger to fall in place.
The government needs to educate the herdsmen on the need to respect property rights and establish grazing fields for them and strongly discourage encroachment on farmlands by taking measures on anyone who trespasses. New methods of husbandry should also be adopted. Security personnel should also be assigned to farming communities to control communal clashes before they get out of hand. Construction of good road networks that can link farms to respective markets and cities should be done by the government. This will ensure products get to the markets on time and minimise post-harvest losses while also ensuring swift distribution. Private firms should also look into value addition so as to prevent wastage of crops. Rather than wait for a fruit farmer to sell off her baskets of fruits, a private firm can buy all her farm produce at once and convert said fruits to fruit juice.
Government and private individuals can also help food security by providing access to credit, allocation of sufficient funds to the agricultural sector and the adoption of mechanised farming to help increase food production.
If all of these measures are put in place, Nigeria would by 2050, have solved the problem of hunger.
Author: Chibuogwu Faith
Social Development Goals 05
The role of women in development cannot be undermined and when women are empowered and gender equality is put in place, the effect on the development of a nation is visible. Putting an end to every form of violence and discrimination against women and girls has a long term effect on other areas of development including economic. Gender equality seeks to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls and grant them equal paid opportunities as well as bridge the gap between men and women in the labour market.
In order to attain relevant significant success in any area of the SDGs, gender equality must be achieved and inequality in every sphere must be reduced.
The gender inequality in Nigeria is doing a multiple task of keeping women down, stopping them from contributing their quota and at the same time restraining Nigeria from reaching her potential as a nation. According to a McKinsey report, Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) could grow by 23% or $229bn by 2025 if women participated in the economy to the same extent as men.
Gender inequality is systemic and should be addressed from the root. Females who hold leadership positions are seen as bossy, stubborn and aggressive while men who hold same positions are seen as focused, determined and assertive.
Families should ensure they are mindful of what they say to their children, both genders and should be given equal opportunities that match the interest of said children, regardless of their gender.
At the workplace, same opportunities for growth should be presented and women should be allowed to play and compete fairly with men. This can be done by changing policies and structures to accommodate women.
Stereotypes and cultural bias should be challenged and we should be conscious with our choice of words, thoughts and language use when we address women.
Men should also be actively involved in conversations involving gender equality to help create a unified voice.
The attainment of gender equality would lead to disruptions of mindsets, cultures and age-long practices which is why education is important.
Educate the people and help them see the need for equality.
Beyond advocacy, there should be a team of people at the head to make this a reality.
Beyond trending hashtags on social media #womensupportingwomen, women should really support women in real life, speak up for them and stop pitting one against the other.
Involve the youth in these gender equality walk, let them see the need and enforce it, put it to work because they are the future.
Gender inequality in Nigeria is a cultural as well as environmental conditioning, so to tackle this issue; there should be a deconstruction of every gender bias and it must begin with you and me first.
Author: Chibuogwu Faith
Social Development Goals 08
DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
There are insufficient jobs to keep up with the ever-growing labour force. This is strengthened by the statement by the International Labour Organisation that more than 204 million people were unemployed in 2015.
The common endgame of the individual SDGs is to promote sustained economic growth, increase productivity and technological innovation. The key to achieving this feat is to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation. Creating new jobs will eradicate or reduce forced labour, slavery and human trafficking.
In recent times, Nigeria has attempted to stifle the growth of entrepreneurship rather than encourage it. The various tax and levies they have to pay before operation and during operation is a major issue. There is the recently increased value added tax (VAT) from 5% to 7.2% which caused a lot of uproar on social media.
Bike hailing companies like Gokada was forced to shut down its services and diversify into food delivery just to cut their losses. Jobs were lost as a result of this government policy.
Lack of basic amenities in place to do business effectively such as electricity is another challenge facing entrepreneurs as lot of entrepreneurial jobs are dependent on electricity and as such, spend a large chunk of their income on alternative source of power which can range between solar panels and generators.
To encourage and boost entrepreneurship in Nigeria, the government has a major role to play.
The issue of multiple levies should be properly addressed and set in place.
Policies that support privately owned businesses should be signed into law.
Some entrepreneurs can make do with credits; government should provide and make credits accessible and affordable to entrepreneurs. The terms bounding this credit should be reduced for entrepreneurs so that they can all benefit from these credits.
As much as the government can, they should fix the issue of electricity in the country, this is long overdue and it is sad that many years after independence, we still cannot boast of constant power as a nation. If there’s constant power supply, the cost of production would reduce and thus, the overall price of goods in the market would also reduce and be affordable to everyone.
Entrepreneurship is a driving force in the economic development of a nation and if Nigeria needs a boost in its economy, it should put structures and policies that encourage entrepreneurs in place.
Author: Chibuogwu Faith
Social Development Goals 11
SUSTAINBALE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
As at 2018, 4.2 billion people, that is, about 55% of the world’s population lived in cities. It is estimated that by 2050, 6.5 billion people would be resident in urban areas in the world.
A sustainable city is one in which there are career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, resilient societies and economies. For this to happen, efficient and modern means of public transportation that can cater to the increasing population should be put in place amongst other things.
As a nation, we are still on a journey towards attaining sustainable cities and communities. Most of our major cities and urban centres lack proper planning and can be seen in the way structures are erected haphazardly.
One of the effects of improper planning is seen in the explosion that rocked a popular community in Lagos state earlier this year, destroying a school in the process. The huge effect of the explosion could have been less destructive if houses are not built around pipeline areas and the 100 metres mark should be adhered to.
Educating the general public on the dangers and health hazards of living close to areas where gases are flared is more important now than ever before. The ignorance is glaring in real estate owners using the ongoing Dangote refinery as a marketing strategy for their real estates.
Investing in low-cost houses by the government would reduce deforestation and help maintain natural habitats and green vegetation. New sites are opened and trees are cut down to meet the ever increasing demand for lands for houses. This can be solved if the government or private individuals invest in the construction of modern low-cost houses, well planned to suit and cater to the housing needs of different individuals.
Rural areas should also be developed by provision of basic amenities such as water, electricity, schools, market places and other amenities that would reduce rural-urban migration and depopulate and decongest urban areas. If people in rural areas have access to these things, a lot of them would not migrate to urban cities in the first place.
Sustainable cities and communities is a feat that can be achieved and is already being achieved in certain states in the federation. If government at state and federal levels worked towards building cities and communities in a way that is sustainable, the problems of traffic and increasing slums in urban centres would be solved.
Author: Chibuogwu Faith