By ANUPAM GAKHAR
Every human on the earth envisages a bright future for himself and his loved ones. Whatever be the difficulties of life, every person wants to overcome those and lead a happy life. However, due to some economic and cultural weaknesses and limitations of his native country and society, he continues to struggle with those difficulties. This truth is universal, evident in every developed and developing country. To overcome such difficulties of humanity and for the sustainable development of the world, the United Nations came to a consensus that by 2030 all the countries of the world would have to work in 17 directions. These shall ensure that the basic needs of life of every person are met while keeping the land and environment safe and sustainable. These 17 directions have been named as SDGs or ‘Sustainable Development Goals’.
Eliminating poverty, ensuring health and welfare, protecting the environment, reducing gender inequality, providing good education, ensuring peace and justice for all, managing clean water and sanitation, removing economic inequality, provisioning for cheap and clean energy , responsible consumption and production among others are the main sustainable development goals.
The success of sustainable development goals in realizing their targets depends upon how relevant are the projects to local settings, how well they are implemented within what time frame and with what level of sustainability for getting the community out of the identified problem. As it is said in corporate world, think global, act local, meaning thereby that even though the goals are global and universal, let their implementation be done keeping local economic and cultural sensitivity along with active engagement of communities . It is therefore important to make the ultimate beneficiaries of the projects integral part of the planning and implementation process. Community engagement is therefore of utmost importance in the success of every effort. SDG Choupal is India’s answer to that intent .
SDG Choupal plays the crucial role of bringing together the policymakers directly in touch with the beneficiaries, bridging the gap between the two. The people energy behind SDG Choupal is focused to mobilize and inspire all stakeholders to work in unison to enable realization of the SDGs. The process will see that there is legitimate representation given to the locals, that their voices will be heard and ultimately become part of the policy and projects under the same. SDG Choupal is wide in scope and would cover the entire length and breadth of the country. All the 731 districts, cities & towns therein and each of the 6 lac villages shall be part of the discussions and initiatives. This shall ensure that marginalized groups even farthest from administrative centres can participate in the policy formation and its implementation. Such inclusive decision-making and empowerment will mean ownership of the projects and ensure active and enthusiastic participation. We can thus hope that at least in India, SDGs shall be achieved before the target date of 2030.
Community engagement means the communities can plan their own development priorities and even their own interventions. With the commissionaires of all districts being directly involved and with technology as a facilitator, the policymakers will get real data and inputs from the last mile. This would transform development goals into a two way process. The policy shall be relevant to the natives while indigenous innovations and solutions shall reach the policy makers such that they be implemented elsewhere, maximising the utilisation of every rupee spent on the projects. Add to that with the knowledge of availability of local resources and skills, will lead to most efficient use of monetary resources.
For drawing complete benefit of SDG Choupal, the grassroots participation will not only be at planning and implementation level but beyond that for effective utilization of infrastructure, processes and schemes that are existing . One of the most important points in the success of the SDG Choupals would be trust and transparency to co-exist among the stakeholders. Accountability of officials to the beneficiaries will go a long way in boosting the same. SDG Choupal has already got initiated. This has been launched under the aegis of NITI Aayog and the mission is to make SDG agenda a reality in India in the country’s quest for achieving numero uno status in achieving these goals.
Edutech Entrepreneur with standing of more than two decades. He holds an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from REC Kurukshetra, (now National Institute of Technology) and an MBA in Corporate Strategy & Economic Policy from Maastricht School of Management, The Netherlands.He is the Chief Effort Officer (CEO) of Qwintessense of Life (P) Ltd. a technology venture that focuses on enabling children improve their English communication skill. He has recently rolled out “Excited to Teach”, an initiative to train school educators.
Outside of his business, he has been associated with various business and social organizations. He sits on the advisory board of Prasanchetas Foundation that is doing exemplary work in prevention of child abuse and menstrual hygiene. He is a member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (North India) has been awarded by it three years in a row for his contribution to its mission. He mentors start-up entrepreneurs and loves developing new business models, creating opportunities where none seem to exist.
His personal mission is to help the youth, especially those following the disciplines of humanities, liberal arts and commerce to create success stories post-college in the real world.