by Elizabeth Ofori - GM of TLBBH Foundation Ghana
Over the past few months, I have been asked many questions about my work as a manager of a start-up nonprofit, a development and sustainability consultant and an SDGs advocate. But three of the most outstanding questions have been; “How do these SDGs relate to the story of Ghana and Africa”, “Aren’t the SDGs an attempt by the western world to once again control and manipulate the affairs of the black people” and “Can Africa attain these development goals at all, talk less of in the next ten years”?.Over the past few months, I have desisted from attempting to give an absolute answer to any of these questions because truth be told, there is no absolute answer to any of them. I am not even going to pretend as if these are not genuine questions to ask. Neither am I going to forge an answer or pretend to even have answers to any of these questions. I honestly don’t. But what I know I have and can confidently lay it bare before everyone, is my understanding, passion, vision and drive concerning these same issues and what I am willing to do to effect change in the ginormous capacity that God has so graciously lavished on me.
I am not by any means saying that I have it all figured out, or I can do it all by myself. Neither am I disproving the fact that the current state of affairs in Ghana and most part of Africa with regards to development and social change is at best, hugely disparate. But I need you to walk with me through my thoughts on these issues and see how best we can all work together, directly or indirectly, to build the kind of Africa, we want to have.
The sustainable development goals are a set of 17 goals to help our planet (for a full lecture on the details of the SDGs, sign up for my SDGs classes). The goals are further broken down into 169 targets and 230 plus indicators to help specify actions suitable for different localities that feed into the achievement of the goals. One very unique thing about the goals is how they are all interconnected in such a way that actions adopted for the achievement of one goal will directly or indirectly feed into the achievement of another.
All 17 goals are of utmost importance, however, different localities and countries may have a different set of goals that are of immediate importance to them based on the unique set of challenges that face them. Hence, my answer to this question is, the SDGs provide a good vehicle on which the development of Ghana and Africa can ride.
Aren’t the SDGs an attempt by the western world to once again control and manipulate the affairs of black people?
One of the understandings I live by is “no one can come into your space and control your affairs or manipulate you unless you allow that person to”. We are always quick to blame the western world for all the woes of the black people and I will be honest, we are very much justified to. The blatant truth is that the western world has no love for any other people but it's own (and there is no crime or foul play in that). The only problem is that black people have a love for all other people but it's own. And that is the actual, real issue we need to address and vehemently annihilate from our midst.
We have allowed ourselves to be bamboozled into thinking that the black people are helpless and that the western world is an enemy, friend or frenemy (whichever category you have chosen to place them). The truth is, we are our own enemies and the day we accept that and begin to consciously rise from it will be the day that our true mental emancipation and development begins.
Is there a hidden agenda behind the SDGs? I don’t know. Is the SDGs a good development vehicle for all people irrespective of race, color, and nationality? Yes. Will I continue to advocate the SDGs especially it's fit into Ghana’s development? Yes.
My conclusion on this matter is, if you feel like you have been played long enough, get up and stop being played and play the game yourself.
Can Africa attain these development goals at all, talk less of in the next ten years”?
Hmmmmm! This question, I sincerely do not know how to answer. What I know is that we may not have reached our desired destination by the next ten years, but we definitely would have made tremendous progress along the path of progress if we are able to consolidate all the pockets of efforts and actions taking place right now.
Goal 17 of the SDGs is by far my favorite goal because it specifies how we can work together to achieve what we all desire to have and enjoy in our various countries and continents.
In my next article, I will speak specifically to Goal 17 – Partnerships for the goals, the challenges we face as Ghanaians and Africans when it comes to partnerships and collaborations and some solutions I have designed to help us work coherently towards our vision.
Stay tuned and thanks for reading, sharing and supporting.