The UN General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 already three years ago, but too few citizens of Amsterdam have heard about them, and even less people are inclined to contribute actively to achieving these goals. Given the great diversity of the population of the city, raising awareness and engaging everyone should be built up from the grassroots level.
In 2018, the city of Amsterdam has over 850,000 inhabitants, including slightly more women than men. A large majority are unmarried, and the average age is younger than in the rest of the Netherlands, with almost 40% of all inhabitants 20-34 years old. Almost half the population are from Dutch origins, followed by over a third non-western migrant, predominantly Moroccan, Surinamese, Turkish and Antillean, while the rest are western migrants. The different groups are not evenly spread over the districts. For example, Amsterdam Zuid Oost is home to two thirds non-western migrants, including half from Suriname. (OIS, 2018).
We propose to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals among the public in Amsterdam and to translate them into action at the local level. During the funding period, our initiative will primarily target inhabitants of Amsterdam Zuid-Oost, by a mix of social media and innovative co-creation activities using our own EthicSchool approach and Dialogue tables. We will take Sustainable Development Goal 4, fostering quality education for all, as starting point, and then branch out to stimulate participants in our activities to embrace and contribute to all other SDGs.
SDG 4 targets quality education for all. In our project we will put this in practice by offering local citizens accessible hands-on experiences giving them a taste of evidence-based knowledge and training them to put scientific thinking into practice. We will offer methods from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including natural sciences and engineering, social sciences, economics, foresight, law, international relations, arts and philosophy.
During the six months pilot period, we will organise six dialogue tables, one every month, and a final market where participants come together to present their ideas. Each dialogue table covers two or three SDGs in addition to training in “education for all”. We will communicate at least weekly about the project via social media.
Each event takes an evening or afternoon (3 hours) and is chaired by Sarita Bajnath.
Each dialogue table starts with a brief introduction of the SDGs in general, goal 4 on education for all, and the other 2-3 goals targeted (through one or more short films). Then the invited partners are interviewed about how they contribute to the targeted goals in their professional life and are asked to formulate a challenge to the participants. An expert explains a scientifically sound method that could be used in addressing the challenge. After this the participants set out in teams to discuss and work out their solution to the challenge. This includes a prototype, a theatre performance, work of art, story, or other tangible product, which they present to the other teams. At the end of the event, the participants have learned about the targeted SDGs and gained hands on experience in a scientifically sound solution. Ineke Malsch prepares a report and news item, and the tangible products are stored and will be presented in an exhibition during the final market. The speakers in each event will be required to invite all interested participants personally for a follow-up talk or open day of their organisation, to improve employability of the participants.