The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were introduced and agreed upon at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 with 190 countries, including Nigeria as signatories to the agreement and had a 15-year life span. But at the tail-end of the last Millennium, Nigeria, like most sub Saharan African nations, was adjudged to have failed to meet any of the targets. Meanwhile, during that period, the major successful countries that achieved the set objectives of the MDGs included China (whose poverty population declined from 452 million to 278 million in line with MDG 1A) and India according to the World Bank.
In well-articulated and precise terms, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015, to replace the MDGs as a universal call to action; the SDGs encompass the moving mantras of achieving No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education and Gender Equality. These include Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Others are Reduced Inequality, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and Partnership For The Goals.
The concept of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are interconnected and integrated to address the major development challenges faced by people globally and Nigeria inclusive. This means that “action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability”. This simply means that, placing the SDGs together, they become the epitome of paradise; a dreamland, one which would create a world next to the Biblical Heaven. But are we anywhere close to achieving it? The answer is “Not at all” just to state it as it is.
Available Data shows that Nigeria is ranked 139/163 with 54.23% score on the 2022 world’s SDGs index. This is because 83 million Nigerians, representing 40% of the country’s population, live in poverty. The data shows 70.3% of children live in poverty, while 23.3% live in extreme poverty. The statistics dent the country’s drive to achieve the SDG goal one, seeking ‘No Poverty.’ Meanwhile, 70% of 10-year-olds in Nigerian schools could not understand simple sentences or perform basic numeracy tasks. It is estimated that 75 million Nigerians do not have basic literacy skills. At the same time, 10.5 million children were out-of-school, the highest number of out-of-school children globally. One-third of children in the country were out-of-school, and one in five out-of-school children in the world is a Nigerian. This questions Nigeria’s preparedness for the SDG’s goal four – quality education.
The data showed that one in five women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 in Nigeria reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within 12 months. And women, who make up slightly less than 50% of the population, account for more than 70% of citizens living in extreme poverty, these cast doubts on the nation’s determination to achieve the SDG’s goal five – gender equality.
Considering the outlook of gender inequality in Nigeria, in July 2019, though 43 politicians were considered by the Presidency for appointments only seven, or 16% were women, this is a matter of serious concern. On a broader perspective, it was discovered that Nigerian women hold just 7% of elected positions in the country, even though they make up nearly 50% of the electorate. The 7% figure remains one of the lowest in the world. That is why gender inequality has become a matter of agitation for Queen Evelyn as a woman advocates.
Indeed, Nigeria’s gender inequality runs against the concern of Kofi Annan (of blessed memory). The late Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) noted that: “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance”.
Findings in the Nigeria’s 2nd Voluntary National Review (VNR) 2020 on SDG-3 indicate that the country faces challenges on health outcomes, such as high rates of maternal mortality. The SDGs Showcase therefore seek to enhance SDGs achievement to boost child rights, namely access to school, healthcare, reduced malnutrition, and safe water, including girl child molestation, rape, saying no to pornography, reduce maternal mortality and women empowerment among others.
Speaking on goal six – clean water and sanitation, it is worthy to note that one-third of children in the nation lacked access to water, 25.5 million Nigerian children are experiencing high or extremely high-water vulnerability, while 209 million Nigerians use water contaminated at the point of collection. These are in addition to 46 million people who defecate in the open being the highest rate in the world.
So far, power supply has been a daunting challenge in Nigeria, with the national grid collapsing multiple times yearly, leaving the nation without a power supply, and thereby grounding economic activities. Nigeria with over 200 million people depends on about 4,000 megawatts of power, despite having the capacity to generate 12,522 MW of electric power from its existing plants.
Nigeria has serious challenges with climate change, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, justice, and strong institutions. When it comes to climate change, Nigeria still has a lot to do in the areas of public enlightenment to create awareness against the indiscriminate felling of trees, the need to step up environmental sanitation and tree planting.
“It is critical for us to cultivate consciousness and compassion towards our environment, create awareness, galvanize people, and build sustainable innovations for sustainable development” according to Dia Mirza, and that is because as pointed out by Angela Merkel: “Climate change knows no borders.
ABOUT QUEEN EVELYN
Queen Evelyn, a brand ambassador, life coach, social entrepreneur, and humanitarian was crowned Mrs. Nigeria III at the 3rd edition of the Mrs. Nigeria Beauty Pageant, held at the prestigious Oriental Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos, on the 16th May, 2021. Queen Evelyn represented the whole of Africa at the world stage of the 10th edition of United Nations Pageant; she emerged with 24,500 votes and was crowned Mrs. Africa at the glamourous event held at the Pride Plaza Hotel, Aerocity, New Delhi, on the 7th May, 2022.
Queen Evelyn have been passionately instrumental in transforming the lives of over 1200 girls and underprivileged single mothers within Nigeria, by making some quiet giant strides in the advancement of the cause of the women folks and girl child. Distributed Cloths, Food Items and Medics both for Pre-Natal and Post-Natal Items for Pregnant Women and Wives of Retired Military Officers.
So far, she have supported IDP camps, school dropout girls, given scholarships to 30 indigent girls in primary 4 & 5 in LEA primary school, Mpape and Dutse to celebrate 2021 girl child education; supported over 100 autistic children, 5 orphanages, 3 rural communities, 5 schools and have reached out to over 1,000 children who have been impacted with our humanitarian activities. Queen Evelyn have also distributed over 2000 menstrual pads to the less privilege women including those in IDP camps because she strongly believes that if condoms can be given free, why not sanitary pads for hygiene sake while supporting autistic children with several gifts.
QUEEN EVELYN ADVOCACY
- Campaign for Women to Embrace Culture as an Instrument of Peace for Sustainable Development in Synergy with the United Nations SDGs and African Union Agenda 2063;
- Campaign for Zero Discrimination Against Autistic children and People with Disabilities;
- Campaign Against Child Sexual Abuse and Child Pornography;
- Campaign to Encourage Cultural Tourism and Investments;
- Campaign for African Women and Girl Child Financial and Economic Inclusion;
The SDGs FAMILY & BUSINESS SHOWCASE is therefore a joint-initiative and value-driven project of Queen Evelyn and UNAU Diamonds Pageant that combines a unique blend of SDGs, Entertainment, Pageantry and Humanitarian as an effective tool for promoting and domesticating the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mobilizing Supports, Enhancing Social Entrepreneurial Skills, Connecting participants with business linkage opportunities and access to grants to make lasting impact in their community and beyond to achieve our target for 1,000 Women and Girls as beneficiaries for Cash and Kind over a 8-year period of 2022 to 2030 from the proceeds of the SDGs Showcase.
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr. Matthias Schmale, once said that “If we position women and girls at the center of economic drive, we will fundamentally drive better and more sustainable outcomes for all, and put Africa back on a footing to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its accompanying SDGs”.