I, Raghavi Naidu, a 23 year old currently working in the Financial sector attended the Youth Assembly at the UN in the Summer of 2017 in addition to the social venture for sustainable development and cross-sectoral implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) over the period of August 5th 2017 to August 16th 2017. The Social Ventures for Sustainable Development (SVSD) aspires to teach participants vital skills in building and developing a social venture business project while the Youth Assembly at the UN is a 4-day conference which aims to diagnose global issues encompassing social, economic and environmental facets. The cross sectoral implementation of the SDGs enables the participants to gather experience from local and global institutions by communicating with experts from different sectors. My eagerness to meet like-minded individuals, discovering unique solutions to issues plaguing our societies and becoming inspired to effect change within my society piqued my interest.
he application process entailed questions ranging from involvement in the society and preferred SDGs. Upon securing a place in the programme, I travelled to the American Embassy in Mauritius to obtain my B1/B2 visa. In view of the cost of the programme, airfare and visa, I approached several organisations seeking sponsorship of which 2 organisations graciously agreed to support my journey.
The first part of the package, SVSD, was held in Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey where vital skills in building and developing a social venture were explored. At the culmination of the 3 days at New Jersey, teams had to present theirsocial venture to peers and judges. The presentation was centered around offering solutions towards achieving SDGs and this was my favourite aspect of the programme as it entailed gathering collective ideas from team-members which resulted in a product we were very proud of.
The Youth Assembly at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York was the penultimate section of the package. The pillars of the UN and tour of the headquarters kickstarted the experience for the delegates. Particularly, I enjoyed attending workshops which covered various SDGs as it showcased innovative solutions currently being implemented by different institutions. Moreover, the opening ceremony held in the grandiose General Assembly Hall was a spectacular event graced by several key members of the international community such as the President of the 71stGeneral Assembly.
The final leg of the package in Washington D.C. entailed visits to international organisations dedicated towards the cross-sectoral implementation of SDGs. I visited the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA), Sustainable D.C., World Bank and International Monetary Fund. This segment was my least favourite as it was not as interactive as the other sessions. Nonetheless, this opportunity provided exposure of international organisations often discussed through various forms of media.
This programme was the ideal platform to showcase our island nation and what we can offer to delegates from around the world. Furthermore, I hope to utilise my skills acquired during the programme such as developing a social venture, public-speaking skills, awareness of the SDGs, networking opportunities established with other NGOs and individuals towards implementing projects in Seychelles which will alleviate certain issues plaguing our society.
As a result of participating in the programme, I was inspired by the ease with which individuals from all corners of the world forged friendships. These days, individuals tend to magnify differences rather than focus on similarities. Being privy to issues affecting societies in other parts of the world, I realised the problems prominent in Seychelles are minor in comparison. My wish is for everyone to have an informed perspective on various issues by coming up with innovative solutions instead of focusing on the negative aspects of our society.