SDG 17 for SDG 4: Partnerships for Equitable Education
We’re all familiar with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This week, let’s talk about how SDG 4 (ensuring equitable education) can be achieved by executing SDG 17- by strengthening “the means of implementation... and the global partnership for sustainable development”.
What is partnership in development?
The concept of ‘partnership’ in development is not a new one, it came about at the end of the 20th century, just as concepts like ‘participation’, ‘empowerment’ and the like started floating around in the global development agenda. Then, it started with a global call to collaborate efforts towards alleviating poverty, with OECD’s report , “Shaping the 21st Century: The Contribution of Development Co-operation”. Today, debates on ‘partnerships’ for international development are based on understanding the power dynamics and implications of governmental foreign aid between the so- called Global North and Global South. In this post though, we will take a micro view at ‘partnerships’ and achieve SDG 17  by looking at how SDG 17’s sub- targets are met through partnerships between the private sector, multilaterals and educational non- profits (yes, including us!).
Pratham and Google
The partnership between Pratham, the largest education- focused NGO in India and Google, is one that demonstrates the achievement of SDG 17 by mainly achieving the sub- targets 17.3 and 17.7 of the SDG 17- that of mobilizing financial resources to ‘developing countries’ and enhancing the use of enabling technology.
To be specific, a $3.1 million grant has been given by Google to Pratham for the “Hybrid Learning” initiative , to help strengthen technology initiatives that aim to make quality education more accessible at all in India. The initiative fosters a collaborative learning model that improves educational outcomes of children. Arguably, the best part about this partnership is that it shifts the ‘power’ to the 10 to 13 year old students! The model empowers students in grades five through eight to decide collaboratively on what content they would like to learn and in what ways they would like to learn. Pratham is working to use this student- led model along with the traditional curriculum and to scale it to rural contexts in India. Pratham’s partnership with Google has also resulted in the 'Bolo,', a Hindi-Speaking mobile app that is aimed at teaching children in rural India to read offline .
Turn The Bus and Jeevika
Our partner, JEEViKA, is a World Bank aided project run by the Department of Rural Development, Bihar, which has a network of 10 Million disadvantaged women in rural Bihar. Our partnership fulfills the SDG 17’s sub- target of 17.17- that of “building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships”, as we leverage our Jeevika network to connect with over 2000 children in the districts of Bihar. Our collaboration with JEEViKA also enables us to engage directly with the community in meaningful ways, like outreach with the parents of our students. Finally, even in the monitoring of our program, our partnership with Jeevika allows us to connect with our beneficiaries directly to qualitatively assess the outcome of our program.
The above two are just small, but monumental examples of the culmination of partnerships between non- profits and large private sector and multilateral organizations. We deeply cherish our relationship with our partners and look forward to more meaningful partnerships in the future.