Students’ challenged to implement sustainable development goals

The 7th season of the Great Debaters’ Contest has attracted over 500 schools from across Kenya as BLAZE by Safaricom becomes the title sponsor 

Nairobi, May 31 2017… Popular teen debate show Great Debaters Contest has challenged high school students to adapt one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within their schools and communities.

The fun, thought-provoking programme which is produced by Arimus Media Limited aims to create a ripple effect in the implementation of the Global Goals by challenging the students to identify the goals they would achieve within their communities. The initiative has also received a boost from Safaricom BLAZE and DStv to encourage healthy discourse among High School students on the SDGs.

Arimus Media Limited Chief Executive Officer Julie Gichuru noted that challenging the students to walk the talk enables them inculcate a spirit of leadership and ambition as they strive to make a difference in their communities. She added that the category would be rewarded separately from the formal debates, but gives an upper hand to the winning school to have a compelling project.

“Since its inception 7 years ago, GDC has engaged students in constructive discussions over topical issues. For the first time, we have gone a step further to challenge the students to take up 1 of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and implement it in the best way to benefit their community. We believe that this ripple effect will help us achieve the Goals in 2030. The most impactful project will be announced and rewarded, even as we reward the winning school in the formal debates,” said Julie.

The Debates Contest will see each student from the winning team walk away with the latest tablets, medals and assorted gift hampers from BLAZE, with the team patron banking Ksh250,000. The top school will not only own bragging rights as The Great Debater, but will also receive a lifetime subscription of DStv with access to all learning equipment and a fully equipped ICT chillout zone.The competition will also recognize and award top schools in the 13 regions with trophies and medals, while the top three Debate Club patrons will bag Ksh 50,000, 20,000and 10,000 respectively.

On her part, Safaricom’s Director for Consumer Business Sylvia Mulingeemphasised the important of raising awareness of the SDGs among the youth, noting that understanding and driving the achievement of the Goals would result in a more equitable society.

“Safaricom is a proud advocate of the Sustainable Development Goals, and was the first corporate enterprise in the country to ingrain them into its business operations. We believe that by driving the conversation on SDGs we can create a world that values equality and purpose before profit, and we can only do this if the younger generation also believes in these goals” said Ms. Mulinge.

In September 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for sustainable development to achieve, among others, an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.

Wariko Waita, who represented the United Nations, commended the efforts by Safaricom and GDC in advancing the conversation on SDGs.

“We praise this partnership between GDC and Safaricom that offers critical opinions of the youth on SDGs, and wish the students the best,” said Wariko.

Light Academy, Nairobi emerged tops in the 2016 Contest, trailed closely by Nyeri High School and Mbooni Girls.

The Great Debaters Contest was launched in September 2010 at Olympic High School. It has since grown from 4 schools to 14 schools in 2011, to over 500 coming on board in 2017. The Great Debaters Contest airs on KBC from Monday to Friday at 6.20 pm.