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rise answers the SDGs call

Lesotho’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) index rank is at 135 out of 165, with little progress made in SDGs 1 (No Poverty) and 2 (Zero Hunger) as they relate to the ultimate goal of Lesotho’s National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) II; “to create private sector-led jobs and eradicate extreme poverty,” according to the Lesotho National Voluntary Review of 2019. The goal of the NSDP is to transform Lesotho from a consumer-based to a producer-based economy. This goal links greatly to part of rise’s goal of transforming Basotho youth from job-seekers to job-creators.

rise International is a non-profit social enterprise organization that is registered in Lesotho and the USA and has been spearheading projects that bring about change and innovation to the built environment since 2016. This is being achieved through the in loco fellowship program where graduates in architecture, design and construction are recruited and provided with business training skills and connected with mentors, clients, and possible funding sources, while at the same time taken through an intense 10-month hands-on learning by doing process in building infrastructures that are much needed for vulnerable community development.

Goal 1: Creating resilience against poverty

rise plays a huge role in the realization of the SDGs, such as creating resilience against poverty. On average, since inception the in loco alumni’s monthly income has increased by 44%. 19% of Fellows in the program got full-time employment, while 74% started their own businesses in order to sustain their livelihoods and to create employment for others. On average, 1 Pioneer employs 5 other people in the construction industry.

Goal 4: Quality education and the Learning by Doing methodology

The Learning by Doing methodology, which rise has been using since the organization’s inception, has allowed the fellows to interact with their environment in order to adapt and learn. The methodology gives hands-on experience by allowing the fellows to get immediate feedback by learning from their mistakes, thereby shortening the learning span. 

Goal 5 and Goal 8: Relationships inspiring social, economic and gender equality

The organization recruits fellows from all socio-economic and educational backgrounds and from different trades, treating all equally, and providing a space for all to develop and understand the importance of an integrated education and construction system. rise addresses the problem of gender discrimination in the built environment by promoting inclusive decision making, with both genders equally represented in both labor and planning, and rotating the leadership roles of fellows in the in loco fellowship program.

Goal 6: Water and sanitation in the fight against Covid-19

Portable running water is a vital resource now more than ever in the midst of the global pandemic and in the bid to address the Covid-19 situation in Lesotho, rise has built more than 150 mobile hand wash stations for hospitals, health centers, busy taxi areas, schools and vulnerable communities in Lesotho. This brief documentary shows how this has helped address the pandemic while also creating jobs in the country.

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean energy as health-saving technology

The number of people who die every year from cooking smoke inhalation is currently at 4 million, so rise partnered with African Clean Energy (ACE), a company that produces environmentally friendly stoves that burn materials much more efficiently with a lot less smoke, to design and construct mobile shops for the distribution of the stoves to remote villages in Lesotho.

Goal 9: Innovation and Infrastructure for eradication of unemployment

rise promotes innovative and creative designs in every infrastructure it builds to promote sustainability and resilience by incorporating recycled materials into the projects. rise also equips graduates in the built environment with entrepreneurship skills as a measure of eradicating unemployment and contributing to the economic development of the country. Twenty businesses have been created thus far by the rise in loco fellowship alumni in the 3 years since its inception, who in turn continue to hire other youth in their businesses. rise collaborates with the public to jointly implement community-driven development through Participatory Design Workshops. These workshops are carried out in order to share the importance of inclusive design with the partner organizations, stakeholders and community members.

The Learning by Doing methodology, which rise has been using since the organization’s inception, has allowed the fellows to interact with their environment in order to adapt and learn. The methodology gives hands-on experience by allowing the fellows to get immediate feedback by learning from their mistakes, thereby shortening the learning span. 

In light of the most recent accessible data and patterns, practically all nations will find it hard to reach the SDG goals by 2030. The need has never been more urgent for developing countries to ensure effective programs are put in place to meet the SDGs so that no one is left behind. 

The world needs more consistent implementation from leadership, long-term economical practices, strong institutions, education, innovation, partnerships, and services that are sustainable for development.

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