In the African context, there is a need to foster innovative thinking in order to strengthen local economies and to create new avenues for the development of sustainable livelihoods for our communities. Those within the development space, whether within government or the NGO world, need to employ the best measures to ensure that the initiatives being developed are grounded within a sustainable development schema.
What is Sustainable Development?
Sustainable Development encompasses the projects, initiatives and pursuits that are employed to meet the developmental needs of a community and its stakeholders in the present, while ensuring that the community’s resources (natural and human) are well maintained and positioned for future and self-directed development.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for all people, now and into the future. At its heart are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth.
How does one become a leader in Sustainable Development?
Growing in this field means not only understanding the Global Framework for Sustainable Development, but also understanding the demands of the African context. This is going to require an understanding of sustainable development trends and issues. Consider doing a short course in this field, where you can upskill as you advance your career.
Thinking Sustainable Development:
If you are involved in developmental activities, whether in the long, medium or short term, these are some of the steps to incorporate:
- Stakeholder analysis
Identify all the parties that are directly or indirectly affected by the project. Initiate dialogue with the stakeholder groups and have a clear picture of the different groups’ sentiments and level of buy-in concerning the project i.e. be clear on their issues and concerns and come up with a plan to get on the same page. Sustainability is heavily dependent on buy-in.
- Set sustainable development objectives
As much as it is important to clearly establish the “what” that the project is set out to accomplish, it is equally important to articulate the “why” for undertaking the project. i.e. what is it the current status that the project is seeking to change? What preferable future will your pursuits bring when it is successful? What is the driving rationale?
- Clear Implementation Plan
Your objectives must translate into an operational plan. Set up the appropriate systems to enable your plan to work. Clearly mark out the different phases that need to be undertaken for you to reach your objective. Phases must have outcomes and timelines.
- Performance Management
Establish the performance measures you will be using. The performance measures must align to the objectives and implementation plan. Key Performance Indicators need to be articulated clearly both at a team level and at an individual level.
- Monitoring Processes
It is important for those managing the process of a project to have a clear monitoring process mapped out. Monitoring interventions can include regular reporting; site visits and engagement; regular meetings with teams and employing the services of external auditors where appropriate.
Good Governance and Sustainability short courses
To get you started, why not consider our new online Good Governance, Sustainability and Resilience in Africa short course? After all, it truly is one of the most rewarding industries in South Africa! Take a free virtual tour, experience our interactive course design and see how this short course can help you kickstart or boost your career! Take the free virtual tour now
Ready to take the next step? Send us an enquiry and a student advisor will be in touch if you’d like to discuss the possibility of an exciting career in South Africa’s booming visitor economy.