Vibrant colours, a gorgeous head of hair, and a much-coveted pillow are all on show when “Frieda” makes her way to your nearest school. Since April 7 this year, UNIC Windhoek has conducted several readings about its children storybook ‘Frieda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’. The Centre visited five learning institutions in Windhoek throughout April, reaching about 260 learners.
The enticing story inspires children to take action towards a better future for all people and planet. It chronicles Frieda’s own journey in learning about the SDGs and understanding her own power in making a change in the world.
“The kids really loved the story. I got positive feedback from the parents of the kids that were involved, so it was amazing” said, Kumon owner Carol Dickson.
Everywhere we went, children were buzzing in excitement – these were not to be ordinary school days. While children where excited to meet “Frieda”, they were perhaps even more excited to share their knowledge of the world. “We must keep the ocean clean so that we can have fish to eat but also just like how we matter, the fish matter too”, said one learner at the Kumon English and Math’s aftercare and day care.
Various volunteers from different walks of life supported the classroom engagement through bringing the book characters to life through charismatic reading. With the spontaneous participation of the youngsters, they would enthusiastically mimic the sounds of animals or point out the significant landmarks in Windhoek portrayed in the book.
“I love reading and I love kids; that it came together packaged as a volunteer service was exciting. The group interaction was wonderful and the kids were engaged longer than I expected," said Nena Shivute.
There were some excellent out of the box answers
Physical activity plays a crucial role in the implementation of health-related SDGs. To promote a sustainable lifestyle the children shared their exercise routines with us, some of which included a prayer pose, pushups and frog jumps.
It is evident that the learners do comprehend why and how they could make a difference and were incredibly astute at identifying how the SDG’s related to their everyday lives. Interchanges with learners also addressed gender equality, health and well-being, climate change and poverty; breaking down difficult concepts in layman’s terms that adults can also grasp.
Lia Hiangoro, a teaching assistant at Kumon, explained that teaching children about the SDGs is important because, “some kids live in a blind world; they don’t get the opportunity to explore more of what is going on around us so I am sure that they can learn from it [the book]”.
Children are the basis for all dimensions of sustainable development. And through this ongoing educational outreach programme, UNIC Windhoek wants to inspire the next generation of brave, imaginative, book-loving kids to have a comprehensive understanding of the SDGs. Through their own actions, learners can turn the achievement of the SDGs into a reality and make others aware of the existence of the SDGs.
UNIC Namibia is committed to this mission and is one of the founding members of the UN SDG Book Club African Chapter. Alongside other members, we aim to use books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to interact with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a curated reading list of books. Find the first list of books recommended by the SDG Book Club African Chapter here.