In 2015 the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit established 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDG’s). These range from halving the number of men, women and children living in any dimension of poverty to ending preventable death of newborns and children under 5 years of age and providing universal primary and secondary education, all by the target date of 2030.
The SDG’s form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and the world’s leading development institutions. Wise Choices for Life work to support these goals.
So how does the work of Wise Choices for Life assist in the achievement of the SDGs?
1. End Poverty in all its forms everywhere.
People are not able to break the poverty cycle unless we address the fundamental issues of family size and unplanned teenage pregnancy.
We teach the poorest of the poor about child spacing so they can make wise choices about the number of children they can afford to feed, cloth, educate and look after, enabling their families and their children to escape the poverty trap.
Poverty has become intergenerational with a lack of appropriate training to encourage debate on the cultural and spiritual issues around sexuality. Training young people, parents, pastors and community leaders how to break the chain will lead to a reduction of extreme poverty.
2. End Hunger, Ensure Food Security and Improved Nutrition and Promote Sustainable Agriculture
By training key leaders to pass on information about the importance of family planning, they are empowered to make decisions to support their families. For many women, the ability to control the amount of children they have is inexistent, thus making it extremely hard for families in poverty to provide for their many children’s needs. As a result of this problem, many children in large families suffer from hunger and malnutrition.
Through working with those in poverty, we aim to alleviate the lack of education concerning reproductive health and choices. We place great importance on providing individuals with support and information on family planning and avoiding teenage pregnancy to ensure that they can feed and provide for their children.
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Wise Choices for Life began in response to the major inequality in health information and services experienced in East Africa. The lack of information and understanding of reproductive and maternal health in these areas is one of the root causes of poverty.
It’s imperative to look after mothers so they can give birth to a healthy child and be fit to care for them. The importance of antenatal care, preparing for birth, and caring for the new born child are all vital elements of our training.
Breast feeding, immunization, and healthy, balanced diets for mother and child as they grow, all contribute to the health of both mother and child.
Similarly, explaining the causes of obstructed labour (and fistula), hemorrhaging, infection and unsafe abortion helps prevent maternal deaths.
It’s about being at the top of the cliff stopping people going over the edge, rather than being at the bottom trying to help them out.
4. Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning
If a couple can learn together about how to plan their family size and effectively understand the child spacing options open to them then they will be able have the number of children they can afford to feed, clothe and educate.
This in itself will increase the probability of families being able to send their children to school, and help communities meet the goal of universal primary education. Reducing teenage pregnancy helps keeps the girl child in education and prevents school drop out.
5. Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls.
In a male dominated society it’s important to also work on changing the attitudes of men. Our workshops on reproductive health and family planning are not just directed at the women. Men need to fully understand the issues around reproductive health and family planning, so that they can further encourage, support, and empower the women to make wise choices.
Also, teaching a small but vital piece of information, that the sex of the baby is determined by the sperm, not the woman, means that women don’t have to be blamed for not producing a son! Ultimately whether it is a girl child or a boy child is the design of God, and the life should be valued equally.
8. Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Employment and Decent Work for All
Wise Choices for life also works though collaboration with other workers and partner organizations. When teenage pregnancy is reduced and there are manageable sized families, the income generating the power of the household increases. Girls stay in school longer and young men are closer to becoming economically secure and able to contribute to the growth of the community.
15. Life on Land
According to UNICEF, on average Ugandan women have 6.2 children, the population growth is the fifth highest in the world, and over 55% of the population is under the age of 18.
Neither the country’s infrastructure nor the environment can sustain growth at this level. Environmental sustainability in the future is dependent on Ugandans making wise choices about their family size now.