The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), The Global Goals, often seem far way. Global can feel very much out of reach. 2030 can be perceived as far beyond tomorrow. How can we meaningfully engage in the SDGs as an individual, as a company with a vast corporate reach?
As it turns out, the Think Global, Act Local approach that underpins community investment activity is a gateway for contributions to the SDGs. Shaw Communications’ (Shaw) on-going support of Pathways to Education is an example of a highly localized investment contributing to SDG 4: Quality Education.
Since 2014 Shaw’s support has enabled the successful launch and development of the Pathways to Education program in Vancouver’s highly challenged Downtown Eastside district. While the financial commitment to Pathways has been significant, the impact of Shaw’s Pathways partnership has resulted from seeking ways to deepen its impact upon Pathways students, beyond program funding.
For example, Shaw applied its communications expertise to raise the profile of Pathways, attracting participants, community supporters and other needed local resources. Media outreach, public service announcements and direct engagement with potential local supporters attracted students and much-needed resources to enable Pathways’ growth and expansion.
Additionally, Shaw has provided free computers to all Pathways locations to use for programming or to provide students who otherwise have limited connectivity. Shaw further provided Mobi by Shaw Go bike-sharing passes to all Pathways students in Vancouver. Those who owned bikes rarely rode due to the very high risk of theft. The bike passes eliminated that risk while providing all users with an alternative transportation option, opportunities for exercise, and the ability to access resources around the city. Student commitment and progress is recognized and rewarded through career fairs, mentorship workshops, and motivational experiences.
At the end of the day, dollars are essential to enable access to quality education, yet won’t be enough to remove every barrier. Like Pathways and its partner/enabler Shaw Communications – we need to think smart and creatively as we strive to achieve the SDGs. And to think SDG 4, as an enabler for SDG 1,2,3…