EKCEP: COVID-19 Response Edition – Week 3 of the curriculum began on May 12, 2020. The objective of the EKCEP: COVID-19 Response Edition is to provide the required fundamental knowledge and skills via the completion of a series of engaging learning experiences. The goal is the development of self-efficacy in understanding the youth’s role in aiding the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, leading to self-actualization and increased zeal to transfer and apply knowledge learnt in their communities. It is also a means to provide developing countries lacking in social welfare systems with much-needed assistance during this COVID 19 Pandemic. Through funds raised, primary health care centers and internally displaced peoples( IDP) camps in Nigeria will receive water filters and soaps, respectively. Students are primarily Interact club members in Grade 9-11. 21 students are participating in the program. All students are in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program under the Peel Public School Board. So far, the students have explored various cultures and standards of living – their associated challenges and ways of improving living standards across continents. From our discussions, the following key points emerged:
1. Canada, a multicultural country
Living in Canada, we have the opportunity of experiencing different cultures because Canada is a multicultural country. Families are immigrants from different continents. Some are first-generation Canadians and still have extended families in those parts of the world where the standard of living is lower than that of Canada.
2. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) calculations should be reviewed
Developed countries have a high gross domestic product (GDP) that implies a high standard of living. In contrast, developing countries have a low GDP that means a low standard of life. Most ancient cultures value the environment and its people’s wellbeing above economic gains, and these cultures are found predominantly in developing countries. On the other hand, modern-day culture values financial rewards above all else and these cultures are found mostly in developed countries. Current GDP calculations favour developed countries because it only takes into consideration the financial health of nations. It does not consider the environmental and social (people’s wellbeing) components of life, and this brings about a lot of imbalance in the global system.
3. Ignoring the social and environmental consequences in decision-making processes leaves groups of people impoverished within countries with High GDPs
When challenges countries face with high standards of living (high GDP) are investigated, this imbalance is showing up in the disparity of living standards observed in different groups of people living in the same country. Ignoring the social and environmental consequences in decision-making processes leaves groups of people within states weak and in need of necessities of life similar to the challenges faced by developing countries. America, Australia and Canada are examples of countries with a high standard of living. They still have impoverished groups within, and you wonder why when their budget alone can improve the living standard of these groups – a very different reality in developing nations with a limited budget.
4. There is strength in diversity and inclusiveness
There is strength in diversity, not just diversity; establishing social structures that work requires inclusiveness where everyone’s needs and cultures in decision-making processes at any level are given equal consideration. Diversity and inclusiveness fall under the social component of the sustainability concept lacking in most countries around the world.
5. People thrive when they are allowed the opportunity to understand themselves and the environment they reside without external influences
Education is key to improving a country’s standard of living, and training should focus on first and foremost knowledge of self, before an understanding of other cultures/countries. The ability to understand one’s history and culture provides the necessary platform to add to or take away from it from a place of understanding without removing its essence because, in life, there is always room for improvement. People thrive when they are allowed the opportunity to understand themselves and the environment they reside without external influences.
6. The idea of colonialism is terrible because the intent of the colonizers was not to help the people thrive but to take from them
Countries or groups that have been colonized or interfered with, fall into the category of countries or groups with low living standards. Doesn’t that raise an eyebrow? From research, before colonization, these groups lived relatively good lives based on their standard and not a flawed global standard that encourages waste and has economic growth as the focus alien to these groups. Care of the environment and the well-being of the people were paramount.
As already been proven in numerous studies about biodiversity, when you interfere with an Eco-system (in this case, countries/groups of people), you create an imbalance within its natural processes that never yield positive results. In most cases, to re-create the balance, you must intentionally and physically return elements (resources) into that eco-system before it can begin to thrive again. The idea of colonialism is terrible because the intent of the colonizers was not to help the people thrive but to take from them.
EKCEP: COVID-19 Response Edition – Week 3 is a high point of the program
EKCEP: COVID-19 Response Edition – Week 3 is a high point of the program. With the introduction of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable development Goals (SDGs), the students have begun to apply their knowledge from past weeks. They are exploring solutions to poverty issues discussed above, emphasizing SDG 6: Access to clean water and sanitation. Part of the learning activities include carrying out an international project in a developing country. The students will need to raise funds to carry out the project, and have started developing their fundraising campaign videos in preparation for the Fundraiser campaign that will begin on May 19, 2020. Their goal is to raise money to provide water filters and soap to vulnerable groups in Nigeria. The next article will have more information. For background information about the EKCEP: COVID -19 Response Edition, click here.
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