Fifty schools selected for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Campaign received financial grants and technical support at an event held in Colombo on Friday. The SDG Campaign is led by the UN in Sri Lanka, together with the Ministry of Education (MoE) in partnership with the Hatton National Bank (HNB) and the Presidential Secretariat, to reach out to students islandwide, to design and implement an SDG based project in their communities, a press release said. Speaking about the students’ contribution to the SDGs, MoE Secretary Sunil Hettiarachchi said, "This studentled campaign has the potential to serve as an excellent platform to pave a path towards achieving Sri Lanka's SDGs." Since the launch of the campaign on October 24, 2017, celebrating UN Day, over 700 schools submitted proposals and, upon evaluation by the partners of the campaign, 50 SDG-centered proposals, representing the 25 Districts of Sri Lanka, were selected.
These schools will now be linked with the relevant experts and institutions, enhancing the students' capacity to mobilise the communities around to help Sri Lanka achieve its SDGs. Speaking about the Campaign, Director, ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives and the UN Communications Group Chair, Ms Simrin Singh said, "Taking action for the SDGs is a collective effort. From the youngest student to the most experienced teacher, schools play an important role in spreading the word that everyone has a responsibility. The question is no longer if you want your classroom to connect to the world; the question now is simply when.” Speaking about the role of the private sector, HNB Chief Human Resource Officer-Deputy General Manager Ms L Chiranthi Cooray said, “At HNB, we are pleased to support young Sri Lankans to be part of and practically experience sustainable activities and their results.
This programme would be extremely significant to create awareness on the SDG and the triple bottom line for a sustainable planet.” "Engaging youth is vital for Sri Lanka to achieve sustainable development and minimise poverty, address climate change and build peaceful, inclusive societies for all. These projects will help students raise awareness of the SDGs within their communities and also contribute to the 2030 Agenda. In this regard, ensuring the sustainability of these projects is imperative." Additional Secretary to the President, Rohana Keerthi Dissanayake said, "This campaign recognizes the prominent role schoolchildren play in building the country with the concept of the sustainable development. His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena and the Government of Sri Lanka stand committed to support this programme, to ensure these projects are sustainable, reaching all communities across the country.”