Spread across four continents and soon to be six countries, we have found ourselves in a privileged position of being able to spot the themes driving the world of social change, philanthropy and international development. We launched at exactly the same time as the United Nations launched their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and immediately created events with the SDGs right in the heart of our organisation. It wasn’t long before we saw the interconnectivity of the 17 Goals - making progress on one goal, can both directly and indirectly drive progress in the other goals, the reverse is also true - lack of progress in one goal can hinder progress in all others.
When we launch a new race, we start by identifying the SDG that will have the most powerful impact in that community. We then connect with organisations tackling that goal and we work on how to tell their story through an Impact Marathon. The runners fundraising is then donated to these organisations with zero restrictions on how they spend these funds - we know where our expertise ends, and their skillsets begin!
Along the way, Team Impact has the task of becoming learning sponges- absorbing the stories and shaping the narrative. And here is where we start to see the interconnectedness of the SDGs across countries, charities, and communities. Despite each race having a different SDG to highlight, raise for and connect with - since beginning our work in 2015, we have seen one unifying theme.
It starts in the garden.
In Guatemala, we work on SDG #4 Quality Education - by working with youth leaders to build sustainable gardens that provide each family quality and nutritious food, enables food sovereignty and creates a source of income.
In Nepal, we work on SDG #5 Gender Equality - by supporting schools in creating small farms that engage students, keeping them in school longer, learning sustainable practices and joining farming co-operatives to build income streams.
In Kenya, we work on SDG #9 Decent Work and Economic Growth - by supporting savings led groups that build resilience and finance business growth for smallholdings that produce the food that fuels their community. In Malawi, we work on SDG #2 Zero Hunger - by supporting the diversification of crops away from the mono-cropping of Maize that has led to communities going without food in the increasingly unpredictable impact of climate change on crop yields.
In Jordan, we once more are working on #2 Zero Hunger and knowing all we have learnt from our previous races, we went straight to one the absolute best spots in the world to learn about the power of the garden in preserving water, in creating economic opportunities for women, in educating children and in reducing inequalities.
Each different SDG has a common solution - the solutions to climate change can be the driving solutions to all the SDGs. And we, as individuals, can begin that process in the garden, in our consumption choices. It is not an overstatement to use the word ‘crisis’, it is not hyperbole, it is true. However, held within the actions needed to tackle this crisis lie many positive externalities across all the SDGs making right now, this moment, an incredibly powerful time to shape the future of our society.
We know that SDG #13 - Climate Action is central to our survival as a species, but it’s more than that. #13 - Climate Action is central to our achievement of all other SDGs and to see our species reach our potential in a way that no longer hampers future generations but sets them up to thrive.
Impact Marathon will be announcing their first new race location, taking on a brand-new SDG this July.
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