Coding for the Community!

How Code can Help Achieve Sustainable Development Goals

Katherine Lissitsa
28 June 2019

We always encourage kids in Canada to code, but the reasons for that tend to stick to personal development. We believe coding helps with problem-solving, it stretches the imagination and it boosts your level of confidence when it comes to using technology. But what about taking code a step further?

Last year, the Micro:bit Educational Foundation launched the Global Challenge, a competition for students ages 8 to 12 years old who were eager to put their coding skills to work. The challenge was to select one of the Global Goals set out by the United Nations and create a project using the micro:bit that would help reach one of the goals and support a community in need. We were the proud North American delivery partner for the challenge and urged kids across Canada to participate. And while the Global Challenge may be over, for us, it’s just the beginning.

The 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) initiative started when world leaders got together in 2015 and decided which objectives needed to be met by 2030 to end poverty, fight inequality, stop climate change and more.

Teacher Learning

As a world leader, Canada has implemented the UN’s plan and is taking the steps that will get the country closer to ticking boxes next to each and every goal.

“Canada’s priorities at the global level align with its priorities domestically. In June 2017, Canada announced its Feminist International Assistance Policy, which seeks to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world. Canada firmly believes that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls is the most effective way to achieve this goal and drive progress on all SDGs.” - Voluntary National Review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

As a Canadian organization, KCJ also wants to take part in meeting the UN’s Global Goals. Although we recognize that each and every one will greatly benefit both Canada and the rest of the world, there are a few goals that speak directly to what we’re striving for.

SDG 4: Quality Education

Canada intends on continuing to collaborate with its provinces and territories to ensure that students across the country have access to inclusive and equitable quality education.

Like the Canadian government, we have always been adamant about making sure that the opportunity to code is accessible to all. Education and diversity are at the core of our nation’s strength. We acknowledge that we’re now living in an increasingly technological world and we believe that all kids should be equipped with the skills they need to use technology responsibly and successfully. And because that starts in the classroom, we’re also working to train teachers so that they can integrate coding into their students’ school experience.

SDG 5: Gender Equality

To meet this goal, Canada has adopted measures that puts gender equality at the centre of governmental decision-making when developing new programs, policies, budgets and consultations.

Similarly, we have been strongly promoting the participation of women and girls in tech since the very beginning of KCJ. Bridging the skills gap in the digital sphere by supporting women and girls will stay at the top of our list as we continue to develop projects and initiatives for the years ahead.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

Canada isn’t called a “cultural mosaic” for no reason. It’s home to over 200 ethnic origins and languages, religious diversity, Indigenous Peoples, the LGBTQ2+ community, and more, making Canada a unique and wonderful melting pot. But with difference comes its difficulties, and despite Canada’s welcoming nature, inequalities do persist.

Linking back to quality education, we’re always working towards making sure that no kid gets left behind. We don’t think that coding is an exclusive activity and we want that message to echo loud and clear. To stand by our words, we continue to connect with schools in underserved neighborhoods of every Canadian city we work in. We believe that the world and Canada will continue to become more diverse and we embrace that wholeheartedly.

KCJ is excited to partner with the Government of Canada to accelerate #Can2030Agenda, a whole-of-Canada approach to implementing the Global Goals in Canada, and help reach its full potential. And as we do it, we promise to stick to our values of being socially responsible, collaborative, inclusive, courageous and transformational.