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Taking on global goals

Our work aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals, and some of the challenges we take on may surprise you! The 17 goals were developed by the United Nations to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Join us as we look at how we play our part.

We invited Clive Wilson, who chairs the UN Association of Harrogate and has long supported Open Arms, to take a look at how we contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Clive understands just how universal these goals are. He leads a workshop where he asks people to envision the future they would like to see for future generations, and has heard  responses from Europe, America & Asia.

“Remarkably the world seen by every audience has been totally aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs that were agreed by world leaders at the United Nations in 2015.” – Clive Wilson
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We were surprised to discover that we contribute to every one of the goals in some way. How we do this is explained in our education resource for schools. Here we would like to look at some of the less well-known ways we work towards sustainability.

With 17 goals to solve global challenges you may ask “where do we start?” In Malawi we see the priorities we can address as poverty, nutrition and health. These lay the foundation for quality education, decent work and economic growth, and are at heart of what we do.

Many of the goals are interlinked and this presents a challenge as well as an opportunity. When helping families we can add value by offering decent work and considering environmental impact. 

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Our 110 permanent staff earn a wage that supports their families, in a safe workplace with meals and showers. The staff loan scheme gives more options for improvement while avoiding bank rates of up to 45%. 

We have fun too! The annual staff trip sees ladies singing on the bus all the way to the lake, where they can relax and know their work is appreciated.

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We also create decent work in rural villages when we build community infrastructure. Each brick for our nursery schools is pressed in a mould and dried in the sun. The process takes time but saves truckloads of trees because the bricks aren’t fired. 

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A new step towards affordable and clean energy is the four solar water heaters sponsored this year for our infant homes. With babies to bathe at all hours of the day, we use a lot of warm water!

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One of the goals we didn’t realise we contributed to until our discussion with Clive is protecting life below water. In Malawi using mosquito nets for fishing is a real threat which we alleviate because it’s important to us that donated nets are used as intended.  

When our Outreach teams visit families to strengthen the support systems for children, they check that mosquito nets are used properly while giving health education.

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“For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you.” United Nations 2015

As the Sustainable Development Goals are increasingly a part of strategy for business and government around the world, schools are seeing their value within the curriculum. 

Our education resource provides inspiration for schools across some of the Sustainable Development Goals. Along with stories and activities from Malawi, students can look out for the official United Nations icons and see how Open Arms contributes to reaching that goal. We are inviting schools to join in and sponsor nursery schooling, so a child in Malawi can have a good start to education

The final goal is partnerships, and we are always interested in linking with people who share our goals. If you want to join in, or introduce Open Arms to your school, company or community, we’ll be happy to hear from you!

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Education pack

Ready made activities, picture stories and information make it easy to engage a class with life in Malawi.

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