Pretoria, 25 August 2017 – The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Pretoria visited and interacted with Grade 11 students at Eersterust Secondary School in Eersterust, east of Pretoria earlier this month for a fun-filled day aimed at informing students about the work and structures of the UN, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the TOGETHER campaign.
The 85 students were first asked about their current knowledge of the UN with many relating the UN to brokering peace and providing humanitarian aid in countries affected by conflict and natural disasters. Their answers were elaborated upon with further explanations about the mandate of the UN and the various bodies and purposes of the organization including the General Assembly and the Security Council. Students were also made aware of the importance of the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice and other UN specialized agencies such as the 18 agencies that are present in South Africa.
One of the main aims of the outreach event was to impart information and knowledge about the SDGs that were adopted in September 2015 by all 193 member states of the UN. Students were asked about their understanding of the SDGs but also what role they as the younger generation could play in achieving the SDGs by 2030. Many students provided answers such as “clean up the environment and assist people that are poorer in their community”.
The topic of the TOGETHER campaign related to the challenges facing migrants and refugees was also raised with students in an effort to educate them about human rights and tolerance. Students were encouraged to talk to and learn about people of other nationalities rather than make negative assumptions about them. Many agreed that indeed “we can learn a lot about different cultures, cooking and their way of life” with everyone playing a role to create a safe environment and promote dignity for everyone regardless of their status and color.
The lively interaction concluded with a fun quiz which had students challenging each other to provide the correct answers.
The principal of the school, Dr. William Louw, expressed appreciation to UNIC Pretoria for choosing their school “for such an insightful programme” and asked the students to take what they have learned seriously and apply them to their daily lives.