Stellenbosch University: Two SU students join global youth leaders to tackle the world’s challenges

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Two students from Stellenbosch University (SU) will soon take part in Camp 2030, an initiative of Unite 2030 – a global youth community and non-profitable movement promoting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ms Stefani Terblanche, a BA International Studies student, and Mr Stanley Chindikani Msiska, a PhD Engineering student, will join 250 of the world’s top youth leaders at Camp 2030, which will take place at the Adirondack National Park in New York from 12 to 18 September. Together, the world’s top youth leaders will try to solve some of the most pressing global challenges.

Terblanche and Msiska’s critical thinking and problem-solving abilities will be tested at Camp 2030. Participants will be divided into groups to find workable solutions for the global challenges of poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change. They will work together in groups to innovate and create action plans to address social ills in their respective communities. They will also be responsible for using the knowledge gained at Camp 2030 to address the challenges in their respective communities when they return home.

Since its inception in 2016, Unite 2030 has brought together about 16 000 top youth leaders between the ages of 18–35 years from over 50 countries across the globe. Over the last six years, Unite 2030 has established more than 1 000 collaborative projects between young delegates addressing certain SDGs.

This year’s Camp 2030 links up with the UN’s Global Goals week (18 to 26 September). This annual week promotes action, awareness and accountability for the SDGs as well as partnerships between civil society, business, academia and the UN to push action on the SDGs.

Ambassadors for change

Overwhelmed by this opportunity, Terblanche and Msiska are determined to bring back workable action plans to change some of the challenges their communities face.

Terblanche, a third-year student and resident at Metanoia, is excited about the training in project planning that also forms part of the Camp’s training schedule. “This will help me to implement projects successfully,” says Terblanche who wants to find ways to enhance gender equality on campuses and at schools.

“Since June, I have been working with a non-profit organisation that plans to bring gender equality programmes to schools. The skills that I will learn at the Camp will help me to promote gender equality,” Terblanche says. She hopes to share her new knowledge in house committees and other leadership portfolios on campuses.

Msiska feels honoured and privileged to represent the University at the global event in New York and is looking forward to discussing innovative solutions for the SDGs with his peers.

“I am looking forward to engaging with the bright minds that will gather at Camp 2030 and learn new perspectives, innovative action calls and better ways of connecting with and influencing people of all ages and positions to deal with societal challenges,” Msiska says.

He sees Camp 2030 as a great platform to engage with fellow changemakers and potential funders for building his gadget innovation that cleans and disinfects water, making it safe for drinking and other uses. According to Msiska, this innovation is in line with the UN’s sixth development goal of ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all people by 2030.

​“When I return from New York, I plan to actively involve stakeholders in implementing the solutions to SDGs and break some fellow students and the general community’s reluctance to participate in innovative activities, especially those innovations addressing the UN’s SDGs,” says Msiska.

Programme success

“We are very proud of the two students who will be ambassadors for the University and our country at this prestigious event,” says Ms Michelle Pietersen, senior programme manager at the Division for Social Impact.

In 2019, SU’s student Ms Siphosethu Zantsi, attended the Innovation Lab of Unite 2030. Zantsi has also founded a non-profit organisation, Ampedza, that empowers children with lower limb amputations to live beyond their limb loss.

Pietersen says opportunities such as these provide students with the opportunity to further their knowledge and experiences in terms of social impact on a global scale.

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