In the process of building Nidahasa, we have mentioned the United Nations Millennium Development Goals a few times. The eight international development goals were supported by all, at the time 189, United Nations member states participating in the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. The idea was to establish the Millennium Development goals and achieve them by 2015. Last year, on September 25th, they were replaced by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
When we started Nidahasa in late 2014, we were guided by two of the Millennium Development goals; to eradicate extreme poverty and to empower women. They are both still counted for in the Sustainable Development Goals, and Nidahasa is one of the initiatives working hard to overcome these global issues. Lately we have also been inspired by the goal to ensure environmental sustainability, and we are developing methods to ensure this for every step in our production.
Let’s have a look at the goals that have inspired us, shall we?
#1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
One of the targets for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger was to ensure employment and decent work for all. United Nations recognized a specific segregation within employment, where women and young people were least likely to get a full and productive job.
Nidahasa works specifically with women above 18 years of age, to ensure a monthly income for work they do based on skills they already have. We target entrepreneurs over ensuring employment, but the idea behind our methods is the same: to secure a full and productive job.
#3: Promote gender equality and empower women
For the United Nations, this goal was strongly related to girl’s rights to all levels of education, which has been partly achieved in many developing countries. Further, as in goal #1, they argued for an increase of women in the labour force as well as in decision-making positions.
The history of education in Sri Lanka dates back two millennia, ergo women are as educated as men. What Nidahasa does is to empower women by building bridges between their knowledge, the labour force, and the commercial market. Our women are also given responsibility for their own production.
#7: Ensure environmental sustainability
This goal was meant to encourage countries to integrate principles of sustainable development into their policies and programmes. It was meant to reverse the loss of environmental resources, mainly forests. The result has been an increase in afforestation, and a slight decrease in deforestation.
Our current products are made mainly from recycled saree dresses, and we are looking for an eco-friendly alternative to conventional cotton. We are using as much recycled and sustainable material as possible, and we are constantly searching for new collaborations with like-minded producers.
So, what about the new goals? Have a look; we can certainly get behind these as well: