I) Short Introduction
Our constantly growing world, formed with communities that have personal issues and personal goals, a union of minds and agreement upon common objectives was made. Every state individually planned and put in action their goal ideas for change and to better the lifestyle and future of society, this has driven a new idea of creating goals that are not only processed and applied by single societies but create global sustainability goals which will allow the achievement of similar objectives and results and project a better present and future for humanity and the world. These sets of objectives are intended to end issues like poverty, make sure that our environment is protected from more harmful activities, like deforestation, pollution, plastic waste, and also intended to better the quality of life like the healthcare systems, and technologies to cure terminal diseases.
Back in 2008 the original SDG goals were referred to as “The Millennium Development Goals”, these goals were concerned with goals of reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, and fighting off diseases like HIV/AIDS, as well as other goals. In the year of 2016 these goals expired which led for the United Nations to fastly start planning new goals which would not only continue to support the previous MDG but at the same time allow the creation of new goals to improve or better the lives of our communities and our planet Earth. Every goal is being achieved differently, but one of the goals highlighted in this essay is the Goal No. 3 Ensure Healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The importance of human health has been taken into consideration for many years, and every day there are many other diseases and obstacles that appear threatening the health of individuals.
The SDG goal No. 3 also partially supports other of the goals listed, in the sense that with poor health will present an obstacle towards children preventing them from obtaining education, the economy will seem affected since women and men are not obtaining economic opportunities due to the low health conditions. The achievement of sustainable development goals depends heavily on how poverty is affected. If we have less and less opportunities for individuals due to low health systems, poverty will keep on increasing. The UNDP.org announced that at least 400 million people have no basic healthcare, and 40 Percent lack social protection. Over 7 Million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air.
Also, COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 poses a major threat to SDG 3’s goal of ensuring everyone’s health and well-being. As the pandemic expanded over the world, nearly 70 countries imposed a total ban on different health services, including child vaccination, family planning, cancer screening, and so on. In 2020, hundreds of thousands of children under the age of five are predicted to die. The epidemic has also resulted in overpopulation and overcrowding of health services, and many individuals are terrified of becoming infected if they visit these facilities
Apart from the facts that are discussed and announced every year by the UN and other organisations, health systems and the lack of health care in many countries is still under development, emerging diseases like the COVID-19, had also been a presented challenge for many and adaptation to operations and management of business, and communities during the amidst of the pandemic was not easy as many individual could not afford good health care system, face masks, and other sanitising equipment. Good health and well being of the individuals in the world has also become an opportunity for organisations to pursue for the improving of their economical situation but maintaining a sustainable environment and helping the 2030 agenda be achieved fasted and decrease the uneven levels of inequalities, increase the health priorities, and portray the importance of this goal. This essay intends to reflect on the importance of the SDG Goal No. 3 Ensure Healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, and reflect on how the experience of understanding growing businesses have taken the goals into their product/service’s values.
It is critical to have solid planning and stronger teamwork when implementing SDG 3 in order to achieve better health. Providing the assistance that communities and civil society need to be meaningfully engaged allows them to contribute their lived experience, perspectives, and skills to knowledge creation, policy-making, and health interventions that are rights-based, accountable, and ensure no one is left behind. Furthermore, research breakthroughs are essential for enhancing the quality and efficiency of health products and services, while sustainable and equitable access guarantees that healthcare interventions are available to those who need them the most.
Finally, the number of children who die has been greatly reduced in the last 15 years. This demonstrates that practically any disease may be defeated. But besides this, to support the progress of SDG 3 it wastes a massive amount of money and resources addressing illnesses that are surprisingly simple to avoid. Everyone is encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle, take preventative measures, and obtain modern, efficient healthcare under the new worldwide goal for excellent health. Also, achieve universal health coverage, which includes financial risk protection, access to high-quality essential health-care services, and safe, effective, high-quality, and cheap essential medicines and vaccines for everyone.
II) Description and comparison of the innovations
As we explained before, the primary SDG involved in all of these stories is SDG 3. However, if we accounted for all the SDGs that were addressed in total, it is safe to say that almost all of them were addressed at some point. All of these stories are different but some of them have something in common. There are many ways to see how the different stories are connected. One way is by looking at the type of innovation involved in each of the stories.
Firstly, we have technological innovations. Stories such as “Strap Technologies”, “TippyTalk”, “Protecting Motherhood”, “Digitization of Healthcare”, and “GoJek”. All these stories have one thing in common, they used technology, digital technology this is, to help certain communities reach the third SDG. For example Strap Technologies is a business that has created a chest harness to help visually impaired move through the world, thus replacing the need for the white cane. Created by Diego, a 18 year old Mexican entrepreneur. Or, TippyTalk which is an app that was developed in Ireland by a father whose daughter was challenged with a verbal disability, this inspired him to create an app that allows her to communicate more easily with people and feel more connected. With these digital innovations, we can clearly see that People and Prosperity are the two of the five Ps positively impacted.
Secondly, we have the scientific innovations, which are the most common ones in our stories. These stories tell the tale of innovators that used their scientific knowledge to better their communities (or even the whole world). These stories are; “It’s all in the peel”, “Biomitech”, “Juwi”, “Watergen”, “Agua de vida”, “Fricaeco”, “Kinosol”, “Liquid I.V.”, “Aerofarms”, “Suncayr”, “Waterfarmers”, and “LuminAID”. These innovations either, used scientific advances to better the quality of the food, to better the quality of the air, or to address health issues safer. For example, Biomitech is a business that by using algae, they have purified the air in cities and provided pollution-free spaces. The way they have done this is by creating a tree with algae tanks that perform photosynthesis and thus, purify the air. In this case Planet and Prosperity are the two Ps positively impacted.
Lastly, we have the social innovations. These innovations are the ones where technology or scientific knowledge were not necessary, but rather a deep understanding of what people need, and a caring spirit. These stories are; “Prep Table”, “Shred.co”, “Manos Libres”, “TABOO”, “NeedsList”, and “Keys2Progress”. In these innovations, human connection is key, and making sure that people feel cared for and part of the group are pillars for the companies. For example, Prep Table is a social enterprise that gives work and volunteering experiences, to people in difficult housing situations. They provide interactive cooking lessons that allow these people to feel part of a community. And, Shred.co is a skating community that was created to help young skate enthusiasts get involved in a community that promotes important initiatives and mental health and has been monetized through skate lessons, classes, in-school assemblies, and more. In this case, People and Partnerships are the two Ps positively impacted.
What is also interesting is to see how the people in the stories got their inspiration. Some of the them were inspired by events that happened in their lives. For example, the creator of Strap Technologies, decided to work on the idea when, as a child, he saw a blind person that could not enter the supermarket and he realized that not everyone was as lucky as he was. On a similar note, Mr. Shah, the creator of Sthetho Health Systems, saw that the healthcare system in India was very inefficient and thus, decided to take matters into his own hands and began digitalizing the system. However, some of the innovators got their inspiration by chance. This is the case for Pritesh Agrawal , Abhishek Verma and Garima Dosar, founders of Maatritva. When attending a camp organized by Tata Consulting, they were faced with the challenge of coming up with an idea that would help people and, while brainstorming, the idea came up.
Also, some of this companies are completely different size-wise. On one hand, Strap Technologies, is looking to provide their product to around 600 thousand people. On the other hand, Prep Table, helps around 60 people. Shred.Co only has between 11 and 50 employees but its impact is unmeasurable as new kids receive help even in indirect ways. It is important to note that even if some of the companies are smaller and have a smaller reach, they are still key to reach the SDGs.
III) Critical reflection essay
The AIM2Flourish stories allowed us, as a group, to gain insight into different ways that businesses are making a difference and working towards the Sustainable Development Goals. We each read a few stories and proceeded to discuss them as a group, this allowed us to gain insight into a larger number of businesses and stories. The companies we were reading about all supported and were well aligned with SDG 3 which is in support of good health and well-being. During the sharing session, we shared our understanding of what the companies had done to support this SDG goal, and what type of innovative ideas had brought them to become so well known. All of the stories we shared were concerned about the community’s well being as they intended to better voice their concerns and provide solutions to their biggest issues. The stories and our discussion gave us a lot to think about and allowed us to see and discuss new ways of doing business with a goal other than maximizing profits, many of these organizations started with a core goal of making a positive impact which is what often allowed them to grow and the profits followed. Many of these organizations were well aligned with at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals and have contributed significantly to a purpose other than making as much money as possible.
Taking into account our initial sustainability mindset of these enterprises, we wanted to reaffirm ourselves. However, we went through a post-test sustainability mindset question that really had us disconcerted and it was how it was possible that even if there were so many organizations doing good to support, why the process to success was still so little. We all agreed that it takes time and that after all, it is supposed to be long term objectives for these enterprises and their countries. However, these movements are creating a big image or example for other companies in other parts of the world. As long as we are aware and we can encourage ourselves to apply these goals into our daily lives too, we can be part of the movement and maybe be able to progress faster. So reaffirming ourselves, even if the impact was not still so noticed, all the enterprises were going through a process and having a great initial footprint for society, which is already a lot.
The stories about these organizations made us feel good to know that there are companies who are trying to make a positive impact through their operations and goals as there are often organizations who do the opposite through their actions. We felt very hopeful about the fact that there were so many companies that made such positive commitments within their businesses and how their ideas were turned into realities through their organizations. Maatriva, making sure that pregnant women and their children are provided with appropriate care providing themselves with health information such as phase, medicines needed to be taken or next appointments with the doctor to keep up with the adequate evolution of the child. Liquid IV, helping people to rehydrate their body as well as helping them to have a good sleep through ingredients compromised with the environment prioritizing health for everyone. AeroFarms, collaborating for a new method to produce high-quality greens by using less water, having a less harmful environmental impact and going for the correct nourriture and health for the local community. Empowering women and ending the period stigma, making women have access to hygiene products and education on menstrual health avoiding infections or problems related with misinformation. Strap technologies, helping people with visual disabilities to socially include them and make them fit into the population by helping them be economically active. It’s all in the peel, helping reduce food waste by spraying this product into fruits and vegetables extending their lifetime. Prep table, offering volunteering experiences in order to help people in difficult housing situations through cooking lessons to make them feel part of the community. Biotech, trying to purify the air for the well-being of the community in order to have free-polluted areas. Shred.co, with the initiative of promoting mental health through making skate youngsters being involved in lessons. TippyTalk, an app to help people with verbal disabilities communicate more easily with people and feel more connected. Juwi, trying to make wind and solar energy-efficient and realistic for citizens. Watergen USA, creating clean drinking water and its access globally through collecting and filtering the water that already exists in the air. Agua de Vida, producing “eco filters” to help the community gain access to clean water more efficiently and cheaper, generate employment and boost the economy. Fricaeco America, which creates an affordable and sustainable solar hybrid heating system with a small to the non-ecological footprint. Kinosol, battling hunger and waste mainly in African countries, also dehydrating leftovers from harvest and keeping the nutrients and vitamins, which reduces waste. Manos Libres, helping inmates have a second chance in life providing a better context. WaterFarmers, providing a space for urban agriculture, improving food security by reducing our dependence on grocery stores or the agriculture industry and improving the availability of good healthy foods, showing people how to grow their own food. Go-Jek, an app connecting drivers and communities, providing facilities to drivers who lived in poverty and suffered from not having access to an education, their families’ welfare and the community’s comfort. LuminAids Story, a solar-powered inflatable light that folds and it can float which can be used in many places to provide communities with a reliable and clean source of energy. Sun safety simplified, a patch changing colours at the exposure of UV sunlight, meant to inform you of how much sunblock you need which reduces the chances of getting skin cancer. Needlist, a technology platform that allows local non-profits to post their exact needs. Keys2progress, giving support to military men and women who may be facing hardships in life from difficult personal and family health needs to excessive rent burdens, unemployment, and even homelessness.
These stories we read often started as heartwarming stories about individuals who were influenced to make an impact and were able to transform their ideas into real businesses that made a real impact in the world, from mental health to sustainability projects. The stories were very inspiring. Hopefully this inspiration can influence us to be more thoughtful in our future endeavours or careers and take into account what these businesses have been able to accomplish while adhering to SDG goals. We see how even if they are all companies with different specific goals, they are still looking to ensure SDG3 the well-being of our society.
These stories also gave us a lot to think about and learn from. At first we were unsure how many companies were out there making impactful in a successful manner, and to see these companies pursuing their success while adhering to the social development goals that they identify with. We were initially sceptical of the impact and effectiveness of the Sustainable Development Goals as we did not believe that there was adequate efforts and initiatives by businesses to pursue them. It was therefore reassuring that there are so many emerging businesses who are successfully adopting and using them to make positive social change through their operations and actions. We all learned that the best way to help is by creating a company that generates jobs and that is founded for providing basic sustainability, not charity work. Furthermore, it was inspiring to see that there are companies out there making this impact rather than the many companies we often see causing harm and having a negative impact on society in their business. We hope that we can see more of these companies emerge in the future and continue to work towards these goals and make positive social change.
We gained a lot of knowledge from these stories and the accomplishments that they described, specifically about running a business in alignment with Sustainable Development Goals and the challenges that come with doing so. This knowledge will hopefully allow us to have an enhanced perspective in our futures in the endeavours that we pursue so that we can also hopefully make social impact and perhaps even promote and align with some Sustainable Development Goal. We hope that these types of businesses continue to emerge and also that we see more widespread adoption and education of the Sustainable Development Goals due to the benefits that they can have and the positive change that we have seen through these stories.
IV) Our work as a distributed team: lessons learned
Working in a group is always a challenge, at least for some. Now imagine working remotely with people you have never met before, in different time zones and even with different languages, that was the biggest challenge we had faced for almost two months to develop this assignment. Regardless, the team dynamic we managed to endure made it possible that we always discussed the work in hand as well as get to know each other personally and about our different context and culture a little better.
The way we managed to set a good working organization and environment to avoid losing our own time was by following this type of structure:
- First we decided to create a WhatsApp Group, a more personal type of communication so we can prepare for our zoom meetings and inform ourselves of any changes in real time, avoiding the formality and the time it takes to send and respond to an email.
- Since the first meeting and moving forward we decided to set the date of our next meeting in the previous meeting, this way we could all discuss our availability, normally we met on Thursdays around 2-3pm Spanish Time and around 7-8pm Indonesian time. If any group member could not attend we will set another date or time that worked for all members.
- Before every meeting, usually two days prior to our zoom meeting we sent the information necessary to prepare for the meeting. This was normally done via the Whatsapp Group so we could all see who was in charge of which aspect.
- Once the date of the meeting arrived we created a zoom and we all connected.
- After we were all connected, we set “the agenda” for the meeting and we started discussing the topic in hand based on the agenda and the guideline hand-out by the professors.
- Each member of the group had the opportunity to lay out what they were supposed to investigate and also give an insight of their personal opinion while presenting to the rest of the group. Once we all presented we would normally do an “informal” discussion of what we thought about the readings and the topic.
- Lastly, when we had time we would normally just end the discussion by talking about either the weather, the COVID situation in our countries or even how our university worked or any other topic that was not necessarily linked with the work in hand.
Since we managed to organize ourselves since the first gathering and we were all very committed with the assignment in hand, we could adapt to each other’s schedule and maximize our time to fulfill every task. Nonetheless we faced some slight difficulties, the main difficulty was if one member of the group could not join, due to the time difference between Indonesia and Spain, it was hard to set another date where we could all be available. Also, since we all have different schedules and work loads, sometimes some members of the group had more time than others to work, discuss and meet.
Another essential factor we realized while working together was that even though we are from different countries and might have different perceptions in some topics, while discussing SDGs and related themes we seem to have the same type of ideas. We figured that perhaps the cross cultural differences can be more relatable in other topics. We found that when we discuss improving the lives of others through sustainable means, we all agreed it is always the best way. Nonetheless since our group was formed by mostly “hispanics” perhaps that also might have played a role in our position in certain topics.
Goal 3: Good health and well-being | UNDP in Indonesia. (2022). Retrieved 1 April 2022, from https://www.id.undp.org/content/indonesia/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-3-good-health-and-well-being.html
Goal 3: Good health and well-being – The Global Goals. (2022). Retrieved 3 April 2022, from https://www.globalgoals.org/goals/3-good-health-and-well-being/
Sustainable Development Goals 3 – The Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All. (2022). Retrieved 3 April 2022, from https://www.who.int/initiatives/sdg3-global-action-plan
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