Student Blog

“The Sustainable Development Goals Leave No One Behind” – We Are Aware

5 min read

(Left) We Are Aware’s logo, (Right) The 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Do the words “sustainable development goals” sound familiar to you? If you’re a student at APU, I’m sure you’re no stranger to it.

As a criteria of world sustainability, the Sustainable Development Goals (hereby referred to as SDGs) is a collection of 17 goals serving as the blueprint to achieve a better sustainable future for us all. But how much do you actually know about it? The 17 goals might seem like a lot, so chances are many of you have only heard about them, and aren’t really familiar in detail with the criteria that make up each of those goals.

Luckily, student-run Project B* “We Are Aware” is here to help with that.

At APU, We Are Aware is making it their sole purpose to spread awareness on what these goals are about. With their main mission being to unite people from different backgrounds to work together towards a sustainable future, We Are Aware has been actively utilizing the platform they have built for themselves to spread information, hold interactive events, and more.

On Sunday, 1st of May 2022, I had the pleasant opportunity to speak with Rachel Cicilia, from Indonesia, one of the project’s founders and current leader.

SPA: For the people who have not heard about “We Are Aware!” before, please introduce your project.

Rachel: Our project, “We Are Aware” aims to promote the 17 SDGs to the youth, but we’re specifically focusing on Indonesia to start small. Hopefully from there, we can impact more audiences. Right now, we are working with APU Office’s Project B and with their help, we have several projects lined up, such as webinars. We plan on doing more webinars on each SDG, but so far, we have only done two. In our webinars, we invite notable speakers or NGOs who have been working hard to achieve those specific SDGs. Our webinars essentially try to mediate students with these NGOs so they become more familiar with the NGOs’ work.

SPA: Why did you choose Indonesia to focus on, amongst other countries?

Rachel: The other founders and I, who are all from Indonesia, realized how uneducated we were about these SDGs. The first time I actually knew about these SDGs is when I first came to APU. Back in high school in Indonesia, we realized that we were only taught how to memorize and we weren’t really exposed to pressing issues. So we thought, since we’re APU students with resources from the university, why not try to minimize this existing gap in Indonesia’s curriculum?

WeAreAware’s most recent #WeAreConnecting webinar focuses on the 2nd goal, which is zero hunger. This webinar is targeted for Indonesian participants and unpacks the hunger issue in Indonesia.

Other than webinars, We Are Aware are also actively posting news reports of current world issues that are related to each SDG. They also have a comic series titled “Adventures with Kirana,” following the narrative of fictitious journalist, Kirana, who travels around the world exploring global issues. This comic series is their unique way to spread awareness about the SDGs. By utilizing storytelling and graphics, they hope that their readers can become invested in the journey of the character.

You can check their reports and comic series on their Instagram, @weareaware__.

In the above issue, We Are Aware’s comic introduces poverty in Africa and the NGO that attempts to eradicate it, Acumen. (Artwork by Audrey Ardisa)

We Are Aware delivers insightful reports on current issues related to specific SDG

Their more hands-on approach comes in the form of impromptu interviews on APU campus, in which they ask students questions related to the SDGs. Their most recent #WeAreAsking Instagram reel asked students to define the word “hunger” and presented them a simple scenario in which they would later tie to the second SDG –– Zero Hunger.

Through this interview, Rachel expressed that she realized the most effective way in introducing SDGs to unaware students is by approaching them with something related to their life, something that they can solve or contemplate on. As simply as giving them a case study related to their meals, you can slowly bring the SDGs up as to not overwhelm them.

SPA: Since your project focuses on sustainability/SDGs, why do you think it’s important for people, especially university students, to learn more about issues related to them? Why should we be aware?

Rachel: Sustainability is a challenge for our world today. I think the agenda of the SDGs is an incredible invention of our time. They make us, university students, as future leaders, know what to tackle, and also let us know the progress we’ve made in achieving it. It’s also not just for the world but also for ourselves. Our future. That’s why I think it’s important for us to be aware.

SPA: As a leader, what has been the hardest thing for you in running Project B?

Rachel: I think I struggle with maintaining the motivation. The beginning is always exciting, but of course in life there are those boring phases. But again, if you have your own vision, your own mission within yourself, I think you just have to remind yourself why you started this organization.

Having interviewed Rachel and hearing about her passion for the SDGs, it also opened my eyes and made me realize how important it is for us to be aware of current world issues. During our talk, there was one thing Rachel said that stuck to me –– the SDGs leave no one behind. Rachel really stressed on how amazing these goals are, how it considers the needs of all countries and managed to simplify them into 17 specific goals, and how we should not only know them, but understand the impact it will bring if we all work together towards them.

For Rachel, starting We Are Aware has not only been a way in which she can advocate for something she is passionate about, but also learn more about the things that she thought she had been aware of, but turns out she hadn’t at all. After all, everything is a learning process. She hopes that APU students will utilize the resources, amazing professors, and multicultural environment they have to be on par with her in this journey.

Special thanks to RACHEL CICILA for the interview.

Connect with We Are Aware on Instagram: @WeAreAware__
Click here for the activities of each organization in Project B
Click here for application details of Project B

AMARA Zahra Djamil
AMARA Zahra Djamil

Hello! I’m Amara from Indonesia. I enjoy writing and sharing stories. Being a part of SPA has given me the opportunity to meet new and creative people at APU and learn about their interesting experiences. When I’m not busy with schoolwork, I like to watch movies in my free time.

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