Written by Landyn Imagawa, member of the SDG Mapping Team at BCCIC
Get ready for some acronyms – over the last several months, the British Columbia Council for International Co-operation (BCCIC) has been working on creating an interactive map which highlights Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Nonprofit Organizations (NPOs) across Canada who are working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Building off of the momentum of the Invisible Mosaic report and civil society engagement across BC, the objective of this map is to bring attention to organizations already working towards the SDGs with the goal of fostering and facilitating greater collaboration between individuals, NGOs, and governmental bodies. This map is something that has never been done before, and our goal is for it to change the way we interact with NGOs. We hope that eventually, this map will broaden to include NGOs worldwide that are working towards the SDGs.
Mapping NGOs working towards the SDGs seems pretty straightforward right? As we have been classifying organizations, we’ve run into the issue of what to include and what not to include. For example, an NGO working on facilitating the integration process of new immigrants to Canada goes on the map, but does a local community center also go on the map? An NGO that builds schools in Uganda goes on the map but what if it’s a religious organization?
A concept we have discussed in depth is ‘theory of change’. In short, a theory of change is the ‘why’ factor. For example, we can all agree that ending poverty is a good thing, but why? What is your own personal motivation behind wanting to end poverty. Each individual has their own ‘theory of change’. Some may want to end all poverty for moral reasons, others because they believe living under the poverty line holds people back from leading a full life, and others may want to end poverty for religious reasons. Just because someone has a different theory of change doesn’t mean their work is any less valid. While deciding if an NGO should go on the map or not, we try to keep in mind our personal theory of change. This allows us to be more aware of any biases we may have, which could affect the way we evaluate the change an organization is making in the world.
One of the major benefits of working on the map has been becoming familiar with NGOs across Canada. I have been able to see areas in which there are an abundance of NGOs working towards one target and areas where there are only a few NGOs working towards another. For example, from working on the map, I have found that there are a significant amount of organizations working towards Goals 1 through 5, encompassing no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, and gender equality. I have also found that there are fewer organizations working towards goals such as Goal 13, climate action and Goal 14, life below water. As a country with such a large land mass, more attention should be placed on environmental issues. Canada should act as a global leader in climate action. This map will hopefully make gaps like these visible for everyone so that we can begin to fill these needs.
Moving forward, I’m excited to continue working on this project. This is our final push as our official launch date is set for mid April. We are so excited to see the impact this map will have!
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