Date of Meeting: 09 Feb 2016

Meeting Organizer: NGO Committee on Social Development

ISJC Staff Present: Robert Docter

Reporter: Robert Docter

Which SDG does this topic cover? 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17

Type of meeting: UN Side Event for the 54th Session of the Commission for Social Development

Brief summary of presentation of information made

  • The NGO Committee on Social Development has worked on a survey concerning the grassroots implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The survey got 70 responses from grassroots organizers of various NGOs across the globe. They presented their findings at this meeting. Some highlights include:
    • Effective Attributes: high participation and ownership of locals in the community, monitoring and evaluation, and the local conditions being taken into account of projects at all levels. This includes using the right type of crops or animals or making raw products that are easily sold in the specific community. This also includes the accessible raw materials the area that the work is in.
    • Ineffective attributes: Environmental issues – that are outside the control of the organizers, was a consistent theme – including droughts, flooding, and earthquakes. Lack of staff also came up in addition to staff having lack of knowledge or education of the community he/she is working in.
    • Financial and social inclusion is closely intertwined based off the survey, and are mutually reinforcing.
    • Integrating community leaders creates ownership, self-esteem, confidence, and it contributes to better community relationships.
  • The survey produced by this commission highlighted the impact on individuals of the surveyed grassroots organizations. Effective, sustainable programs resulted in responses that shared of financial and social inclusion, self-esteem and confidence, strengthened community relationships, better livelihood strategies, improved living conditions, and better access to loans – contributing to practices of saving and financial security.
  • Sustainable and inclusive grassroots efforts when implementing SDGs led to:
    • Social Impact – greater solidarity, support, and participation
    • Political Impact – people better informed along with better participation and creating strategic voices
    • Enhanced Gender Equality – this was a unique subject in the responses.
  • The meeting provided case studies of some programs implementing the SDGs into action around the world.
    • Fiji Project – women in Nausori began making accessories from trash – these efforts helped the area environmentally, led to economic stability and jobs in production, and spread to surrounding villages.
    • Filadelfia, Brazil – work with drought-resistant palm trees that provides palm nuts. These trees are native to the land; it empowers the rural community in production and farming, and is environmentally consistent due to the crop’s adaptive nature. This rural community took advantage of a crop that’s sustainable, and therefore empowered the community through reliable jobs and production.
    • Microcredit in New Delhi India – Empowering women through financial education and vocational job training courses. It works with the nature of the community, an area that draws a lot of migrants in. 

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide valuable framework for NGOs when planning programs, services, or work throughout the world. The Salvation Army can look to these goals for further work across the globe.
  • Work on the ground needs to prioritize the citizens in the long run – and prioritize the needs of an area’s specific traits. The Salvation Army continues work with these values – and should continue this type of work. This includes rural development, using local crops and goods, creating projects that actively put environmental issues into account, and empowering the people so that therefore they can sustainability in the long term. 
  • The Salvation Army should be open to adapting programs and projects that fit the specific area’s needs and/or changes to exist throughout time.
  • This meeting brought up a consistent theme of success – instilling leadership of those native to wherever the project is taking place. The Salvation Army can look to continue its efforts, or take a more active approach in investing into local leaders for its projects to be sustainable and valuable to the community. 
  • The Salvation Army is providing sustainable work and practices at the grassroots level with "Others" see the link below.

Web links for more information

A more comprehensive and in-depth explanation of the surveys and the case studies described will be available by Spring 2016 on the NGO Committee on Social Development website:

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):


Tags: United Nations, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals