Ms. Fatouma Abdallah participated in the March-May 2017 session of the Strengthening Stakeholder Engagement course representing her country Comoros. Her participation in the course brought about several professional and personal changes from becoming known as Madame SDG in her office to implementing trainings on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs for civil society and other institutions.
“I knew when I familiarized myself with this new material, that it would be very useful since I [was] the head of the sustainable development department [working for the Vice-President in charge of the Ministry of the Environment]…Even though I have always worked on sustainable development, I noticed that with the training I feel much better, I feel much more confident talking about the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.”
While Comoros has not yet presented the Voluntary National Review at the HLPF, they have already begun the process to review the national strategy for sustainable development and integrated the SDGs in the Strategy of Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development (SCA2D). Fatouma’s confidence in preparing a VNR Stakeholder Engagement Strategy went from 5 per cent before the course to 90 per cent afterwards, which she attributes 90 per cent to her participation. She plans to apply what she learned in the course to the preparation of the VNR, specifically knowledge related to the different modes of engagement with stakeholders.£
Fatouma feels that she “understood a lot about the stakeholders and especially how to involve them” after following this course. While her increase in knowledge and skills was an intended outcome, she was also impacted with an unintended outcome. In fact, she became inspired to organize further trainings to civil society organizations, NGOs and other institutions, reaching almost 500 individuals, to raise awareness and sensitize them on the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. One of the organizations where she holds trainings to spread awareness is the Maison de l’Organisation de la Société Civile (House of the Civil Society Organization).
“The goal was to give back the training and especially to help [the participants] to better understand [the SDG process], because it is rather new to us [in Comoros], to transmit what I have learned and also sensitize them so that they know more about the SDGs and 2030 Agenda and some of them can then contribute to the writing of the report [for the VNR].”
This experience not only spread awareness on the SDGs and 2030 Agenda, but also Fatouma felt that “the more I transmit this knowledge, the more it solidifies my own understanding.” Her most significant change since participating in the course would be how she used the newly acquired knowledge and increased confidence on the SDGs and Agenda 2030 when applying for a new position in December 2017. She attributes about 40-50 per cent of her confidence growth to her participation in this course. Fatouma hopes that future sessions of the course will be held in French so that her colleagues nominated to partake would be able to follow the programme.
Quotes translated from French.