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Knowledge Session: SDGs and volunteering

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the best way to measure impact globally. Curious about how your organisation can contribute? Find out by watching back the recording of our knowledge session!

In this free online knowledge session on the 21st of June at 10:00, we welcomed Sandra Pellegrom, National Coordinator Sustainable Development Goals at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the current developments of the SDGs in the Netherlands.

We will also dove into the combination of SDGs and volunteering to inspire you to implement the SDGs into your daily operations. Lastly, we had a great discussion with attendees to learn and grow together!

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Sandra Pellegrom

Sandra Pellegrom
Sandra Pellegrom is Nationaal Coördinator Duurzame Ontwikkelingsdoelen bij het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. De Nationaal Coördinator bevordert nationale implementatie van de SDG’s in en door Nederland. De Coördinator werkt nauw samen met andere ministeries en organisaties binnen de Rijksoverheid, alsook met de brede SDG-beweging in Nederland, waaronder bedrijven, gemeenten en provincies, NGO’s, jongerenorganisaties, kennis- en onderwijsinstellingen.

Hendrik-Jan Overmeer
Hendrik-Jan is Founding Team Member at Deedmob. He completed internships at ABN AMRO Bank and IBM. He worked at PR/PA agency Burson-Marsteller and at the Dutch Federation of Financial Planning in public affairs. Hendrik-Jan cares about poverty and engaging young people with politics. He founded a charity which funds the construction of wells in Africa, runs free lectures about politics for children and students, and has founded an organisation which engages young people with their local politicians.

Recap and Insights

Measuring impact with SDGs
- Measuring impact is difficult, which means it often gets stuck in measuring output. The SDGs help to communicate - using a common language - what high-level impact has been achieved.
- Action should come before measurement. With a 'shoulders to the wheel' mentality, an ambition in policy and awareness-raising, a lot is already happening in the Netherlands.
- At local level, it is easier to take action and see the direct effect of it. This means that there is an enormous opportunity to show impact through voluntary work
- There is a lot of awareness of social issues, but real system change is still not happening. Again, innovative local activities are crucial in this respect, leading to bottom-up inspiration for cooperation and ultimate change

The most important characteristics of SDGs
- SDGs are ambitious and are about transforming our world. It is about system change, a new balance between the planet and human well-being and our economic commitment. It is our common plan for a better future for all.
- The goals are universal: they are not just for governments, with everyone in society having a role to play in their own sphere of influence
- The goals are comprehensive: it is about climate change, for example, but also about equal opportunities for all. Each year, the importance of each goal also grows, because the SDGs have a huge bearing on everyday life
- The goals are indivisible, which means that you cannot achieve one goal without also pursuing the other goal. This requires a different approach, namely that of systems thinking
- The goals are inclusive, because they are grounded in human rights, where everyone must be able to participate
- The basis of the goals is about securing human wellbeing and dignity, now and in the future, everywhere in the world. This will not be achieved without also giving due consideration to our planet.
- The Goals help to translate a global vision of the future into local action. This can be done by seeing them as shared values and a standard for sustainability
- The links between goals bring about many positive effects, but there is a chance of some trade-offs between goals. Nevertheless, there is a lot of potential for e.g. volunteer work to be used for multiple purposes at the same time
- A small action can have a wide impact, especially when it strengthens deeper cooperation between people and organisations
- Local SDG activities come together at SDGnederland.nl, where, among other things, local citizens' networks are supported to inspire and enthuse others
- Here lies an opportunity to make voluntary organisations and centres part of a larger movement. Many municipalities are actively working on this, where SDG goals are already linked to volunteer initiatives.

SDGs and Deedmob
- Deedmob believes in measuring the impact of volunteering. In 2020, a measurement method was launched in cooperation with the Dutch Statistics Agency (CBS) and former Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, whereby the SDGs were given a prominent role within the platform.
- Volunteer activities are linked to an SDG, whether or not automatically based on a smart algorithm.
- In 2020, this resulted in an even distribution of activities per goal, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus shifted more towards poverty reduction and quality education.