The Vi, with funding from the Government of Finland, granted Dinesh Bhuju, lecturer at Vi core Nepalese member, Mid-western University (MU), a course development fellowship at UNCTAD April 4-29.
Mentored by Rolf Traeger, Chief of UNCTAD's LDC Section, Bhuju designed a course on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Nepalese universities, as well as teaching resources for dissemination as short courses, NGO training-of-trainers workshops and a newspaper article.
“My initial plan was to prepare a general course of study on SDGs for our Master in International Cooperation and Development (MICD) degree programme,” he said. “But the fellowship gave me a wide range of opportunities and access to an almost unlimited amount of literature. So I was also able to prepare a bibliography containing over 200 resources, and a first-level course for development practitioners.”
The 48-hour MICD graduate course consists of four modules: development perspectives; pathways of SDGs and commitments; SDGs thematic areas; and SDGs action frameworks.
“It starts with a brief overview of development philosophy, then gradually moves forward to conceptual evolution of sustainable development, completion of MDGs and finally deals with SDGs,” explained Bhuju, who plans to integrate the course into MU’s MICD and Master’s in Climate Change and Development.
Other Nepalese institutions have expressed interest in disseminating the course. Purbanchal University is interested in offering it in conjunction with its Master’s in Development Studies, and NGO Shtrii Shakti plans to organize a workshop on SDGs for its gender master trainers.
“It is expected that there will be over 30 such trainers attending the course,” he said. “These trainers will then not only use the knowledge and skill on SDGs gained from the training in their own projects, but also disseminate it in their own trainings, which they will conduct afterward.”
Bhuju also plans to share his knowledge with MU colleagues and with policymakers at the national planning commission. In addition, he will offer an introductory seminar for undergraduate students at the National College and Kathmandu University, and for graduate students at Environmental Graduates of the Himalaya, Resources Himalaya Foundation, and hopes to extend his work to the development of a graduate course on Sustainability Science for Tribhuvan University.
“I come from a background of academic training in ecology and environment, which represents one of the three pillars of sustainable development,” Bhuju said. “The fellowship gave me an extremely important opportunity to learn about the economic and social components of sustainable development.
“SDGs is a new topic of interest and important to all government as well as communities,” he concluded.