Too often, we associate leadership with power, status, and authority. But with this narrow perspective, we often tend to forget the leaders closest to us: the local leaders. These local leaders, those who care deeply about community issues, implement initiatives and shape local development, represent a huge opportunity for global social change. Through their direct contact with communities, local leaders are ideally placed to advance ideas, galvanize others, and create immediate social impact. And we believe that taking advantage of this opportunity is the key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) .
Local leaders are an untapped power in the global arena. Only one leader can create an endless chain of social change – to achieve the SDGs we need to work closely with them. If we empower local leaders, not only can we tackle global challenges faster and more effectively, but we can create a coaching effect.
The Alaa Murabit Mentorship Program does just that. From coaching selected participants in public speaking, writing policies and leadership skills to engaging them in political and social forums, the program helps young leaders realize their aspirations. Participants are people often ignored in international decision-making – women, minorities and youth – placing the goal of sustainable development 5 (gender equality) at the heart of the program's values.
In addition, we guided these leaders to see the world from a sustainability perspective. Promoting dialogue among participants, our interesting finding was the effect of the program on their vision of the SDG interconnection. For Michael Smith, a leader of this year's cohort, the SDGs "underscore and characterize the idea that our global community is a continuum – that health, the economy, equality and equality" Environment are not autonomous problems. Nayana Bijili, one of our first leaders of the mentorship program, also believes that they "force us to imagine the world in which future generations will grow." This understanding of the intersection of social issues with the SDGs is and will remain the key to developing leaders with impact.
The most tangible conclusion of all, however, was the immediate "domino" effect of our mentorship. Every young leader working on a personal project, they have already started to mark their local communities. One of these projects is "Futuros Abogados Descalzos" (Future Barefoot Lawyers), an initiative of Aàron Rodriguez-Amaya that provides disadvantaged communities in El Salvador with legal access through law students and young lawyers. He believes that local leadership is "contagious", his project inspiring more young people to get involved in their communities. Benya Kraus, another participant in our first group of leaders, also felt particularly excited about the end of the mentorship program: "I am amazed and humbled by the growth trajectory that I have experienced, and I'm also very grateful, as I know mentors like this are really hard to get, but they leave their impact on you forever. " Her experiences with us have led to an inspired leadership path and more recently she has come forward and won the presidency of the student union at her university.
In a short time, the mentorship program inspired a new generation of young local leaders and sparked a wave of change. However, mentoring alone is not enough. Dialogue and collaboration between young leaders and the general public is also needed to achieve the SDGs.
With this in mind, we developed Omnis Institute . In the spirit of the mentorship program, the Omnis Institute provides local leaders around the world with a platform that allows them to excel in sustainable leadership training, mentorship and role modeling. continuous long-term support. By focusing on the implementation of the SDGs, we aim to make local leaders vital assets for their communities and to enable them to be heard, not only by their immediate community, but also by the community. whole world. By directly achieving Sustainable Development Goal 17 (strengthening the means to implement the SDGs), we are also looking at the natural achievement of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including Goals 1-5 (eradicating poverty and poverty reduction). hunger, promote health, education and achievement of gender equality).
As part of this commitment, we chose Colombia as the first target region. Despite their long-standing role in peacebuilding processes, local leaders have long been neglected by global and national decision-makers. What stands out, however, is the reduced political and social interest in supporting these leaders, especially after the end of the negotiations on the peace process earlier this year. We chose Colombia because support for local leadership is even more essential in the absence of political support. The Omnis Institute aims to create a network of empowered local leaders in Colombia who can make their cause heard, add a more local perspective to a shared global platform, and push them forward. keep national and global conversations. Colombia is only the first country on our list; We intend to create local understanding in many other parts of the world. It's actually one of the Omnis Fundamentals: In addition to providing mentoring to new minority leaders, we need to learn and amplify the voices of local leaders in environments that are lacking. Attention and support at the global level.
A single leader can create an endless chain of social change. A training effect. Now imagine what a global network of leaders could achieve.
Dr. Alaa Murabit is a supporter of the ODDs and a co-founder of the Omnis Institute.