SDG Series Goal 4: Access to Education


Goal 4 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. This goal supports one of the Jane Goodall Institute’s core values, which is to promote change through knowledge and understanding with education and advocacy.

Further, Goal 4 aims to insure that, through education, children and adults acquire the knowledge and skills needed to engage in sustainable lifestyles and development. This goal also calls for a substantial increase in the number of qualified teachers and scholarships available globally with an emphasis on developing countries.

Through JGI’s Africa programs, we’ve seen equality in education lead to increased economic opportunities for girls and women, sexual education lead to healthier lives for individuals and communities and environmental education bring attention to the protection of the environment and great apes. All of these programs create a means for more sustainable practices.

One JGI project that supports equitable education is the Girl’s Peer to Peer Education Project in Uganda. Many girls do not have equal opportunities for educational advancement because they lack sanitary supplies required for school. In part of Uganda (between 2013 and 2014) 80 percent of girls dropped out of school. When girls are not in school, they are more likely to marry early and become pregnant at a young age, increasing both the potential for health risks and a growing population’s need for environmental resources.

The Girl’s Peer to Peer Education Project provides girls with sanitary supplies and other necessary school supplies to help them stay in school. The project also helps girls stay in school by training teachers and students on how to inform their students and peers on sexual education, family planning, and sexually transmitted illnesses. These efforts greatly benefit chimpanzees, as population growth is one of their biggest threats. JGI found that girls who have access to education are more likely to farm with sustainable methods, space out their pregnancies, vaccinate their children and keep their children in school. This creates a cycle of sustainable living for future generations.

Girls receiving sanitary products so that they can continue schooling.

Girls receiving sanitary products so that they can continue schooling.

The increase of scholarships for students and qualified teachers that Goal 4 calls for is an objective that JGI actively works towards. In just 2014, the TACARE Girl’s Scholarship Project in Tanzania sponsored 45 girls, 32 of whom are enrolled in college or university. Since its inception, 242 girls benefited from this scholarship. Educational advancement equips girls with the tools to pursue community leadership positions and micro-finance business options, further expanding gender equality in communities, a large part of SDG Goal 5.

JGI also works to train new teachers across the region. In the Republic of Congo in 2014, JGI trained 82 educators from 50 schools in environmental education; completed three new schools, benefiting 1,500 students; and provided 27,723 students from 95 schools with environmental education sessions in Walikale and Lubutu. One thousand students went on to apply their learning to sustainability practices, participating in a tree planting program. These steps not only directly contribute to sustainable living and environmental protection but also empower youth to be a part of the solution.

Students learning about chimpanzee trafficking and the bush meat trade as a part of their environmental education.

Community members in the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Uganda continue to emerge from JGI’s education projects as effective learners and teachers. When education is more accessible, girls and other community members gain opportunities and knowledge that can help them thrive without sacrificing sustainability. JGI continues to work in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4 to make education a priority by actively supporting our programs that promote education as a tool to create sustainable livelihoods and benefit the environment.


UN SDG Source:

About Author

Hayley is was an intern for the Jane Goodall Institute in the fall of 2015. She graduated from Muhlenberg College with a B.A. in Media and Communication and Theatre. She is interned for the communications department at JGI because she hopes to help Jane's mission to "speak out for those [chimpanzees]...who cannot speak for themselves."