Fatou is a 27-year-old housewife. At 15 years old, she decided to quit her education to get married to the love of her life, a man 8 years older than her, who had promised her a wealthy life in which she wouldn’t worry about a thing.
A few years into her marriage, her husband wasn’t doing well financially, and she found herself financially abused by him. All the promises went into vain and she was there begging for a penny to get the most basic goods she needed. Looking at herself, she found herself with no knowledge or skills to help her stand on her feet. With no education to support her, she felt like all the doors were shut, and her only salvation was her husband, who in turn belittled her for always being dependent on him, noting that it had been himself who stopped her from being an achiever.
This is not only the story of Fatou, but also that of millions of women living in disparity because they couldn’t be self-sufficient and independent. This story is yet another example of what the SDGs tackle, like Reduced Inequalities, among others as Quality Education and Gender Equality.
The contribution of women in the society decreases early marriage, and early marriage is linked to low education.
The graph shows the countries with the highest number of women who were first married by age of 15.
The top 3 countries with the highest number of women who were early married are Niger with 37.37% , Bangladesh with 32% and Chad with 29.25%.
Moreover, 76% of girls in Niger are married before their 18th birthday and 28% are married before the age of 15. Niger has the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world and the 13th highest absolute number of women married or in a union before the age of 18 globally – 745,000.
As a result, Awareness campaigns must be done to limit early marriage, and impose laws on marriage before 18.
In the time it has taken to read this article 39 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
GameStop was heading towards bankruptcy, with hedge funds taking short positions in companies like GameStop, in which they borrow shares of the stock at a certain price under the expectation that its market value will be worth less when it’s time to actually pay for those borrowed shares. In other words, they are betting on the stock price dropping, however something unexpected happened, the Gamestop stocks surged being driven by retail investors — individuals who buy and sell stocks for their own gains, as opposed to professional investors working on Wall Street — on the subreddit r/WallStreetBets (WSB), a community 2.9 million-strong decided to buy up as much shares of stocks as a joke. That ended up reviving GameStop, incurring massive losses on the hedge funds, and shaking the stock market. This short squeeze – as it’s referred to – is not uncommon but it doesn’t tend to play out in this public or dramatic a manner leading this case to be the talk of every news outlet at the time.
This case perfectly encapsulated the volatility and unpredictability of the stock market, as well as how it can be influenced heavily by the everyday person. Such cases also emerged with Eli Lilly and their Twitter fiasco more recently.
As such we recommend the deployment of a brand followup division for social media from companies, as well as more rigorous bylaws implemented within social media platforms in order to control, contain, and possibly prevent such situations.
Omar El Khatib
Karim El Hajj
Bassel Abou Zahr
Our world today is much safer than it was 40 years ago. One powerful indicator to reflect societal living conditions is child mortality rates, given the many sensitive factors required for a newborn or a child to grow in health. Generalizing the matter to include the world as a whole would show us the constant decline in child mortality of 60% since 1960. This is due to improved healthcare services, nutrition, housing conditions, and education. Unfortunately, this improvement mostly reflects the rich more developed side of the world. Diving into the poorer side shows a different painful reality, a massive-scale tragedy that barely makes it to the headlines.
According to the World Health Organization, 2020 has recorded 5 million child deaths under the age of 5 with 2.4 million being of newborns, all due to preventable and treatable diseases and causes. This is unacceptable as a significant portion of these deaths are preventable.
A staggering reality to face is that children of underdeveloped poorest of countries have 10% risk of not surviving past the age of 5, while this rate drops to 1.2% in richer countries. (World economic forum). Moreover, for every 1000 live births, child mortality in low-income countries is nearly 6 times more than in upper-middle-income countries.
Analyzing the reasons behind child mortality shows 4 major factors:
Poor living conditions
Lack of healthcare services
Poor healthcare consciousness
Preventing this tragedy requires access to simple and affordable interventions like adequate nutrition, safe supply of water, immunization and quality healthcare when needed. Hence, we need a sustainable solution that ensures the long-term resolution of the problem from its core.
Analyzing historical data of female literacy rate and its impact over time on decreasing birth rate and mortality rate of children under 5, we can conclude that enhancing female literacy might constituting an effective solution on the long term. It would contribute in:
Improving reproductive and healthcare decision making
Enhancing healthcare consciousness of parents to provide better quality care for their children
Increasing number of trained health experts
Reducing poverty, enhancing productivity, and contributing to economic growth
Better management of family size
Increasing chances of parents prioritizing child education for their children
On the long term, female education leading to smarter maternal decision-making can reduce up to 61% of infant and child deaths. Enhancing female education will help us achieve the United nation’s sustainable development goals:
SDG3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”
SDG3.2: “By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.”
Amal, an Egyptian 30-year-old girl, has been unemployed for the past three years. Her organization laid her off after being with them for 10 years because of the pandemic. Amal couldn’t continue her education because she had to help her family at a young age. Amal now spends all her time trying to get a job, but her efforts are not being paid off because of the country’s bad economic situation.
Amal’s case is very common in the world in general and in the Arab world specifically. To begin with, let’s define unemployment. Unemployment is the term for when a person who is actively looking for a job is unable to find work. The problem of unemployment lies in its consequences on the economy of the individual, society, and country. Some of the effects of unemployment on the individual, society, and economic levels:
Individual: Unemployment can also have a significant impact on a person’s physical health. Being unemployed is a highly stressful situation, so it may cause stress-related health issues such as headaches, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, back pain, and insomnia.
Society: Communities with high unemployment rates are more likely to have limited employment opportunities, low-quality housing, fewer available recreational activities, limited access to public transportation and public services, and underfunded schools.
Economy: When people are unemployed, they spend less money, which ultimately contributes to less contribution to the economy in relation to services or goods sold and produced.
The unemployment rate has been widely spread across the world. As the graph shows, the Arab region has the highest unemployment rate with 11.26% followed by the Latin American and the Caribbean region.
The impact of education level on unemployment:
The higher the level of education of a certain population, the lower the risk of unemployment. Research has shown that education has significantly increased re-employment success among the unemployed. Individuals with a low level of education have less chance of finding employment than those with a higher level. Such studies are proving the contradictory relationship between education and unemployment where the more a country supports the increase of education level the less the unemployment rate it has.
The graph above shows the unemployment rate with different academic levels among different selected countries. As shown, Brazil, a country from the Latin America region, has a higher unemployment rate with basic education, and intermediate education (9.41, 7.94 respectively) compared to advanced education (3.44). On the other hand, Japan has a low unemployment rate with three different education levels (3.51, 3.85 with respect to advanced and intermediate levels) compared to the other selected countries.
A way to decrease the unemployment rate:
Education can be a solution to unemployability in many regions of the world. A potential solution could be by adding more expenses on education to improve the level of skills of the citizen. This will lead to an enhancement in the market where new opportunities might be raised by educating people about entrepreneurship for example.
The graph shows the average expenditure on education across different countries. As shown, most countries with lower unemployment rates have higher expenditures on education. For example, Japan and Canada have a very low unemployment rate when it comes to advanced education, and they spend a good amount of money on their education sector as shown in the graph above. However, Brazil has a very high unemployment rate with basic and intermediate education, but it increases a lot with advanced education. Also, as the graph shows Brazil is spending a good amount of money on education.
To conclude, from analyzing a few indicators from the data, it is recommended that countries spend more money on their education systems. Aligning with the Sustainable development goal 4 – Quality education, this change can be done in a way that improves the skills of their citizens which will lead to the increase of their innovation to build new markets and follow up and produce new technologies that improve the country and create employment opportunities for the communities.
Poorer nations like Africa have higher fertility rates, and this because they don’t have enough culture, women’s are not working and becoming mother at a very young age.
As we can see in the map, the highest fertility rates are is in Africa countries.
Many factors are affecting the high fertility rate and one of them is related to a low education level. So in order in order to boost the economy and reduce poverty , measures related directly to education should be taken into consideration.
When women are more educated, they tend to shift there focus to their education , which can lead later on to an occupation . And a working mother , wouldn’t be able to have kids like a stay at home mother . In this case women would consider planning when to have kids. And with women contributing to the economy, trough education and work . These actions will boost consumption and production , moreover boosting the economy and having a higher gdp.
And by giving women this opportunity, and by spreading education and knowledge, fertility rate will be reduced therefore it will contribute to slowing the population growth rate.
Where there is energy there is life, but what if that same energy is the reason life is being destroyed? Non-renewable energy resources such as coal, oil, and natural gas have been abused extensively over the years; and not only are they detrimental to the environment, but they are bound to finish in the future. The switch over to more sustainable sources of energy has been something that has not been around for a hundred years yet, for that it could still be considered to be still in its infancy today.
Sustainable Development Goal 7 is one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. It aims to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” According to “SDG7 Energy Compact of the Republic of Lebanon”, by the year 2030, universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services should be ensured, as well as increasing substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all.
Energy in Lebanon, ever since the mid-nineties has been dominated by oil, which represents more than 95% of the primary energy consumed in 2019 (Julian & Salameh, 2022). According to Electricité du Liban (EDL), in 1995 thermal energy expenditure was 4,349 GWh only to spike drastically to 14,617 GWh in 2017. In 2019, though, there is a noticeable decline in thermal energy expenditure as it settles at 11,665 GWh; with an increase in hydraulic energy from 415 GWh in 2017 to 829 GWh, thus almost doubling in two years. As a result, we notice that slowly, but steadily, Lebanon has been shifting its focus to renewable energy sources, thus aligning with SDG 7.
Source: World Bank Global Electrification Database from “Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report” led jointly by the custodian agencies: the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency ( IRENA ), the United Nations Statistics Division ( UNSD ), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Energy consumption in Lebanon has always been at a loss. From 1995 until 2019, Lebanon’s consumption averaged at 10,845 GWh whereas only 8,936 GWh has been averaged in production. Hence, this is where the deficiency lies. It is impossible to claim sustainability where there is an undersupply.
Despite the lack in production, Lebanon does in fact import sources of energy in order to fulfill the needs of the country in terms of electricity. That, though, does not reflect the reality of most Lebanese citizens. “For decades now, electricity has been a major issue in Lebanon. State-owned Electricité du Liban provides only two hours of electricity per day. However, some areas experience complete shut-off. Until today, the Lebanese people’s main alternative to state-provided electricity is resorting to private generators that work on diesel. Two problems emerge from this situation, the first one being the price of petroleum-related products” (Muro, 2021). Surprisingly, according to the most recent World Bank studies, in the year 2020, 100% of Lebanese have access to electricity. The reality of the situation is very different as aforementioned with privatized energy distribution becoming the norm, consequently aggravating the environmental situation.
Source:Electricité du Liban (E.D.L)
As the economic crisis intensifies day by day and energy costs rise by the hour, the more well-off portion of the Lebanese society has been resorting to alternative energy sources; mainly solar energy. Although that does not solve the problem per-se, it has spurred a mass transition as NGOs have hopped on board to provide solar panels to less-abled communities. As a result, more and more people have been stopping their memberships with alternative providers (generators).
It comes as no surprise, switching to solar energy. It is a step that is long overdue, and as the saying goes “necessity is the mother of invention”. Even though it is not exactly an invention, but through necessity, Lebanon is slowly becoming more sustainable! Lebanon has a lot of natural resources such as wind and water. However, the most interesting and important natural asset is the abundant sunshine, making solar energy in Lebanon the ideal alternative to consider for Lebanon to get out of the electricity crisis. Using solar energy in Lebanon saves money for the Lebanese people whose private generators’ cost keeps on increasing. In fact, for 12 hours of electricity a day, the fuel cost for private generators can be as high as $550 per day. Although the installation of solar panels is expensive as well, it is an investment. If someone pays $550 per day on fuel, installing solar panels will reduce their cost to around $140 per day. (Monzer, 2022)
Yet another possible solution, straying from the tradition of utilizing natural resources, is the use of yet another crisis Lebanon suffers from. The trash situation has been plaguing the country for years now and it is possible, with the right funding from the right individuals and associations to begin collecting this trash and transferring it to specialized factories that will in turn use it in order to produce energy. This long term investment thus solves two issues simultaneously, while providing job opportunities for many locals.
It is of the utmost importance in Lebanon to deviate away from oil as a main fuel for energy and depend more on renewable energy from resources such as sun, wind and water. In Lebanon up to 4.5% of electricity comes from hydropower and up to 95.5% from oil. Abiding by the goals set in the SDG 7 is a surefire way to take the appropriate steps to building a society in which sustainable energy is the norm. Despite being a long way from sustainable; with the aid of the diaspora, concerned NGOs, and the local community, it is possible to make use of nature’s bounties, which are plentiful in the 10,452 km2 of mountainous rushing streams, gusting winds of the vast planes, and the showering sunlight reaching every corner of the nation.
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