2017 MTN Bushfire Festival lights SDGs fire

Swaziland_UNCT_Bushfire festivalBushfire SDGs stall visitor receiving an information flier. UN Swaziland ©2017

 

Swaziland’s internationally acclaimed music and arts festival, MTN Bushfire Festival held in May 26th-28th, provided a global platform for the UN Country Team to create awareness, educate and set off a public discussion on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using the tagline, “Sustain your fire.”

Announced in 2016 by CNN as one of the “7 African music festivals you really have to see” and listed by BBC as a “top African festival”, the MTN Bushfire held annually in the scenic farmlands of the Malkerns Valley, celebrates creative expression whilst promoting social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

The festival’s 2017 theme and hashtag was #Greenyourfire, promoted through various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Taking climate action (SDG 13) through ensuring a green, eco-friendly and inspiring festival, a recycling system was developed with a target of a minimum of 50% recycling of waste. Throughout the festival attended by over 26 000 people, in every Zone there were green bins for recyclables and black bins for general waste.

Various climate-smart actions, including the All Out Africa Foundation’s #KhulaTreeProject which called everyone to leave a lasting legacy at the 2017 Bushfire Festival by planting a tree at the nearby Mlilwane Nature Reserve, made educating the multi-generational global community about SDGs simpler.

Tourists, the youth, families, artists, exhibitors and the general public visited the SDGs stall to learn about the global goals, take an SDGs quiz, express their views on what the goals mean to them and identify their role as individuals. (Click here to view pictures)  “I think my role would be dedicating my spare time to educate children or a youth group on life skills. That’s how I believe I can contribute to the achievement of Goal 4,” one respondent of the SDGs quiz said. 

“I was so happy to see a variety of fruits and vegetables on sale at the Bushfire Food Market. As a ministry we encourage farmers to produce more and more vegetables to ensure food security,” the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Moses Vilakati, said in response to a SDG 12-related question on sustainable agriculture during a live interview with Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service (SBIS) 2.

He further expressed a positive impression of the festival, citing his conversation with the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Hon. Christopher Gamedze, on how the MTN Bushfire has put Swaziland on the map. Similar sentiments were shared by His Excellency, the Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini, who was also in attendance alongside with other senior government officials.

Swaziland’s internationally acclaimed music and arts festival, MTN Bushfire Festival held in May 26th-28th, provided a global platform for the Government of Swaziland and the UN country team to create awareness, educate and set off a public discussion on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using the tagline, “Sustain your fire.”

Announced in 2016 by CNN as one of the “7 African music festivals you really have to see” and listed by BBC as a “top African festival”, the MTN Bushfire held annually in the scenic farmlands of the Malkerns Valley, celebrates creative expression whilst promoting social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

The festival’s 2017 theme and hashtag was #Greenyourfire, promoted through various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Taking climate action (SDG 13) through ensuring a green, eco-friendly and inspiring festival, a recycling system was developed with a target of a minimum of 50% recycling of waste.

Throughout the festival attended by over 25 000 people, in every Zone there were green bins for recyclables and black bins for general waste.

 

Swaziland’s internationally acclaimed music and arts festival, MTN Bushfire Festival held in May 26th-28th, provided a global platform for the Government of Swaziland and the UN country team to create awareness, educate and set off a public discussion on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using the tagline, “Sustain your fire.”

Announced in 2016 by CNN as one of the “7 African music festivals you really have to see” and listed by BBC as a “top African festival”, the MTN Bushfire held annually in the scenic farmlands of the Malkerns Valley, celebrates creative expression whilst promoting social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

The festival’s 2017 theme and hashtag was #Greenyourfire, promoted through various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Taking climate action (SDG 13) through ensuring a green, eco-friendly and inspiring festival, a recycling system was developed with a target of a minimum of 50% recycling of waste.

Throughout the festival attended by over 25 000 people, in every Zone there were green bins for recyclables and black bins for general waste.

 

Various climate-smart actions, including the All Out Africa Foundation’s #KhulaTreeProject which called everyone to leave a lasting legacy at the 2017 Bushfire Festival by planting a tree at the nearby Mlilwane Nature Reserve, made educating the multi-generational global community about SDGs simpler.

Tourists, the youth, families, artists, exhibitors and the general public visited the SDGs stall to learn about the global goals, take an SDGs quiz, express their views on what the goals mean to them and identify their role as individuals.  

“I think my role would be dedicating my spare time to educate children or a youth group on life skills. That’s how I believe I can contribute to the achievement of Goal 4,” one respondent of the SDGs quiz said. 

“I was so happy to see a variety of fruits on sale at the Bushfire Food Market. As a ministry we encourage farmers to produce more and more vegetables to ensure food security,” the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Moses Vilakati, said in response to a SDG 12-related question on sustainable agriculture during a live interview with Swaziland Broadcasting services (SBIS) 2.

He further expressed a positive impression of the festival, citing his conversation with the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Hon. Christopher Gamedze, on how the MTN Bushfire has put Swaziland on the map. Similar sentiments were shared by His Excellency, the Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini, who was also in attendance alongside with other senior government officials.

A UN officer was interviewed for a short video showcasing the SDGs stall which played at the festival’s main stage and was viewed by thousands.

 

Various climate-smart actions, including the All Out Africa Foundation’s #KhulaTreeProject which called everyone to leave a lasting legacy at the 2017 Bushfire Festival by planting a tree at the nearby Mlilwane Nature Reserve, made educating the multi-generational global community about SDGs simpler.

Tourists, the youth, families, artists, exhibitors and the general public visited the SDGs stall to learn about the global goals, take an SDGs quiz, express their views on what the goals mean to them and identify their role as individuals.  

“I think my role would be dedicating my spare time to educate children or a youth group on life skills. That’s how I believe I can contribute to the achievement of Goal 4,” one respondent of the SDGs quiz said. 

“I was so happy to see a variety of fruits on sale at the Bushfire Food Market. As a ministry we encourage farmers to produce more and more vegetables to ensure food security,” the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Moses Vilakati, said in response to a SDG 12-related question on sustainable agriculture during a live interview with Swaziland Broadcasting services (SBIS) 2.

He further expressed a positive impression of the festival, citing his conversation with the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Hon. Christopher Gamedze, on how the MTN Bushfire has put Swaziland on the map. Similar sentiments were shared by His Excellency, the Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini, who was also in attendance alongside with other senior government officials.

A UN officer was interviewed for a short video showcasing the SDGs stall which played at the festival’s main stage and was viewed by thousands.

 
Swaziland_UNCT_bushfire SDGs picturesStall visitors posing for a photo using a social media prop. UN Swaziland ©2017

 

The 3-day festival succeeded a SDG 4-related activity called, “MTN Bushfire Schools Festival” held from the 22nd May until the 25th with the aim of creating a sustainable approach to arts education.

During the Schools festival, a Teacher and Facilitator Workshop took place at the Malkerns Country Club where the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Lars Tushuizen presented on SDGs. “As teachers you can use your experience to simplify the SDGs into simple topics that the ordinary Swazi would understand. In that way, you could foster behavioral changes such as intentionally and consistently using bins to dispose waste,” he advised teachers from over 20 schools located in both rural and urban areas.

The last day of the Schools' Festival was marked by a High Schools Open Day which hosted close to 600 students. The day's aim was to show students various ways of using the arts for creative expression, and as a way to disseminate sexual health education and social behavioral change.The day featured exciting performances from students and a presentation on SDGs relating to the Schools Festival’s theme, “Environmental Sustainability.”

Climate actions taken through the festival can be replicated in the more than 60 countries where Bushfire attendees come from, starting with Swaziland. If left unchecked, climate change will undo a lot of the progress made over the past years in development. Countries need to anticipate, adapt and become resilient to the current and future impacts of climate change. This can be achieved through, among other interventions, the Paris Agreement which all countries committed to take action to address climate change. By addressing climate change, we can build a sustainable world for everyone. But we need to act now.