#PlanetPartners: Offering opportunities and support to reduce poverty worldwide
05 May 2021
Providing financial support for students and creating opportunities for communities all around the world are some of the ways the University of Reading is helping to reduce global poverty.
The University’s institutional and research efforts are underpinned by the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are aimed at tackling societal and environmental challenges across the planet and are closely aligned with the University’s own strategy.
This May, the University of Reading is running a new #PlanetPartners campaign, inviting its entire community to share examples of work towards all the SDGs.
SDG1: No Poverty encompasses work to support those in difficult social or financial positions, and also create opportunities for all that prevents more people falling into these situations.
"Empowering communities to take action themselves is key to solving issues in local areas." - Dr Sally Lloyd Evans, Whitley Researchers lead
Dr Sally Lloyd-Evans, who leads the Whitley Researchers group who work locally to tackle social exclusion said: “Empowering communities to take action themselves is key to solving issues in local areas.
“Our research is one example of how Reading is sharing its skills and knowledge to help people gather evidence of the inequalities or challenges affecting their neighbourhoods and take control of decision making to establish sustainable, community-led solutions that genuinely change lives.”
Examples of work by the University to address SDG1 include:
- Offering bursaries and scholarships to allow students from all over the world to gain qualifications. More than 2,300 low-income students at Reading received financial aid in 2018/19, representing 14.5% of the University’s total students. The University also has schemes to support students from low or middle-income countries, such as the provision of free education or grants.
- Working closely with community groups to raise the prospects of people in the Reading area. The Whitley Researchers have been engaging with residents to tackle social exclusion and wellbeing locally.
- Helping impoverished communities in countries such as Iraq and Jordan turn their rich culture and heritage into livelihoods through Archaeology projects.
- Preventing certain social groups being more adversely affected by natural hazards. The Walker Institute, based at Reading, is working in partnership with Evidence for Developmentto collect and analyse data on local livelihoods in countries vulnerable to weather, climate and economic shocks, to ensure that socially excluded groups are not overlooked. The University’s TAMSAT research project has helped more than a million farmers gain insurance against drought by providing climate data and daily rainfall estimates to support forecasts and aid efforts.
- Supporting new business ventures by local entrepreneurs or graduates through the Henley Business Angels initiative run by Henley Business School. An advice clinic is also available to students and alumni who have business start-up ideas.
- Facilitating companies to help solve social issues through Henley Business School Africa’s MBAid initiative. This has provided tens of thousands of hours of free consulting time over the last decade to non-profit organisations via thousands of Henley Business School Africa students.
The UN’s SDGs incorporate themes across the ‘five Ps’: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace and Partnership. These align with the University of Reading’s own strategic themes: Community, Excellence, Sustainability and Engagement.
This campaign follows the publication of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021, in which Reading participated for the first time and ranked in the top 200 globally, which scored participating universities on their support of the individual SDGs.
The University’s latest campaign is a continuation of the #PlanetPartners campaign launched by the University in October 2019, which is highlighting ways the University is working with global partners on projects that benefit the environment.
Follow the campaign and share your examples of work on Twitter: @UniofReading | Facebook: /theuniversityofreading | Instagram: @uniofreading | LinkedIn: University of Reading | TikTok: @uniofreading using the hashtags #PlanetPartners and #sdgoals