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Building awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals in schools

Setting the scene

As we pursue our purpose of building trust in society and solving important problems, we know that no problem is more important than the challenge of sustaining our planet for future generations. That’s why we’re active supporters of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the places where we’re putting this support into effect is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where PwC is working to promote the SDGs in schools.

"The response we've seen from students and the passion they've shown is fantastic. We can already see that they are there to make a difference and want to change the world."

Swati Randev-Verma, Corporate responsibility manager, PwC Middle East

How we helped

Launched in 2015, the SDGs are an ambitious series of 17 Goals and 169 targets aimed at ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change by 2030. The best chance of achieving the SDGs is if everybody is aware of them. To help build this awareness, film-maker and Comic Relief founder Richard Curtis has established an initiative called ‘Project Everyone’ that aims to share the SDGs with all seven billion people on the planet.

A key part of Project Everyone is ‘The World’s Largest Lesson’, a programme delivered in partnership with UNICEF and designed to introduce the SDGs to children and young people everywhere in the world, and unite them in action. PwC UAE is supporting this goal, by collaborating with global trade enabler DP World and law firm Linklaters on a pilot project aimed at informing schoolchildren in Dubai about the SDGs. 


During the pilot phase, PwC UAE conducted a small number of one-hour long interactive classes with the pupils. The children also took part in lively debates among themselves and with their teachers about why each of the SDGs is important.

The results of the pilot found 78% of children said they now felt more confident to talk to people about SDGs outside school, and 92% of children said they cared more about social and environmental issues after learning about the SDGs.

In the future, the UAE firm aims to involve PwC firms from all across the Middle East in The World’s Largest Lesson project, and have them deliver similar sessions at schools locally. The PwC-led pilot in the UAE is part of a larger global project called IMPACT 2030, of which PwC is a founding partner. IMPACT 2030 is a private sector-led coalition, in collaboration with the United Nations, that aims to use corporate volunteering to help achieve the SDGs.