11 villages commit to sustainable action against hunger and poverty

Island mayors and Master of Public Administration candidates display the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals on May 14 at the University of Guam. The G3 Commitment Badge Program, part of the Guam Green Growth initiative and facilitated by the MPA program, is working with mayors, organizations, and businesses to address the 17 goals locally. (UOG photo)

Seven additional village mayors have joined four others from earlier this year in earning the first two badges of the G3 Commitment (G3C) Badge Program. The badges — aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of “No Poverty” and “Zero Hunger” — signify the mayors’ efforts and continued commitments toward addressing these issues within their villages.

The G3C program, part of the island-wide Guam Green Growth initiative facilitated by the University of Guam’s Center for Island Sustainability, aims to recognize and reward businesses, organizations, educational institutions, and community groups that develop and create sustainable practices that align with the Guam Green Growth Action Framework and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

The badge program will be rolled out over five years, starting with badges for poverty and hunger and gradually advancing through all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The May 2021 graduates of the UOG Master of Public Administration program served as G3C ambassadors, facilitating the mayors’ awareness of the goals and participation in the badge program.

The mayors were invited to be early adopters, and the villages of Piti, Dededo, Hagåtña, and Sinajana were awarded their first two badges during the 2021 Conference on Island Sustainability in April. The villages of Mongmong-Toto-Maite, Mangilao, Agat, Yona, Umatac, Inalåhan, and Chalan Pago were recognized with their badges on May 14.

“Mayors have so much on their plates — to add another program was going to be hard,” said MPA graduate Christine Fejeran, so the student ambassadors provided a framework and a booklet of resources for the mayors to use as a guide for future sustainability projects and partnerships.

Actions that could make an organization or mayor’s office achieve a badge include assisting with food commodity distribution or supporting backyard farming.

Piti Mayor Jesse Alig commended the efforts of the public administration students in providing local support for sustainable action.

“This is good because we have to start somewhere so we know where to end,” Alig said.

MPA Program Director John J. Rivera said it was a new and unique experience for the MPA program’s capstone experience.

“Given the times we are in and the needs of the community, it was a real opportunity for us to get back into the community,” Rivera said. “This is the first time we did something on a grassroots level, and it allowed us to engage by reaching out to the heart of the community — the mayors.”

According to G3 Project Coordinator Annania Nauta, the MPA students helped bridge the gap between the program and the island’s mayors.

“This cohort was a determined and hardworking group,” Nauta said. “From after-hours Zoom calls to meeting with and presenting to most of the mayors’ offices, it was a real pleasure working with them. They helped to make the launch of the G3 Commitment a great success.”

(UOG Release)