HYY’s sustainable development projects

One of the duties assigned to student unions in the Universities Act is to prepare students for an active, informed and critical citizenship. Our goal is thus to ensure that acting in the Student Union is a genuine way to influence matters in society. We are committed to the principles of sustainable development and the UN’s Agenda 2030 programme. Sustainable development encompasses social, economic, ecological and cultural sustainability. One way in which HYY realises its social responsibility is through various sustainable development projects that are coordinated by our members.

Sustainable development themes are taken into account in all HYY’s activities

We take the principles of sustainable development into account in all our decision-making processes. The suffering, uncertainty and costs caused by the climate and environmental crisis fall disproportionately on young people and future generations. On a global scale, the effects fall especially on people and species that are in the weakest position. We set out our measures and goals related to sustainable development in our Sustainable Development Plan. The plan is in effect 2021–2023.

  • Ecological sustainability sets the boundaries for all our activities. We influence matters in our own activities, at the University and in society in order to keep the Earth habitable.
  • Social sustainability translates into enabling the humane and ethical actions of individuals and the community both now and in the future. We take responsibility for our members and employees as well as the University community.
  • Economic sustainability helps us ensure that future student generations will also have opportunities and services provided by HYY as well as promote circular economy and act transparently.

Read more about HYY's sustainable development plan

Development cooperation is how we support those in a weaker position than us

Since 2008, HYY has been using 0.7% of the budget of its operating finances on development cooperation. This figure is based on the UN’s recommendation on the share of their gross national product Western countries should use on development cooperation. We primarily conduct development cooperation in the target country with partners that commit to our values or with project support from an external financer, such as the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The development cooperation conducted by us affects the status of groups of people that are in the weakest position. HYY’s Development Cooperation Committee takes part in planning and realising the development cooperation projects. Projects also have a project coordinator who is in charge of carrying out the project activities with the support of HYY’s personnel and Board.

Meet the Development Cooperation Committee

Our development cooperation project supports the schooling of girls and young people with special needs in Mozambique

The joint project of HYY and the Mozambican non-governmental organisation Associação PROGRESSO focuses on supporting the schooling of girls in their final years of comprehensive school and young people with special needs as well as preventing them from dropping out of school. The project operates in four different residential areas within the city of Pemba in the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique.

Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. However, the accessibility of comprehensive education in the country has improved in recent years and most children now start comprehensive school. The quality of teaching could still be improved, though, and issues including large class sizes make learning more difficult for children. In the area where our project operates, children dropping out of school is a big problem: only 11% of Mozambican children finish their studies. The project supports those suffering from learning difficulties by providing remedial instruction and buying glasses, for instance.

Our cooperation partner, Associação PROGRESSO, has been working with education in Mozambique since 1991. A Mozambican organisation for disabled youth has also taken part in planning the project. The project also helps improve understanding of issues related to the disabled within PROGRESSO and among local actors, such as teachers and rectors.

Our aim is to support girls and young people with special needs with finishing comprehensive school. Our goal is for 250 girls and young people with special needs to pass the national final exams held after the fifth and seventh years of comprehensive school so that they are able to continue their education. The project runs from 2019 to 2022.

Read more about the Mozambique project (in Finnish)

Our sustainable development project promotes responsible consumption

‘Sustainability holds us up, uphold sustainability’, the joint project of HYY, the National Union of University Students in Finland and seven other student unions challenges students to consider the effects of their consumer habits and introduces them to the UN’s sustainable development goals. The project focuses especially on goal 12, responsible consumption. The project has received communication and global education support from the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

As part of the project, HYY is organising events and training sessions related to responsible consumption during the Sustainable Development Week in October. The events are open to everyone and free. Further information about the events will be announced in the autumn!

Read more about the project on SYL's website