Educating for Change

Main Article Content

Ian Brooks
Mario Kossmann
Virginie Kossmann


The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework was adopted by every member state of the United Nations in 2015, and, albeit not legally binding, it is arguably one of the greatest steps of humanity to address the identified problems of our time, covering a wide range of topics such as environmental protection, equal opportunities, education, eradication of diseases, famine, poverty, slavery and child labour. Both in terms of its comprehensive scope and its worldwide support, this framework arguably represents one of the most significant international frameworks in human history.

Using education related examples from a charity project that is concerned with the development of a local health care system in the African rain forest in Cameroon, this paper illustrates how projects can and should implement key aspects of the SDGs framework pre-emptively within their scope, i.e. at the local level, prior to and in support of the full, legally binding implementation of the framework at the national level. This not only helps to make our world a better place, but also very concretely to reduce project risks, create funding opportunities and make the project’s deliverables more sustainable.

The ‘Mahola Project’ (‘Mahola’ means ‘Aid’ in the local Bassa language) was founded in 2013 – following an exploration trip to Cameroon in order to assess the real needs of the population in the deprived area around the village Siliyegue – as a response to meet these needs. The main objective of the project is the development and deployment of a sustainable, integrated, local health care system that is fully aligned with the SDGs and brings about dramatic improvements for the quality of life of the people living there; far beyond ‘just’ providing health care and work opportunities. Education is at the core of the necessary efforts to successfully deliver this system, changing minds and hearts.

Article Details

Practitioner case (Single blind review)
Author Biographies

Ian Brooks, University of the West of England

Ian Brooks is a Senior Lecturer in Sustainable IT at the University of the West of England (UWE) and a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Bristol. The large part of his career has been in management consultancy and Green IT with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM. His last role with IBM was as their Sustainability leader on the IBM outsourcing contract with Defra (the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). He has an MSc in Environmental Consultancy from UWE and has embarked on PhD research on the use of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as Requirements in Software Engineering, also at UWE.

Mario Kossmann, Systems Engineer and Capability Integrator for Airbus

Dr. Mario Kossmann (ESEP) is an experienced Systems Engineer and Capability Integrator for Airbus, having previously worked for Blohm & Voss as Program Manager, Systems Engineer, Technical Manager and Consultant in Services Marketing. He has served as a naval officer with the German and French navies, and was awarded an MEng in Aerospace Technology from the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich (Germany), an MBA from the University of Warwick (UK) and a Ph.D. in Systems & Software Engineering from the University of the West of England. He is the author of the books ‘Delivering Excellent Service Quality in Aviation’ (Ashgate 2006) and ‘Requirements Management – How to ensure that you achieve what you need from your projects’ (Gower 2013), as well as numerous research publications in the fields of Systems Engineering, Software Engineering and Project Management. Mario is also a certified Project Manager and ‘Expert Systems Engineering Professional’ (INCOSE). Mario has been involved in the ‘Mahola’ project ( as both Project Leader and Systems Engineer from the start of the project in December 2012.

Virginie Kossmann, Primary School Teacher

Virginie Kossmann is an experienced primary school teacher in the UK (all age groups and subjects), having previously worked as head teacher of a primary school, and teacher in various primary schools in France. She was awarded a BSc in Sciences (Physics and Chemistry) from the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France, and has ‘Qualified Teacher Status’ in both the UK and France. Virginie has been involved in the ‘Mahola’ project ( and guided the project in matters related to education including bursaries, teaching and training, from the start of the project in December 2012