How can you engage an entire nation?
In 2015, the UN created 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a global plan to eradicate poverty, combat inequality, and halt climate change by 2030. These goals have guided Norwegian development aid policy ever since.
The problem was that a year after the launch only 35% of Norwegians knew that the goals even existed. A plan to save the world is no good if too few even knows it exists. This is a major challenge for Norad, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, who have the job of distributing development aid funds and to communicate the results to the public. So we needed to create a campaign to increase awareness of the SDGs in the entire population of Norway by 10% – a monumental task.
To get Norwegians to take action, we had to connect our campaign to something that all Norwegians love and appreciate. Norwegians collaborate best when close to nature. To get the entire country on board, we decided to harness the spirit of our ‘turkultur‘ or hiking culture. We created the world’s first true global goals summits on actual summits – mountains all over Norway. And to enlighten Norwegians, we did it at night. Hiking up a mountain in the dead of night is almost impossible – if you are alone. But when we are many, we can rely on the people around us to help light up the path for each other so that everyone can reach the top. The campaign sends a powerful message about the importance of collaboration to reach SDGs.
The Enlightenment Trails were a series of free hikes where Norad invited the public to walk together along trails where they learned about the Sustainable Development Goals. From 17 light posts along the way, the hikers interacted with the goals and learned what each of us can do to reach them and how the whole of society can work together.
Each event was documented, and we created a series of visually stunning films showcasing them. The films have been instrumental in creating national engagement long after the events had finished. They have also been showcased at several ‘ordinary’ SDG-summits including at the UN for Global Goals week.
Over 55,000 hikers hiked up the mountains in nine different locations
Our videos of the trails have been watched over 11 million times, that’s twice the population of Norway
We started with 35% awareness of the 17 UN goals, and we set out to raise that number by 10%. It now stands at 52%