Making every vote count in India

indiaThe United Nations Volunteers (UNVs) Field Unit in India has mobilized thousands of Indians to vote for the My World Survey. UNV’s partners at the grassroots level are supporting offline surveys in areas where internet or mobile options are not available since March 2013. So far, more than 1350 people including tribal, marginalized and poor people from Belgaum; children and youth from rural areas of Wayanad, Kerala; youth from the slum areas of Guwahati, educators from Mumbai and students from Delhi have participated in the offline survey to give their options they would like the post-2015 agenda to address.

In Karnataka, the students of Social Work of BSW College run by Belgaum Integrated Rural Development Society (BIRDS) reached out to more than 1000 tribal, marginalized  and poor households from the remote areas near Belgaum. The survey was translated in Kannada, a language the people speak.

In Kerala, students of AFRC INDIA— a communication training center in Wayanad— carried out three surveys to cover more than 200 hundred children and youth. The results of two surveys have been submitted so far. In words of Laila Sein, founder AFRC, “The best thing I found about the survey is that our students have started thinking beyond cricket and mobile phones— about critical issues that affect them.”

In Assam, the members of the SUROVI Shishu Panchayat(children’s assembly) reached out to more than 130 children and youth in slum and remote  areas of Guwahati (capital of Assam) between 18-24 April, 2013. The participating youth felt that in a society where they hardly ever get a chance to have their say, it was a great feeling to learn that the UN wants to hear them.

In Maharashtra, about 30 school principals and teachers participated to give their options they would like the post-2015 agenda to address. The survey was organized during the launch of Youth Empowerment Mission on 12 April 2013 in Mumbai, to create channels of youth engagement through volunteering. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has been working in collaboration with Anant Vikas, a campaign of Mind Genius Charitable Trust, since its launch in 2011 to engage the urban youth in the community development initiatives in rural India. Not only the participants enthusiastically voted, but pledged to mobilize more than 10,000 students and communities in rural and urban areas around Mumbai once the schools reopen in June after the summer break.

In Delhi, more than 100 students, teachers and other participants voted through the offline survey on 10 May during Children’s Social Conclave, 2013 organized by People’s Institute for Development and Training (PIDT), UNV and other partners to mark Global Youth Service Day. The schools also expressed interest and further involvement in the process.

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