Mahidol University students organized an exhibition on “Earth Children” inspired by MYWorld campaign on August 23. The exhibition showcased the winners of a photo contest based on the 16 choices of MYWorld survey and it was held during the University open day where hoards of High School students visited the campus where they might study in the near future.
Since June, a dedicated team of 30 student volunteers designed a creative campaign to engage their peers and their communities inspiring them to vote for MYWorld. At the opening ceremony Ms Sinney Khamsuwan, one of the volunteers, proudly stated “We visited many communities nearby to explain about MYWorld and gathered close to 10,000 votes, mainly offline”.
These students also produced incredible videos, shared widely through social media, to let people know, in simple words, why and how they should take part in the global MYWorld survey! Their efforts did not go unnoticed by the University. Dr. Bundhit Virajariyavej, Vice-President of Student Affairs, Mahidol University, who presided over the opening ceremony, noted “the most important aspect of this campaign is to raise awareness among the students and general public and make them feel global citizens.”
As part of the UNDGnational consultations for the post-2015 development agenda in Bangladesh, the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s office and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme have jointly led the first phase of the My World survey in Bangladesh through offline and online promotion of the survey.
“As I joined the UNV Field Unit in Bangladesh, UNRCO and UNV were already thinking about ways to increase participation to the My World survey. I joined the discussion addressing many questions: Can we translate the survey into Bangla? How do we reach out to the rural and urban poor? And most importantly: whom do we want to target?” said Merel Fuchs, international UN Youth Volunteer. The United Nations System in Bangladesh decided to involve specifically young people due to the high demographic percentage represented by youth that constitute the Bangladesh population. The UNV FU in Bangladesh took up the challenge to coordinate the process and acted as a focal point for all participating organisations as well as volunteers. The translated Bangla version of the survey was distributed and collected by different UN entities and international and local NGOs. The numerous partners disseminated the survey through their networks. In total more than 9.000 surveys were distributed throughout the country.
Volunteers have contributed in many ways to the success of My World in Bangladesh. Volunteers on the field administered the survey and informed young people about the post-2015 process of consultations and the opportunity to participate in the debate and have their voices heard also via completing the My World survey.
Online volunteers also played an essential role in making the survey work in Bangladesh: online volunteers who had been working with UNV translated the survey into Bangla and over 40 online volunteers supported the UNV FU in entering the results. People from across the globe came together to support the My World process in Bangladesh: from all continents, online volunteers applied to enter data. “To me it is really inspiring to see volunteers from Colombia, the USA, DRC, Czech Republic, India, Australia and of course Bangladesh commit their time and energy to turn My World into a “youth success” in Bangladesh” says Merel “Last but not least, of course, is the active interest of UN agencies, NGOs and local volunteers in administering the surveys who are the driving force of My World in Bangladesh”.
Due to the time and energy of all people involved over 4200 people participated in the offline survey by the end of June 2013. Most of the participants were young people under 35 years old. Our partners enabled youth from across the Bangladesh to participate in the survey and thus reached out to all different kind of social, ethnical and religious groups.
It is clear how the priorities of young people in Bangladesh speak to their personal well-being and development, while the other priorities are socially inclined, underlining the importance of good governance and active participation in their futures. When looking at the results according to educational attainment, it is interesting that the prioritisation of ‘equality between men and women’ has a correlation with the education level of participants: those with below secondary education attainment listed gender equality as more important than those who attended beyond secondary school, who prioritised ‘an honest and responsive government’.
While the results are not representative for all youth in Bangladesh, the outcome does point to the importance of giving quality education and fair employment opportunities to young people – no matter their educational or socio-economic background.
The work is not over for the UNV FU in Bangladesh: their aim is to increase the overall number of participants and encourage people throughout the country to mark the difference. A similar exercise can only be the beginning of further engagement and participation of young people to the development of their country!
If you want to know more about the results, check out the UN Bangladesh website!
Building on the enthusiasm of several thousands of Jordanians and 190 organizations mobilized during the Post-2015 agenda national consultations, in May the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team in Jordan launched the “Mark A Difference” campaign. Expectations are rising high as more than 300 volunteers are already on board to disseminate the MY World survey in schools and universities across the country, through popular fairs, shopping malls, public events, and approaching people in central avenues. “Of course I want to vote, but I also would like to help you make other Jordanians vote” (Mark A Difference volunteer, July 2013).
While almost 20,000 off-line ballots are travelling across the Kingdom ready to be filled, the top interaction is happening on the UN newly launched social media accounts. Twitter and Facebook captured the attention of prominent people as well as youth, in a total of 8,000 users from all over the country. No surprise then, that the campaign brought us new partners! Jordan’s number one hit music station, Play 99.6 FM, broadcasted 180 times spots on the MY World survey in one month, while 25,000 SMS-ads hit mobile phones screens across the nation. The highlight of this month is the announcement of an Instagram competition on the theme “The Future We Want”.
In Sudan, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is holding a number of workshops in 6 states: White Nile, Kassala, Gadarif, Blue Nile, Genina, Sinnar. The participants are coming from various national universities, such as the University of Khartoum, Jazeera University, Sudan University, Ahfad University, but also volunteer groups, NGOs, the Scouts and the Y Peer Networks. During the workshops, students and youth activists are lead through interactive sessions for raising awareness, youth empowerment, discussion on the new development agenda and promotion of the offline roll out of the MY World survey.
So far more than 1000 votes were collected; the volunteers were present in a national radio show and visited more than 4 universities. The MYWorld engagement will continue in the future, since they are planning to keep spreading the offline roll out and to engage national celebrities for the “Mark the Difference” Campaign.
Thailand’s Dhurakij Pundit University (DPU) held a kickoff event for incoming freshmen on July 4 and 5, bringing together new students and offering them to participate in a range of team-building activities. It was also a way of introducing students to the university’s involvement in MY World, the United Nations Global Survey.
DPU’s International College (DPUIC) gave a presentation about the MY World campaign and invited more than 1,500 new students to hear about the United Nations and many of the post-2015 development challenges facing Thailand and the rest of the world. “The beginning of a new academic year is always an exciting time for both faculty and students. This year is no exception as DPUIC has the opportunity to continue our successful partnership with MY World,” said Dominic Bone, DPUIC Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.
UNV Field Unit in India has mobilized thousands of Indians to vote for the My World Survey. Where internet or mobile options are not available, UNV’s partners at the grassroots level are supporting offline surveys since March 2013 reaching out to thousands of Indians to engage them in the post-2015 process. So far, about 2500 offline votes have been collected through this mobilization effort, covering more than eight Indian states from all the four regions. The survey provided opportunities to youth (both rural and urban), educationists, women, tribal, marginalized and poor people to give their opinion about the changes that will make this future free of poverty and more equitable.
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 in March. The survey was translated in Kannada, a language the people speak. 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 between 18-24 April. 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 Mumbai, Maharashtra, about 30 school principals and teachers participated in the survey in April organized supported by Anant Vikas Trust. Currently, efforts are on to mobilize more than 10,000 votes in communities in rural and urban areas around Mumbai. In Delhi, more than 100 students, teachers and other participants voted through the offline survey in 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.
In Kerala, a team of 20 enthusiastic youth took it upon themselves to reach out to their communities in Wayanad District of Kerala supported by AFRC INDIA to hear their unique perspectives for a better world. In June, this team of youth volunteers traveled extensively for nine days throughout the district and collected approximately 675 votes, exhibiting the great role volunteers could play in development efforts. 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.”
On 20 July, more than forty youth stepped forward to disseminate the offline survey with the backing of Anant Vikas trust in village Gomla, Haryana. This brigade of young volunteers was able to collect more than 70 votes from the villagers. Thanks to PIDT efforts, 388 tribal, marginalized, poor people and youth submitted their votes in Jharkhand. 200 votes came from the local women alone. Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth development (RGNIYD) organized the My World Survey in Tamil Nadu in July and 42 students of RGNIYD representing more than 12 Indian States participated in the survey.
Currently, offline survey is being organized in Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, and Maharashtra supported by Youth For Human Rights International, The Peace Gong, and Anant Vikas Trust.
Children and youth represent the future everywhere in this world –a truth more relevant now than ever, as half of the world’s population is under 25. Jordan is no exception in this respect. The Kingdom is a very young society, and the challenges that especially young Jordanians face in terms of unemployment and civic participation are steep. However, also in Jordan young people realize they can bring positive change to their communities and to their country. A handful of these motivated Jordanians created an initiative that aims to provide high school students the chance to make a more sustainable and informed decision regarding their studies. “We were not happy and had to chance something. So we had the idea of “Eye on the Future” ”, explains Malek Abu Ghanemeh, one of the initiators. “Eye on Future” was established three years ago as an annual event and an open air carnival of experience exchange. The active exchange and the provision of information will eventually decrease the level of frustration amongst students as well as their families and lead to an overall positive effect on the community as well. Since the whole fair focused on the future of youth, it also gathered different organizations and initiatives and programs, such as “Talal Abu Ghazaleh Knowledge Society” or “Bee Academy”, all aiming to inform students for example about effective learning programs.