The United Nations Millennium Campaign participated in the Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS) put on by the UN Economic and Social Affairs Council (ECOSOC) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 17-19 June 2015, with the support of OCHA.
This event provided a unique opportunity for Member States to address challenges, operational and normative progress on the humanitarian policy agenda. This year’s focus was on the future of humanitarian affairs: towards greater inclusiveness, coordination, interoperability and effectiveness.
Over 300 participants from various NGOs, member states, and UN agencies, including the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien, had the opportunity to “travel” to the Za’atari camp in Jordan and witness the daily life of 12-year old Sidra by immersing themselves in the virtual reality experience of Clouds Over Sidra. Participants noted:
“I was really blown away by Clouds Over Sidra – amazing technology and such a moving story. I have a twelve-year-old girl myself, so it was particularly poignant.”
“I have always been a bit old-fashioned and skeptical towards new technologies that are said to be game changers, but this one definitely is!”
Clouds Over Sidra is the first in a series of United Nations Millennium Campaign Virtual Reality films, with the goal of ensuring that citizen’s voices are directly involved in the design and accountability framework of the new international development agenda.
Blog by Asaah Gideon, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of EducateaChild in Africa (ECA).
Educate a Child in Africa (ECA), a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization that uses non-formal education and the media to inspire a passion for consequential formal education in children in Africa recently administered one thousand six hundred and thirty (1,630) MY World survey questionnaires to young Cameroonians from the towns of Limbe and Buea of the South West Region of Cameroon. The implementation of MY World survey questionnaires was part of the Building Bridges project that focuses on the priorities of young men and women at the grassroots level and their vision of the world in 2030 based on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.
The young people who participated in this exercise ranged from the ages of 15-35 years and represented the 10 regions of Cameroon. MY World survey questionnaires were administered in colleges, higher educational institutions, places of work, religious groups, associations, homes and the man on the streets. They were asked choose 6 out of 16 options based on what is of most interest to them and their families, the world they want.
The survey results were officially presented in a conference that was organized by Building Bridges (BB) and Educate a Child in Africa (ECA) in the University of Buea, Cameroon on the 9th of June. The first three aspects of the world young people in Cameroon want as portrayed by the results are quality education, better job opportunities, access to clean water and sanitation, better transport and roads, better health care and honest and responsive government.
Though some of these young people clearly doubted the possibility of their choices being directly implemented in their country, most of them were however very excited to learn that the United Nations was interested in the opinion of the world they want.
In general, the MY World survey in Cameroon was well responded to and the young people even raised personal concerns that were not listed among the sixteen articles which will would positively affect their livelihood.
As “We the Peoples” Data Playground World Tour kicks into high gear in preparation for the 70th UN General Assembly and the announcement of the post-2015 development agenda, we showcased peoples’ voices through cutting-edge technology at the Asia Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development 2015 (APFSD 2015) and the 71st Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
From May 25-29, 2015, the UN Millennium Campaign, in partnership with UNESCAP, UN Volunteers, UNDP, P&G, and Samsung, hosted an interactive Data Playground. Delegates from around the world explored the MY World data, participated in the special screening of the virtual reality film, Clouds of Sidra, reviewed the Humans of MY World (HOMY) photo exhibition, and were invited to join the Peoples’ Voices Challenge.
Diplomats, academics, ministers and delegates used Samsung touchscreen technology to disaggregate the MY World Dataset by region, country, gender, education levels, age groups and HDI and live data visualizations on the global, regional, and local post-2015 conversation on the World We Want were highlighted.
Out of the over 7.5 million people who have voted in the MY World survey, approximately 3.13 million people, or over 41%, are from the Asia-Pacific Region. Using data, policy makers were able to answer the question on everyone’s mind: what kind of world do Asians really want? They discovered in Asia that the top priorities are “A good education”, “Better healthcare”, and “An honest and responsive government”.
We believe that behind every MY World vote there’s a personal story that deserves to be told. That is why with the HOMY exhibition, we wanted to go one step further and look beyond the data to help policy makers understand WHY people have voted the way they have? What is the reason for choosing one priority above the other 15 priorities?
Sponsored by P&G, the beautiful HOMY exhibition featured MY World voters from different backgrounds. A woman from the transgender community in Manila, the Philippines spoke to policy makers through HOMY. She chose “Freedom from discrimination and persecution” as her top priority because she “wants a whole world without discrimination. Being different means being hurt. On the inside, and maybe the outside as well. I pray it won’t always be like that.” We had the distinct honor to present the HOMY exhibition to the Prime Minister of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Recently, we initiated a project to bring the world’s most pressing challenges home to decision makers and global citizens around the world through Virtual Reality (VR). VR allowed APFSD 2015 and Regional Commission delegatsd to meet a 12-year old Syrian girl named Sidra living in a refugee camp. Sidra took them on a tour of her new home, into her new classroom, and brought them to dinner with her family. As the first UN virtual reality documentary, we wanted to push the boundaries of empathy by bringing humanity to the front of the global development discussion. The VR film had a profound affect over her audience, one delegate said after watching that Clouds Over Sidra is the “most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life”.