By Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo, Global Youth Advocate for MY World 2015
In the summer of 2014, The Red Elephant Foundation supported our request to start a call for volunteers to join our efforts in the implementation of the United Nations Global Survey for a Better World MY World 2015. Over a year later, results show that we managed to gather up to 500 volunteers from more than 100 countries through the United Nations Volunteers Online Service (UNV).
Our strategy was very simple: mobilize youth through online platforms to reach out directly into the digitally disconnected, illiterate and poorest communities into the global debate about the Post‐2015 Development Agenda. After an online training, which considered the story behind the MDGs and the SDGs, we requested volunteers to talk to their family members, colleagues and friends. Once they completed this step, we asked them to engage in offline voting among civilians of their respective countries.
Volunteers were able to position gender equality as the top priority among voters, as this was the main focus of our campaign. At the end of the day, they were able to collect the voices of nearly 5,000 people. The way they engaged voters was through sharing statistics on women’s role in development and the economy globally, as well as challenges they face including violence and discrimination. We all had the same conviction: leave no one behind, especially women and girls.
Volunteers worked in various stages and with different resources. Many of them printed out dozens of voting ballots and interviewed hundreds of people. They visually documented the process, which contributed to our social media strategy to increase participation. Volunteers have been working on the project for 12 months so far and continue to register votes and create awareness on the importance of the SDGs at the local level.
During the entire process we exchanged information, questions ,and comments, which also led to the creation of other projects on gender equality and development through other platforms. In addition, we benefited from other technological tools to be in constant communication as well as to get to know each other better. We truly developed as an international team ,which led remarkable efforts, distinguishing ourselves for our professionalism, constant work, respect, multiculturalism, and ability to work for a common goal: to make mankind participate in consultations for the construction of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and advocate for gender equality.
The overall process has gone beyond our expectations and we have learned incredible lessons. First, I would highlight the unique role that youth have played in this process. Hundreds of young people around decided that this was for them and did everything possible to make their communities become involved in a legitimate, open and transparent process.
Secondly, I am left with the conviction that the new global Agenda for 2030 has unrivaled support from millions of people who decided it was time to get involved, monitor, and work hand-in-hand with governments to achieve new goals to improve the lives of all and preserve our planet.
This exercise will mark all of us for life, all the images, all the stories, all the memories, collaboration, interest, energy and teamwork will be guidelines that will path our work in favor of human rights and dignity. I really do appreciate this opportunity has come to me and has, albeit on a small scale, helped to improve someone’s life.
Thank you UNV! Thank you UNMC! And thank you volunteers! We did it!