Making every vote count in India
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.