This is a letter written by Aakash Shah, Founder and President of Action for Pune Development, and Global Youth Advocate for MY World 2015 and World We Want 2015. He is striving to collect a million votes in Pune, India.
It is an honor to work as a Global Youth Advocate for My World 2015, and the ‘World We Want’ platform. As a Global Youth Advocate, I focus on involving people from different areas of society, as well as other initiatives to help mobilise and strengthen the campaign. I have collaborated with Radio Channels, Technical Book Publishers, over 50 schools, hospitals, Private Sectors, NGO’s etc. to promote the campaign and to collect votes.
There are over 50 MY World 2015 Youth Ambassadors around the world who help promote awareness about the importance of this campaign. In order to better explain each priority in the ‘MY WORLD 2015’ survey, we are organising various events in public areas that have to do with specific priorities in order to maximize the interest and understanding of each priority. For example, we organised a book donation camp to help people further understand the priority of ‘a good education’. We had various people donate books which we then gave to the needy & under-privileged. Similarly, we organised a Tree Plantation Drive on World Environment Day to support the priority of ‘Protecting Forest, Rivers and Ocean’.
Ravi Karkara (UN), Miguel Ángel Mancera (Mayor of Mexico City), María Fernanda Olvera, (Director of INJUVE DF) with youth ambassadors during the Launch of MY World in Mexico City
10 June, 2014 – Mexico City
The Government and the Institute of Youth (INJUVE DF) of the City of Mexico formally announced that they have accepted the challenge of gathering a million MY World votes. MY World is the United Nations global survey which asks citizens to choose their top six out of sixteen priorities that would improve their quality of life.
The initiative was launched by the Head of Government of the Federal District of Mexico, Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa, as he kicked off the survey that the three thousand youth ambassadors of INJUVE DF will be carrying out in the country’s capital. Mr. Mancera emphasized that the young citizens of the capital are agents of change, and that they will be collecting the same amount of votes in a period of three months – June, July, and August – as entire countries which have taken years to do the same. “We are committed to examining the needs, challenges and how we can improve the lives of youth in the capital.”
La Ciudad de México asume el reto internacional de aplicar un millón de encuestas con el formato My World, desarrollado por la Organización de Naciones Unidas para conocer la opinión de las personas en relación a su calidad de vida y cómo mejorarla, informó el Jefe de Gobierno del Distrito Federal, Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, al poner en marcha la consulta que realizarán más de 3 mil jóvenes del Instituto de la Juventud (Injuve DF) en la capital del país.
Acompañado del abogado defensor de los derechos humanos y asesor de ONU Hábitat y de la Campaña del Milenio, Ravi Karkara, el Ejecutivo local enfatizó que las juventudes capitalinas son un motor de cambio, que en esta ocasión incidirán en el plano global al recabar las encuestas en tres meses –junio, julio y agosto- mientras que a países enteros les tomó años el mismo ejercicio.
Indicó que para apoyar el entusiasmo, el compromiso y aspiraciones de los capitalinos entre 14 y 29 años, el Gobierno de la Ciudad de México desarrolló la Ley de la Juventudes, que otorga certeza jurídica a los derechos conquistados para este sector de la población.
Last year, Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development of Sri Lanka, Dulles Alahapperuma pledged up to 1 million votes in the MY World Survey. Currently, Sri Lanka tops the MY World Survey country list with 488593 votes, and more are gathered every week. As such, they are responsible for 23.1% of the total votes casted on the MY World Survey. In an unprecedented move, almost 100% of all the votes have been cast by young people between the ages 16 and 30. Sri Lanka’s commitment to the MY World survey and empowering youth culminated at the World Conference on Youth where many activities were planned to further promote the survey.
Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, Corinne Woods, via twitter said that she is “amazed by the Sri Lankan governments mobilization of youth for My World 2015.”
The top six priorities are reflected by youth in Sri Lanka thus far are “A good education,” “Better healthcare,” “An honest and responsive government,” “Access to clean water and santiation,” “Affordable and nutritious food,” and “Protection against crime and violence.”
The UN in Nepal has teamed up with Yuwalaya, a youth led NGO that has been organizing advocacy events on post-2015 agenda at various schools and universities in Kathmandu as well as working with volunteers to collect offline ballots throughout Nepal. To support the MY World Global Week of Action 5-11 May, Yuwalaya organized several student workshops. Yuwalaya and the youth organizations they worked with set the goal of reaching a total 20,000 votes for Nepal.
This post was compiled and edited based on original blog and facebook entries by Yuwalaya and co-founder, Mr. Sanjog Thakuri, who has been actively involved in collecting the voices of children, adolescents and youth in the post-2015 development agenda process and in supporting the My World initiative in Nepal.
The UN in Nepal has teamed up with Yuwalaya, a youth led NGO that has been organizing advocacy events on the post-2015 agenda at various schools and universities in Kathmandu as well as working with volunteers to collect offline ballots throughout Nepal. To support the MY World Global Week of Action 5-11 May, Yuwalaya organized several student workshops.
According to Nepal’s 2011 Census, there are roughly 9.2 million children aged 0-14 who make up 35% of the total population, and 7.36 million youth aged 15-29 who are 27.82% of the total population. When the Global Week of Action began, there were roughly 13,000 votes from Nepal on the MY World Survey. Yuwalaya and the youth organizations they worked with have set the goal of reaching a total of 20,000 votes in Nepal.
To support the Global Week of Action, Yuwalaya organized three workshops in participation with colleges and youth organizations. In each session, Mr. Thakuri began by explaining the Millennium Development Goals and presenting the various ways that youth can participate and get involved in the development of the future post-2015 agendas, including via the MY World Global Week of Action. He stressed the importance of youth having a voice in global issues, especially since many were not aware of the impact the global development agenda will have on their lives. He shared the present statistics and priorities of people from Nepal based on My World data. The youth and adolescent participants agreed to mobilize their communities to collect more votes.
The World Organization of the Scouts Movement (WOSM) has been a strong partner of the MY World global vote movement since its launch.
Given the reach of the 40 million active Scouts, their unique contact with youth and communities, and their mission – to educate young people, and empower them to develop to their full potential and contribute to a better world — WOSM is perfectly positioned to collect the voice and votes of young people and communities.
In show of solidarity Secretary General, Scott Teare officially announced his support of the MY World initiative by posting a blog on WOSM’s website. Linking it to the Scout’s commitment to making an impact on achieving the MDGs, he further encouraged the Scouts to get involved:
We should continue to have a strong presence and voice in our communities today and in deciding for our tomorrow. I call upon everyone to take 30 seconds to vote on My World and have a say in what our future development goals should be.
To further show support of the partnership, WOSM combined the blue UN and purple Scout branding and hosted it on their social media outlets: facebook & twitter.
As of 7 May, Scouts from around the world have contributed in thousands (both offline and online), several of whom have joined hands with the local UN offices and other partners so their actual total number of respondents is difficult to calculate. However, it is significant to note that the Boy Scouts of the Philippines alone have contributed 9786 votes, the majority of which are boys 15 and under. These numbers are expected to increase following the Global Vote Day on 8 May and as the initiative continues. The Organization recently created its own unique partner ID, which you can follow here: http://data.myworld2015.org/?partner=scouts.
During the month of October children without parental care from SOS Children’s Villages in Uruguay have being answering the MY World Survey. Capacity buildings sessions and awareness activities were carried out in three different cities (Montevideo, Salto, Florida), to engage and sensitize children on post 2015 related issues. Thanks to the Plan Ceibal, a government initiative for which all children enrolled in public schools own a laptop, children were able to participate directly from their personal laptop and eventually promote the initiative through social networks. This very enriching and revealing experience was documented in a short video were children express clearly and simply their priorities for the world they want. Above all, children call for free and quality education, a world with no violence and where people have good and safe jobs.
Volunteers engaged young people in Azerbaijan in an open conversation about their priorities for the post-2015 development agenda.
BAKU, October 2013 – “If I had a chance to be born again, I would choose to be born nowhere else but in my village. I don’t want to move to the city, I just want to be able to get everything I need as a young person in my village,” said 19-year-old Firuza Guliyeva from the remote rural area in Gedebey during the National Youth Consultations held in Shirvan, Azerbaijan. For young people to be heard and considered during decision making came up as one of the most salient themes during the national consultation process in Azerbaijan – part of the ongoing global conversations being led by the UN and world leaders to build a collective vision of a new post-2015 development framework. Continue reading “Every opinion counts”
BANGKOK–Sitting in a plastic chair in a cold quiet room, Nok isn’t eager to share her story. She’s reserved, quiet, and often leans on the shoulder of her friends.
Like many of the young girls at Rajvithi Home for Girls in Bangkok, they come from traumatic backgrounds—domestic violence at home, orphaned at birth, or innocent victims of their parent’s divorce.
“My parents divorced when I was young and I didn’t get along with my new mom,” Nok said. She’s been at home for just year after transferring from another home in Isan.
With tears welling up around her deep brown eyes, reveals that she wanted to stay with her mother, but her father refused. Now around 12, she doesn’t know where her birth mother is.
Now her home now is here. Her teachers often take the role of mothers, and she is looked after by her peers, and in turn looks after children younger than her.
On a Sunday morning, Procter and Gamble and the United Nations in Thailand paid a visit to Rajvithi Home for Girls and spoke to more than 300 girls about the importance of sharing their voices and their concerns. Using the MY World Global Survey, more than 200 students and volunteers cast their votes—each with a reason—all with different stories.
“The United Nations is committed to empowering women and girls in Thailand and around the world. The voices of these young women are a critical part of our efforts to reach out to as many people as we can during this very important campaign,” said Mark S. Cogan, UNDP Communications and Media Officer and MY World National Campaign Director in Thailand.
The Rajvithi Home for Girls is home to more than 350 girls aged 5 through 18. Many grow up there, are schooled there, and are allowed to stay through their undergraduate university studies.
But it’s a long road for these young women.
“Many of them have learning disabilities, behavioral problems, or have medical ailments like anemia, which can be caused by malnutrition at birth,” said Ms. Patchara Klangsathorn, Child Psychologist.
Yet these girls find strength through each other and within themselves.
I’ve never met my real parents,” said Pam, who has been at Rajvithi since kindergarten.
“I take care of myself and I take care of others. I listen to the teachers (parents). I’ll change myself that way and focus on my education.”
Education topped her list of MY World priorities, along with healthcare and equality for women.
Ms. Patchara was eager to teach the children the importance of voting on the MY World Global Survey.
“Education is important, especially to teach the children about the dangers of domestic violence. It’s also important for us to have a good government, because we always need to raise awareness about the importance of schools like this that have learning disabilities,” she said.