The UN Millennium Campaign and the UN Kosovo Team are hosting a #PeoplesVoices exhibit featuring virtual reality movies and a Humans of MY World photo exhibition at Dokufest, from August 8th to 14th by the stone bridge from 12-2pm & 4-8pm. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the world’s most pressing challenges firsthand by watching two virtual reality movies: “Clouds Over Sidra” which allows the viewer to step into the life of a 12-year old Syrian girl named Sidra living in a refugee camp and “Waves of Grace”, which captures a young woman named Decontee’s struggle for life amid an Ebola epidemic in Liberia.
The United Nations Millennium Campaign screened a sneak preview of their latest Virtual Reality film, Waves of Grace on Friday 10 July at the United Nations. Its premier was planned in conjunction with the United Nations Secretary-General’s International Ebola Recovery Conference, hosted to ensure affected countries receive the support they need to end the epidemic and continue countries on the path to recovery. Waves of Grace follows a young woman’s struggle for life amid the Ebola epidemic. The movie is the result of collaboration between the UN Millennium Campaign, Vrse.works and Vice Media, and was created to call attention to the obstacles faced by Ebola survivors. The movie transports viewers to West Point, Liberia and follows the experience of Decontee Davis, an Ebola survivor who uses her immunity to help others affected by the disease. The VR experience captures the Liberian tragedy from illness to recovery, mourning to perseverance. It is part of a larger initiative of the United Nations Millennium Campaign to fight donor fatigue on the world’s most pressing challenges.
“Development achievements can be quickly reversed due to crises such as the Ebola epidemic” said Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign. “If the world does not focus on helping the most vulnerable and building resiliency in recovering communities, development goals and targets will not be met. Thus it is hoped that this film may aid the United Nations’ efforts to draw attention to the lasting impact of the Ebola crisis, as well as the need for continued support for those affected by the disease.”
“The Ebola crisis has captivated the world in its devastating effects over the last year and a half. However, the individual stories behind the numbers are often not told. Decontee’s story captures the strife and spirit of the communities across West Africa in the wake of the Ebola epidemic. It is hoped that this second VR experience will promote greater understanding of the socio-economic impact of the disease and empathy for those who continue to overcome it.” said Gabo Arora, co-creator of the film and Senior Advisor for the UN Millennium Campaign.
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.
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”.