Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in addressing development challenges

Ecuador

In Ecuador 3,674 people participated in 75 Post-2015 National Consultations in 15 provinces out of 24. In addition, more than 3,000 people voted in the virtual questionnaire "My World". UN Ecuador realized these consultations with special focus on people who had not been properly included in past development debates such as: Afro-Descendants, Children, Indigenous Groups, LGBT community, Migrants, Persons with Disabilities, Women, and Youth. Diverse methodologies were utilized in order to make the consultations inclusive and to raise awareness among participants about their concerns and needs. This process had the decisive support of the National Government through various instances including the Vice Presidency, and several autonomous governments. Furthermore the process involved civil society actors, unions, members of the Armed Forces, officials, academics and the private sector. Moreover, youth volunteers mobilized and trained by UNV Ecuador have participated as facilitator in various occasions.

Pueblos Indigenas OrellanaSeveral events took place around the consultation process. One of the most outstanding was the presentation of the final report on the results of the national consultations in Ecuador. The event took place in Quito on 18th of September 2013 under the auspices of the Vice Presidency of Ecuador, various ministries and governmental agencies and the System of United Nations Ecuador.

The event began with an introduction and a statement about the national consultation process held by the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Ecuador, Diego Zorrilla. Afterwards, various representatives of the corresponding government institutions held speeches. They exposed the decisive significance of the consultations and explained the role of the government for future development processes. Also, a short video was shown about the consultations with indigenous people from the Amazon region.

Then a group of participants of the consultation process stated their demands and wishes and concerns regarding the future development agenda: Betty Veliz Mina represented the afro-descendent community in the coast region, Jani Begay and Galo Tapuy came from the indigenous community in the northern frontier. Rita Parraga represented the association of blind people, Sandra Lopez from the NGO Women of Cuenca raised awareness on the concerns of Ecuadorian women and eventually. Efrain Soria gave a statement on what concerns the LGBT community in Ecuador. They all pointed out the importance of the consultations but also asked for a further common effort to meet the needs of the people in Ecuador.
Another event on the Post 2015 National Consultation process took place the 19th of September in the FLACSO ("Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Sede Ecuador"): it was a seminar of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Several speakers were represented, amongst them the mayor of the city of Quito, Augusto Barrera, the secretary-general of the FLACSO, Adrián Bonilla, the Chief of Staff One UN Post 2015 Secretariat, René Mauricio Valdéz. The following topics were discussed: Presentation of the Report by the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda; Inclusion, equality and multi-dimensions of poverty; Sustainable development and climate change; Inclusive growth and sustainable patterns of work; Transparent, accountable and effective institutions; A New Global Partnership. All those topics were considered with specific focus on Latin America.

national reportAccording to the final report on the post 2015 National Consultations of UN Ecuador, quality education for all, quality, integral and intercultural health care, and access to a decent and dignified work were the most frequent priorities. It is important to note that volunteerism, as a way of civic participation, and dialogue were considered important for the integration of Ecuador, a culturally and ethnically diverse society. A number of consultations with different social groups demonstrated that the exclusion of some social groups is considered as one of the obstacles to development, and Ecuadorian people want "systematic and permanent civic participation" and an "inclusive and comprehensive political model".

The direct consultation was complemented by a worldwide virtual tool, the survey "My World 2015". Through this mechanism, the UN system seeks to capture the voices, priorities and vision of the population to provide inputs to world leaders working on the definition of goals and objectives of global development. The survey consists of a single question, which raises 16 issues considered important in the lives of people and communities. The respondent is asked to prioritize six of them. To see the actual results of the MY World survey in Ecuador go here

An impression of a MY World event:
"La lucha continua (in English: The fight continues)" - chants the lead singer of "KOP", a hardcore punk band from Spain. It is cloudy and misty here at the old airport of Quito. Some thousand young people from Quito, but also other parts of Ecuador and even Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Venezuela have come together at the weekend of 10th and 11th of August to celebrate the largest alternative music festival in Ecuador – a great setting to carry out a My World survey!
It is Sunday and strikingly almost the entire general public wears black clothes and long Rapunzel hair; it is the day of Heavy Metal, Hardcore and Punk, it is the day of "Ente", "Hirax", "Boargazm", "Distemia" and "Nix", amongst others. But it is also our day, the day of "My World 2015". We want to know from teenagers, children and parents "What is most important for you and your family?"
A short explanation about the questionnaire "MY World" is sufficient to win the interest of the young headbangers for that topic as well. We endow them with ball pens and the small "My World" paper questionnaire and give some indications how the questionnaire has to be filled in. After completing the questionnaire we ask some of our participants to write their most essential desire for the future, for the society, for their families and themselves in one or two words only on a cardboard in order to take pictures for a photo collage: "better education", "respect", "confidence", "environmental city", "gender equality" and so forth – the list is long, the desires are manifold, but they are all similar in one point: the values and virtues that a society, which is striving for peace, equality and freedom, stands for – even though our "clients" on this day look a bit dark, gothic and dismal.
The youngest participant of the questionnaire is not older than seven years and just learned how to write, the oldest participants cannot read well anymore, therefore we read out loud the sixteen different development priorities from the list of the "My World" questionnaire. Some of them state that everything from the list is important. However, we tell them that they have to select the six most important priorities for them.
At Sunday evening we leave the location with more than 500 questionnaires in our pockets – a success for us, but – much more important – the "sound of Quitofest 2013" will be heard in the global conversation about what really matters, what really is important for hard rocking teenagers, children and grownups.

From 14th to 16th October, UNV Ecuador will participate in VI Regional Conference on Volunteerism organized by International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE). Volunteers from Latin America and Caribbean will gather to share their experiences in the event. In addition, the youth will have special program for network building, debates, and workshops. Lena Priesemann (UNV Youth Volunteer for post 2015) and Akiko Nojiri (International UNV, programme Assistant for UNV Ecuador) will present the results of MY WORLD survey, and invite people to vote by off-line survey.
UNV Ecuador considers the opinions of volunteers very important and has carried out Post 2015 National Consultation events for them. Their vision and needs have special value because volunteers are those who are taking actions in order to mark difference in the future.

Social media engagement for the “1000 days of MDGs” Momentum campaign

- Research on youth organizations in Bangladesh was finished by online volunteers/ now UNV FU has a list of youth led or youth focused organizations in Bangladesh

YV  works with the International Volunteer Sending Agencies, as the office takes forward some of its programme work related to youth research and stories, with UN Communications Group in terms of working across agencies and again moving forward the youth/volunteerism agenda and then also assisting in some of the aspects related to the UNV Work Plans for Bangladesh

- Several meetings with IVSAs in Bangladesh concerning cooperation in different projects

UNV Bangladesh Newsletter

YV participated in Lessons Learnt Workshop with the Bangladesh Scouts, organized by Early Recovery Facilities (ERF) with support of UNV in Jessore

YV started the process of collecting stories for the MDG stories

Meeting with IVSA members at the beginning of July 2013

UNV Bangladesh Newsletter – supported by Lukas Fiechter: design and editing of the first newsletter of UNVBGD

NC participated in Lessons Learnt Workshop on disaster management, organized by Early Recovery Facilities (ERF) with support of UNV, report has been produced, one Swiss UNV Youth volunteer is assigned to the project

NC has started the process of collecting stories for the ‘MDG stories’

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