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


A team composed by an international UN Youth Volunteer (Benjamin Frowein, from Germany) and a national UN Volunteer (Jonasson David, from Haiti) is carrying out advocacy activities on post-2015 and volunteerism for development, in close collaboration with UNV Haiti and other UN entities in the country.

In 2013, together with the UNV Field Unit in Haiti, the post-2015 UN Volunteers partnered with Haitian VIOs and with other UN agencies to reach out to rural areas and to marginalized people, to engage them and collect their views on development through the MY World survey. They met thousands Haitian among the internally displaced persons (IDPs) still living in camps and those at risk of HIV/AIDS, gathering to be tested. In 2014, they targeted youth, visiting several schools across the country.

2013 Haiti IOM 10707613245 aa980c8d20 oIn cooperation with the COHAIV (Coalition Haitienne de Volontaires), Benjamin and Jonasson organized in 2013 two major MY World voting sessions, one in several IDP camps in Port-au-Prince and another throughout the country on the Caribbean HIV Testing Day, in which approximately 2,700 people voted. The first major obstacle to address was how to communicate. Jonasson took the initiative to translate the ballot into Haitian Creole. Nevertheless, the global development agenda is a rather difficult and abstract topic to convey in a context where the majority of the population cannot read or write.
The offline roll-out allowed discussing the issues in the ballot face-to-face, listening to people's grievances and ideas. In spite of the difficulties, in a single day of action more than 900 ballots were collected among five departments (West, Artibonite, North, South East and Nippes). Through this coordinated effort, volunteers collected 90 per cent of the votes from the whole country, showing their ability to actively involve people at the community level to address their own development challenges.
Read the story in the MY World blog with the words of the volunteers

201405 Haiti GWA DSCN1196In 2014, during the MY World Global Week of Action, Benjamin and Jonasson trained more local partner VIOs on the offline roll-out of MY World and also directly conducted interviews with high school students (15+ years old). MY World was an opportunity to raise awareness among the students about the MDGs and the post-2015 agenda, engaging them in thinking ahead on how they see Haiti in 2030. During these visits, over 1000 students voted for MY World. Read how Benjamin tells his experience (in French)

Results from votes collected by UN Volunteers and partners are featured in a dedicated post-2015 chapter of the Haiti MDG report 2013, released in June 2014. Full report (in French)

National post-2015 consultations did not take place in Haiti. UNV Haiti decided to nevertheless consult some stakeholders to discuss the post-2015 development agenda and MY World and organized a workshop with the Haitian Volunteer Coalition (COHAIV), a network of about 100 VIOs.

UNDP-HT-HaitiRapportOMD2013 20140611 pdf thumb 319 319Along with UNV Haiti, Jonasson contributed to the Haiti MDG report 2013 by providing in particular information on the role of volunteers in supporting the achievement of development outcomes and on the results of the MY World survey.

The report acknowledges the importance and relevance of including volunteerism in development, and features best practices of local volunteer-involving organizations that contributed to MDG achievements in the country. A dedicated post-2015 chapter illustrates MY World development priorities according to the votes from Haiti. Read the full report (in French)

 MG 1791 web p 180Jonasson also shared his experience at a UNV side event to the 2nd meeting of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, held on 3 July 2014 in New York. The event focused on "Volunteer Action Counts for Sustainable Development: How to strengthen accountability of the post-2015 framework through citizen engagement". "People's engagement is key to trigger long-term change", said Jonasson.