Being one of the most active organizations in Korea that works with over 3,000 volunteers annually doing various volunteering activities, Better World has recognized the positive impact youth bring to the communities from their participation in meaningfl volunteering projects.
One of the international events Better World recently participated in was the Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), which is the largest service event in the world. It mobilizes youth around the world for service projects to effect positive community change. As part of the project, Better World brought together a group of American youth studying Korean and the culture to one of the village called the Yangdong village in the historic city of Gyeongju that was designated as one of the eleven World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO in 2010.
After its designation, tourists would come into the village out of curiosity and would intrude the lives of the local villagers. These types of happenings had been creating much tension between the city and the local people that reside in the village. In addition, there were some local people that spoke out saying that the current existing introductory brochures and booklets about the village did not give accurate information about the village and had expressed some dissatisfaction.
In order to correctly represent the village to outsiders, the volunteers met with the head of the village to get an introduction of the village from an insider. A meeting session was also held with the current head of the Yi clan. Mr. Yi shared the importance of preserving the mentality of the village about the buildings and structures themselves. It was an important lesson learned as volunteers got to see how intrusive it is for tourists to flash cameras into someone’s home, for the village is not a museum but still a home to many.
From the interviews and site visits conducted, the volunteers made a poster about the village for tourists. Tasks were divided from drawing of important sites of the village to explaining about the mentality and history of the village. The time spent at the village was meaningful as the American volunteers who might not have had anything to do with the preservation of the Korean village took the initiative to get involved. With the Korean language skills they acquired, they interacted with the elders of a traditional village in the hope to make the living environment to the villagers more home than a mere tourist attraction.
La Voluntaria de las Naciones Unidas Vanessa Tarantini ha contribuido a la construcción y el reciente lanzamiento de una página web creada para conectar personas de bajos recursos a un contenido online sobre empleos, finanzas, salud, educación, derechos civiles y otras cuestiones pertinentes para todos los brasileños: el Infofácil Brasil (infofacilbrasil.com).
Infofácil es un portal electrónico comunitario que fue diseñado para ayudar a principiantes en Internet para que encuentren fácilmente informaciones que les ayudarán a integrarse mejor en la economía nacional.
Con el apoyo de la sociedad civil, este portal fue creado por la organización no gubernamental One Global Economy y por la empresa Cisco para mejorar las condiciones de vida en las comunidades más pobres. Infofácil es parte del proyecto global The Beehive (thebeehive.org) que ya está presente en 18 países de África, Europa, América del Norte, Asia y Oriente Medio.
La primera iniciativa conjunta de One Global Economy y Cisco en América del Sur, el sitio contó con la colaboración de organizaciones brasileñas y de voluntarios en el desarrollo del contenido local que trata temas únicos para el país, tales como los programas del gobierno, cuestiones de bienestar y de empleo local.
Para la definición de los temas que Infofácil Brasil debería tratar, se realizó un taller en agosto de 2011, donde participaron diversas organizaciones sociales. A partir de ahí surgieron varios temas locales en virtud de los temas principales seleccionados: dinero, educación, salud, empleo, agricultura, ciudadanía y derechos, tecnología de la información y medio ambiente.
Vanessa Tarantini es Voluntaria de las Naciones Unidas a partir de una asociación entre Cisco y la organización Aldeas Infantiles SOS. Ella actúa como coordinadora nacional del proyecto Infofácil en Brasil, siendo responsable de la articulación entre las organizaciones sociales, los estudiantes y los voluntarios que han participado en el proyecto. Entre los voluntarios involucrados, doce Voluntarios en línea de las Naciones Unidas escribieron varios artículos para el portal.
Mes expériences de Volontariat, était sous forme d'action que j'ai fait toute seul c'est j’étais pas membre d'association, c’était des visites a un Hôpital des enfants atteint de concert, aussi un Orphelinat.
En fait, Je vois si quelqu'un veut faire quelque chose d'utile dans sa vie c'est faire du bénévolat, si chacun de nous fait au moins une action entant que volontaire chaque mois, le mot "Guerre" vas disparaître parce que la paix commence de nos coeur, et le bénévolat et un indice de Bien être et d'aimer au autre ce qu'on aime pour nous même, J’espère être bénévole toute ma vie et je vais jamais ressentir du regret de faire ces actions nobles .
My name is David Serrano, I am a 26 year US Navy Veteran. For the last 11 years of my life I have been researching and studying the world we live in. I have lived in extreme poverty, homelessness, abandonment, mal-nutrition, which can only lead a young boy into certain struggle. The environment to live in these conditions are usually riddled with crime and black market influence. Our education system was flawed, so they diagnosed us with ADD and ADHD. Our food and water was poisoned with chemicals and pesticides, they diagnosed us with dozens of illnesses. We continuously sabotage our health and well being by building against the laws of nature, relying on fossil fuels, treating our healthcare system as a money making machine vice the healing force it is suppose to be, neglecting our children and their education, hindering their ability to be functional men and women in society and family. We are setting are selves up for our own demise as a civilization here on earth.
We all have been tasked as guardians of these lands and as such I have come to a very enlightening conclusion.
As human beings we are all as natural as the trees we claim to protect. If our consciousness as a whole shifted into human health prioritization the inevitable will happen, we will begin questioning the effects everything we build around us have on us, what we drink, breathe, what we eat, and how we live. I have asked those questions and have found in my heart the same thing we all know to be true. We need to transform the system around us to service communities, the people. Studying and teaching the essence of permaculture, having a more holistic approach to healing vice medicating, preventive medicine, making fresh food available through innovative urban gardening, education reform to put the focus back into preparing us for success in our health, finances, career, and lives. We as adults in this world have a responsibility to educate our youth, as it is their responsibility to inherit the earth we leave behind. I urge all who are participating in this summit to consider our great task as the only true important mission here on Earth. That is, to live in harmony with each other and nature. My prayers and thoughts are with you all. David
Je suis inscrit depuis avril 2011 je suis prêt a tous pour accompagner les bénévoles dans votre souhait. de la part de papa ndene diouf depuis sénégal
C'est un grand plaisir pour moi, ancien Vnu malgache, de participer à la Conférence des Nations Unies sur le développement durable 'Rio+20' au Brésil aux fins de partager mes expériences VNU vécues au Burkina Faso.
Au Burkina Faso, j'ai constaté que rien ne sépare les malgaches avec les gens des autres nationalités (y compris les burkinabés) que par la limite et l'éloignement géographiques. Je peux vous avouer que les burkinabés sont un peuple très exceptionnel. Ils sont très accueillants et du moment où vous avez foulé leur sol pour la première fois, vous avez déjà ce sentiment de sérénité et vous n'êtes pas du tout dépaysé. "D'après leur philosophie, les étrangers sont considérés comme des frères et sœurs car ils sont loin de leur pays, de leur famille et c'est notre devoir le plus absolu (nous, les burkinabés) de les accueillir, de les défendre comme ils faut, comme il se doit jusqu'à leur départ définitif de notre territoire".
J'ai gardé de très meilleurs souvenirs car cette sérénité au départ m'a aidé beaucoup durant les 03 ans que j'y ai passés pour l'accomplissement de mon contrat.
Et j'aimerais y renouveler encore ces expériences plein de partages, d'échanges et de relations humaines (j'y étais professeur de comptabilité) car à mon avis cette situation confirme bien l'adage bien connu: diversité de don, complémentarité et unicité. Et je peux vous dire que ce premier contact avec l'extérieur m'a aidé énormément et aussi, changé mon état d'esprit que tous les hommes sont égaux et que cette discrimination de nationalité et de couleur de la peau doive être bannie pour toujours de cette planète. Je loue beaucoup l'Expérience VNU et je prône pour sa pérennité dans les années à venir car cette Expérience renforce davantage le rapprochement des gens du monde entier pour une meilleure survie de l'humanité focalisée surtout sur un modèle de développement rapide et durable pour toutes les nations. Pierre Silvère RAZAFINDRATSIMBAHARINORO
Tél. +261 32 04 395 20
Courtesy of International Trade Center
Hi, my name is Leonardo Fernandes, I am Brazilian, with an Engineer background. I used to work for multinational companies in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. I am now, as of 2011, working as a United Nations (UN) Volunteer for the International Trade Centre (ITC).
The International Trade Centre is a UN-based organization which aims to foster sustainable development via “Export Impact for Good” through its 100% Aide for Trade related agenda. I have found my-self being engaged at the fore-front of ITC’s sustainable actions, last year. I work for one of its newly launched project called Trade for Sustainable Development, an initiative that includes the development of a web based tool called Standards Map. The newest tool brings information on private and voluntary sustainability standards.
Leonardo, could you please tell us why you are interested in sustainable development? Well I was only an infant when the notion of Sustainable Development was coined in the late 1980s, under the harbinger report "Our Common Future" prepared by the Brundtland Commission, I now find myself, many years later, turning this concept into action working as a United Nations Volunteer for the ITC. Why have you decided to work as a UNV for ITC? This initiative is very interesting as it is a clear demonstration that the subject "international trade" is also a tool for environmental preservation and is being discussed in major international conferences such as Rio+20. Do you think that providing information on voluntary standards is important? Over the past years, voluntary standards and other private standards and codes of conduct have experienced unprecedented growth. As these standards have been booming in certain markets, Brazilian producers and exporters often lack information when considering whether and how to engage into more sustainable production and trade practices. My main task is to implement and disseminate information about voluntary standards in the Brazilian value chain. How does this web based tool, standards Map, help Brazilian stakeholders? The newest tool developed, Standards Map (which is currently available for free on the address www.standardsmap.org), brings together various international standards for comparison and analysis in various productive sectors, aside from providing a range of materials for consultation on issues related to sustainability and standards systems, such as academic dissertations, bibliographies and other papers in the area. Do you believe that these voluntary standards are a good thing or a bad thing for the Brazilian economy? These standards, commonly regarded as "non-tariff barriers" (NTBs) to exports from developing countries, voluntary guide local producers to promote more sustainable agricultural or manufacturing practices in their properties, preserving both the environment around them and the social quality of its own employees. So what could be potential benefits accruing from these standards Leonardo? The acquisition of international certifications and customizing their productions to common international quality standards provides for different producers the access of new consumer markets, for the reason that they previously demonstrate the quality of their products through the acquisition of standards and "green labels" . This project Standards Map of ITC is in itself an initiative completely impartial, never judging or prioritizing standards, since the ITC has in its constitution the same basic and ethical principles of its largest organization, the United Nations. Leonardo, what are your expectations from RIO+20? While I do not speak as an employee of the United Nations, but rather as a citizen of an emerging and rapidly rising economy such as Brazil, as a consumer that can no longer inactively accept the destruction of our environment, the absence of labor regulations and the lack of information about products and supply chains, closing the eyes to inequalities between countries production only in search of lower prices, which benefit few and hurt many others. I wish quality products consumed daily, a competitive market, away from protectionist measures, and above all, the accurate knowledge of what has been consumed and produced, always having in mind one guiding principle, sustainability and the development of productive agents involved. I'm sure the Rio+20 will be a success because it is open to discuss and hear dissenting voices, seeking for a larger and international goal, the planet's sustainable development. I am sure also that the project run by ITC, Standards Map will and does make a difference.
In February and March 2012, over 1,000 people from 20 countries on 5 contrients volunteered their time to take part in the global workshop campaign "Pyramid 2012" designed to raise awareness about sustainability thinking, collaboration, and action. This campaign, organized by the AtKisson Group, generated dozens of policy proposals, recommendations, and even new commitments to pursue local projects.
The campaign and its results are now being released in a new report "Building The Future We Want," timed to support the United Nations “Rio+20” global summit on sustainable development.
You can download the full 14-page report and find more information at the Pyramid 2012 website:
You can also read our 2-page press release below giving more information on the campaign and the report. Enjoy!
“Global Workshop Campaign" Sows Seeds of Action for Sustainability Around the World
The AtKisson Group released today a new report detailing the results of a “global workshop campaign” designed to raise awareness about sustainability thinking, collaboration, and action. The voluntary initiative, called “Pyramid 2012,” was timed to support the United Nations “Rio+20” global summit on sustainable development. More than one thousand people in over 20 countries participated in the Pyramid 2012 campaign during February and March 2012, generating dozens of policy proposals, recommendations, and new commitments to pursue local projects.
Pyramid 2012 engaged at least 65 groups in 20 countries — including,for example, city planners in Germany, small farmers in Colombia, water specialists in southern Africa, graduate students in Iceland, and many others — in one-day workshops based on the AtKisson “Building the Pyramid” group learning and planning tool. A simplified version of this tool, “Pyramid Lite,” was made freely available on the Internet. Volunteers who signed up to organize a workshop in their area using Pyramid Lite were asked to report on their results.
The Pyramid 2012 global report, Building the Future We Want, summarizes these results, as well as the key messages that emerged from the workshops. Cristina Apetrei, the campaign’s coordinator, noted that “there seems to be a shared understanding around the world that many actions, taken at the local level, can add up to the global transformation we call sustainable development. People do want to get active, and they really can make a difference.”
Specific results from the 65 documented Pyramid 2012 workshops included:
* A campus clean-up and waste reduction program for a college in Zimbabwe
* Plans to create new bicycle parking areas for a university in Gdansk, Poland
* An initiative to raise awareness about the plight of sea turtles in Trinidad and Tobago
* An action program supporting peasant farmers in Colombia to manage scarce water resources
Inspiring Volunteers International, Inc.
1. HOW IT STARTED
• In the year 2008, Gideon Duodu Ebbah who was then a third year undergraduate student at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana returned from an internship in Berlin, Germany with an idea to form a Volunteering Organization that would assist in solving the various problems and challenges facing the Ghanaian communities – especially the less privileged and very poor ones – and the Africa continent at large. His Vision was motivated by how he saw the Germans applied volunteering principles in majority of their services to enhance sustainable development. This idea was ably supported by Matthew Kofi-Ackah Erzoah who was also in the same year at KNUST and on the 9th of September, 2009, this noble organization was founded on the campus of KNUST with the initial name Achievers International Movement (AIM) as group of students to be involved in Volunteering activities. Meck Ebba-Mesu, who was by then graduate of University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana never hesitated in giving intellectual and material support to AIM though he was not on KNUST campus. The association then saw tremendous active participation in its volunteering activities where within a year, over one hundred and twenty students had been registered with the association and participated in its activities. After over one year of successful service, the association was legally registered with the government of Ghana as an official NGO with the new name Inspiring Volunteers International (“Inspiring Volunteers”) and Meck Ebba Mesu appointed as General Manager by the Executive Directors - Gideon Duodu Ebbah and Matthew Kofi-Ackah Erzoah (Deputy)- to expand the volunteer activities on a national scale. 2. WHAT WE STAND FOR
We are committed to contributing to emergency and development support, and volunteerism in the global community. Our vision is a world where overall environmental sustainability is achieved, global poverty is alleviated and human development is appreciated in the global community, with priority to volunteering. And our mission is to tackle crucial social issues hindering the development of people and communities especially in the underdeveloped and developing countries by developing sustainable strategies, embarking on professional, developmental, environmental sustainability and poverty- alleviation projects. Partnering organizations and promoting innovation in order to promote education, peace and development in our dear communities is our main concern.
3. JOURNEY SO FAR: Volunteer Activities Performed or Projects undertaken since 09/09/2009 1) Donation and Clean-up Exercise at Ejisu Government Hospital
We organized a clean-up exercise and donated items such fruits, fruit drinks, biscuits and others to the Ejisu Government Hospital on the 14th of November, 2009. It was the first clean-up of its kind to be done by any organization on the hospital’s premises. This donation came from the pockets of our volunteers with no external support received. The hospital is one of the hospitals serving a lot of rural communities especially the poor ones in the Ashanti region of Ghana and this was our major reason for undertaking this activity in this particular hospital. Our volunteers who were 30 in number for the programme swept and scrubbed the floors, removed cobwebs and mopped the floors. Patients in bed were visited and gift items were afterward presented to the patients and staff of the hospital. This drew the attention of the media and our activity was aired on many FM stations in Kumasi such as Kessben FM, Love FM, Fox FM, etc. and the Ghanaian Times newspaper publicized our work in its 10th December, 2009 edition.
2) Pupils Mentorship Programme at Bomso JHS
On the 9th of April 2010, the organization successfully organized a mentorship programme at the Bomso JHS to educate and inspire the BECE (Basic Education Certificate Examination) candidates as they prepared to write their examination held on19th to 23rd April, 2010. The pupils were also coached on how to take the right step in the right direction at the right time in their lives in order to be successful in the lives they are living. About 120 pupils were mentored. The programme was successful and much appreciated by the staff and students of the school.
3) Volunteers Training and Grooming
Volunteers were trained at our meeting times and were enhanced in developing volunteer programmes and projects. Successful and active volunteers were given Certificates at the end of their volunteering period in order to compliment their hard work and noble service.
4) Community Forums
As part of our volunteer commitment to strengthening democratic and decentralized governance through civil involvement by widening the decision-making base to ensure greater participation in the development process at community, sub-district and district levels, we have been organizing community forums geared at promoting local democratic debate through extensive community dialogues on relevant developmental topics affecting the local people. An example of our community forums is the recent one organized at Sureso and Oda Kontoamso Communities where there was a dialogue on how Capitation Grants are utilized in the Public Primary School. 1) Radio Discussion programme
As a way of reaching out to larger population and communities, we engage in radio discussions as a way of broadening our community forums and extending our subjects to greater population. For instance, the Velvet Beam 95.1 FM at Asankrangwa, the capital town of the Wassa Amenfi West District in the Western Region has been our station of holding radio discussions over the years. 5) CHALLENGES Our major challenge since we begun operation has been lack of funds and external support in terms of Donors and Philanthropists for the organization, to enhance the motivation of our volunteers and activities of the organization.
I am Hazel Cayenne, I am a Trinidadian. by birth. My country is similar in population to the country East Timor, where I worked as a United Nations Volunteer #122438 three times around. We, like Timor have a population of just approximately one million three hundred thousand people.
I was selected in 1999 to assist in the Popular Consultation in East Timor and with the help of the United Nations Timorese people were given the opportunity to be able to go to the polls after being ruled by the Indonesians who occupied their land for so long.
I worked in a wonderful little village called Manufahi. The people showed such great humility even though conditions were poor; their warm greetings of “Bon Dias Missy” really moved me. I remembered one morning in July of ’99 it was really very cold and I looked out the window from the home where I stayed with my team leader, I was totally mesmerized by what I saw, there was this family of about eleven people all stooping in the yard around a wood fire huddled together just trying to absorb the warmth to their frail bodies, as I was told that around that time of the year is the coldest period. I was really moved as that certainly brought back memories at Christmas time in my country.
I felt honored to assist in the registering of all those legible to vote and admired the way they turned up with documents even though some came without but was wise enough to bring someone as a witness, also many of them were unable to read or write; ‘voter education’ was the key to decision making for the people of East Timor. I, like my team leader made sure everything was in keeping with the rule of law, being very transparent, making sure the process was carried out in a free and fair manner so that the people were able to exercise their rights on “D DAY.”
The Indonesian Malitias were outraged by the outcome of the referendum which brought on the unrest. I received calls after I returned home to my country in 1999 from some UN volunteers who updated me on the happenings. I was told all documents were destroyed and many buildings were burnt flat to the ground, I was devastated by the sad news I received.
I was extremely anxious when I was selected to return in 2000 to Timor; but I was really moved to tears when I got there and saw the devastation, while I learnt some of them ran to the hills for safety, many lives were lost. I was called upon to assist in the registering of the entire population in preparation for new elections. It was a challenge but just knowing I was able to assist in the development and rebuilding of a country that prayed and fought for freedom, made me feel a sense of pride, as a Volunteer. The people came out in their numbers and for this I highly commend their passion for freedom and being able to have the desire to want to run their own country.
Once more in 2007 I was selected to do my civic duty as a UN Volunteer in Timor also there was another uprising in 2006, one well known grocery “Hello Mister” was burnt flat, I was saddened by what I saw because jobs were so scarce when I left in 2001. I felt somewhat elated though when I saw some young Timorese boys and girls working so diligently trying to make an honest living, also in 2007 I saw a brighter future ahead for the children whereby they were all attending schools and those who had reached secondary education being given the opportunity to attend the University in Dili. Jobs were being made possible by the assistance of International Intervention which helped to boost the economy for a better East Timor.
In summing up I can attest that Timor Leste is a beautiful country with a beautiful people, there’s one thing I do hope would be addressed for the people in the rural areas like Manufahi where I was deployed in 1999, that equality for all be shown so that the people can experience a better way of life for their families, especially in education and job creation which would definitely pave the way for greater productivity.
I can definitely say that volunteering is the key towards the achievement of sustainable development in countries like Timor Leste that look forward to ongoing support from us. Working along with communities and different organizations allow you to see what is being done for the future and from what I have experienced, I am assured that democracy is alive and well in that country.