Advocating for Youth Volunteerism and Post-2015 in Bhutan
18 June 2014, Thimphu - Around 40 participants representing government, civil society, academia, media, UN staff and different volunteer organizations gathered at the UN House. The meeting was a platform to exchange ideas on how youth volunteerism can influence the formulation and implementation of the Post-2015 development agenda for Bhutan.
Participants agreed that to strengthen the impact of youth volunteerism, organizations need to have continuity and strategic planning to best catalyze the creativity and energy of young volunteers. Collaboration and sharing of knowledge between volunteer involving organizations (VIOs) was seen as another crucial factor for success, either through online or offline channels.
In general, capacity building of VIOs, especially youth groups, was called for: besides further information on the Post-2015 process, particularly networking and advocacy, communication and leadership skills, volunteer management and ethics of volunteerism were potential topics to be explored.
“Volunteerism is a means to engage people in tackling development challenges and creating solutions that suit the needs at the grassroots level. When youth volunteers participate in the formulation and implementation of the global development goals, they are also shaping their own future. On the individual level, youth volunteers can develop their own skills and feel more connected to the local community”, explains Riikka Suhonen, UN Volunteer working in Bhutan as the Post-2015 National Coordinator.
The MY World United Nations global survey was conducted in schools and colleges across Bhutan to raise discussions on issues related to local and global development. It also explored possibilities of young people to create solutions to these problems as volunteers. During May 2014, nearly 2000 additional MY World votes were collected through events, workshops and individual volunteer efforts across the country.
This event ended the campaign “Advocating for Youth Volunteerism and Post-2015 in Bhutan”, supported by UNDP Bhutan in cooperation with United Nations Volunteers (UNV), Tarayana Foundation and the Royal University of Bhutan. The aim was to engage more Bhutanese youth in the ongoing Post-2015 process that will define future global development priorities after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015. The campaign reached out to seven educational institutions in Central and Eastern Bhutan, with 470 young student volunteers taking part in workshops on volunteerism, United Nations and Post-2015 development agenda.
Results of the MY World global survey listed good education, better healthcare and job opportunities topping the results from Bhutan, with majority of respondents in the age group of 16-30 years. The full results are available at: http://data.myworld2015.org/?country=Bhutan