Online Volunteering Award 2015
- Association des Agriculteurs Professionels du Cameroun Team
- Fundación de Comunidades Vulnerables de Colombia Team
- Hunger Reduction International Team
- Seeds Theatre Group Team
- UN Women Team
Since June 2014, more than 100 UN Online Volunteers have been collaborating with Agriculteurs Professionels du Cameroun (AGRIPO), a community-led innovative rural development programme operating in the village of Tayap, situated in the rainforest of the Congo basin of central Cameroon. Faced with progressive destruction of natural habitats and biodiversity as well as growing scarcity of agricultural land, Tayap’s 254 inhabitants, most of whom are farmers, recognized the need to change their practices in order to preserve their environment and the village land. In 2010, AGRIPO was created and piloted an innovative rural development programme using agroecology, eco-tourism and gender sensitive funding to preserve the biodiversity and develop alternative and sustainable sources of income.
UN Online Volunteers have been an unparalleled professional asset to the Fundación de Comunidades Vulnerables de Colombia (FUNCOVULC), a non-profit organization committed to the identification and comprehensive care of individuals suffering from Huntington Disease and other Rare Diseases in Colombia. Overwhelmed by inexplicable degenerative symptoms and confronted with economic and social exclusion, individuals affected by any of these life-threatening or chronically debilitating diseases fail to obtain timely and accurate diagnoses, and are too often denied access to medical care. Since 2011, when FUNCOVULC identified a relatively high population with Huntington Disease living in extreme poverty in the municipality of Ariguani, the Foundation has been working to safeguard the right to health and access to health care of these peoples. By virtue of the collaboration with 85 UN Online Volunteers, the 6-member grassroots Foundation was able to develop and implement five different projects, mostly with local families as direct beneficiaries.
Hunger Reduction International (HRI) is a Somalian relief and humanitarian development organization established in 2011, working in partnership with local communities to alleviate the impact of hunger on the lives of poor and vulnerable individuals. Prerna Bakshi became an online volunteer for HRI in 2013, when the organization was still in an incipient stage, struggling to establish itself and attain its developmental goals despite the instability and volatility of the region. The online collaboration had a profound impact not only on the organization’s internal capacity building, partnership growth and visibility increase, it also changed radically the course of Prerna´s ambitions, and opened new academic avenues. When she took on her fist online volunteering assignment with HRI, Prerna was a young management student planning to pursue a career in a business dominated industry. By the time she completed her latest assignment, her collaboration with HRI had played a major role in her admission to the University of Oxford for a Master’s in International Development.
The traditional belief in sorcery is used to justify violence against women in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Inhumane treatment of innocent women accused of sorcery is common in rural parts of the island as sorcery is thought to account for unexplained deaths or misfortunes in a family or village. For more than 12 years, Seeds Performing Arts Theatre Group has been using theatre drama to raise awareness on issues affecting the local rural population, including violence against women. The performances constitute an effective way to inspire and implement social change, as the plays’ content is based on the local needs and culture. Opening up to digital media to increase outreach, Seeds teamed up with a group of online volunteers to develop a screenplay for a video about the specific gender-based violence associated with witch hunting.
Three UN Online Volunteers substantially contributed to the conceptualization and implementation of “I am (wo)man”, a digital media campaign run by UN Women calling on individuals worldwide to share personal stories about women’s economic empowerment. The UN Women Knowledge Gateway for Women's Economic Empowerment is an engagement and collaborative hub, connecting women and men from the private sector, civil society, academia, governments and international organizations to take action for women empowerment online and offline. Since 2013, it invites UN Online Volunteers to become Global Champions and use their expertise, skills, and knowledge to promote women’s economic empowerment.
(Photos | Sign leading to Tayap village: AGRIPO; Red and white campaign flyer: FUNCOVULC; Poster promoting food security and gender equality: Hunger Reduction International; Poster for the Women NOT Witches campaign: Seeds Theatre Group; Woman at construction site: Ilya Marotta/UN Women)