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An international jury representing a wide range of expertise in volunteerism and development (community, human & environmental) selected five teams of online volunteers to received the Online Volunteering Award from UN Volunteers, which coordinates onlinevolunteering.org (formerly NetAid). You can select your favourite among these five at this UNV online volunteer blog.
The award winners you can vote for (see the aforementioned blog for more full descriptions of the work done by online volunteers):
Lulu Ileho Poultry Group TeamZuzana FilipovaIleho Division is a rural area in western Kenya, on the eastern edge of the Kakamega Forest. The women in Ileho are traditionally dependent on their husbands’ incomes, most of which derive from agriculture. Taking the popular “merry-go-round” practice – where women meet at regular intervals to take turns in supporting each other – one step further, a group of women decided to take up income-generating activities to improve their livelihood and support their community. In October 2015, they registered the Ileho Poultry Group with the Kenyan government, and in December 2016 posted a call for volunteers via the UNV Online Volunteering service. They asked for online volunteers to guide the organization on developing an agricultural project.
Simuka Africa Youth Association TeamBianca DayritFounded in 2006, the Simuka Africa Youth Association works to promote the realization of young people’s rights and alleviate poverty in the communities of Norton, a town located 40 km west of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. One of the organization’s priorities is to intervene on the issue of child marriage, which is most prevalent in poor, rural communities. According to UNICEF, 32% of the brides in Zimbabwe enter marriage before their 18th birthday. In its efforts to support the local community, the Simuka Africa Youth Association launched a campaign to fundraise and assist vulnerable girls and households with food, education and mentorship. It set up a team of UN Online Volunteers to develop and run the campaign.
The International Paralympic Committee TeamKeon RichardsonThe International Paralympic Committee (IPC) organizes the Paralympic Games for athletes with a range of disabilities. It also acts as the International Federation for ten sports, enabling Para athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire the world. For the IPC, UN Online Volunteer Keon Richardson has passionately advocated for blind football on social media – with top engagement figures.
The Red Elephant Foundation TeamAlka Mann, Luqman Mani, Prathyusha MunjuluriGender-based violence is prevalent in every region of the world and knows no social, economic or national boundaries. To improve access to help and support services globally, the India-based NGO The Red Elephant Foundation has launched Saahas / The GBV Help Map, for survivors as well as bystanders of gender-based violence. The app, which features information and directories of verified services across 196 countries, was coded by the NGO’s founder Kirthi Jayakumar.
UNICEF Global Innovation Centre Team Anamaria Cabrera Rodriguez, Emmanuelle Grandaud, Loïc Druenne, Lorena Belenky, Nouriatou Ntieche, Paula Alejandra Ballesteros Campos In September last year, three powerful hurricanes hit the Caribbean, causing numerous casualties and widespread devastation across the region. To prepare the affected populations, UNICEF launched its boldest social media messaging Disaster Risk Reduction exercise to date, and partnered with Facebook, Viber and teams of UN Online Volunteers to get life-saving messages out to the communities living in Hurricane Irma’s path. Using its U-Report messaging platform – originally developed to send polls and alerts to young people– UNICEF uploaded pre-approved emergency preparedness advice, offering important information on how to prepare for the hurricane.
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
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