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Monday, 26 June 2017

The Impact ASEAN: Youth Volunteering Innovation Challenge 2017

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) co-hosted the conference entitled South-South Exchange on Youth Volunteering for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Sharing Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and Other Approaches from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Countries in Bangkok, Thailand, from 20-23 June. The South-South Exchange and the Youth Volunteering Innovation Challenge (YVIC) are recent efforts that focuses on the value and need for volunteerism in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

The event was an important milestone in creating a platform for peer learning, innovation sharing and partnership-building around volunteerism, especially among youths, in ASEAN countries. Focusing on the value of youth volunteering, participants from across the region shared experiences and knowledge of the value of volunteerism to the global sustainable development agenda.

Through discussions and a field visit to nearby SEP project sites, conference participants learned the importance of building strong multi-stakeholder partnerships that are focused on local needs coupled to effective volunteer infrastructures that are responsive to local ASEAN communities.

In line with this endeavor, 29 young volunteer innovators from ten teams across ASEAN participated in the YVIC 2017. The competition is part of the collaborative effort by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the ASEAN Foundation, the ASEAN Secretariat, SAP, with the close support of the Government of Germany. The YVIC 2017 supports young volunteers throughout the ASEAN region in their journey to catalyze youth-led innovation for social impact and sustainable development. The theme, “Impact ASEAN”, gave them an opportunity to pitch their ideas and scale up their programmes leveraging volunteerism to achieve the SDGs.

Photo Credits: UNV 2017

Three finalists, Ecofun (Indonesia), Nino Nina Co (Philippines) and Tune Map (Indonesia), were awarded mentorship and financial support for their projects.

  • Ecofun Indonesia is a youth-led social enterprise that focus on environmental education and science communication. The team developed Ecofunopoly, an environmental board game, to raise greater awareness.
  • NinoNina Co works with urban poor communities skilled in sewing services. NinoNina Co connects these communities to the growing market of SMEs and corporations using the fabric products made.
  • Tune Map is a mobile platform to crowd-source information and navigate the visually impaired. It allows volunteers to report inaccessible pavements within the city which is then used to safely navigate the visually-impaired through voice and vibration features.

Through these efforts, the ASEAN region benefits by deepening capacity-building resources targeted at youths, building strong working ties between communities and various public-private partnerships, as well as engendering a stronger ASEAN identity in the region.