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Learning for the Millennium - UNV brings MDGs into Brazil’s schools

09 August 2004

Sao Paolo, Brazil: Starting today, Brazilian schoolchildren will have a new addition to their vocabulary – MDG.

Through an initiative supported by the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme, UNDP, UNESCO, and Faça Parte, Brazil’s volunteer institute, information kits on volunteerism and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of measurable goals and targets for combating hunger, poverty, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women - are being distributed to 20,000 schools and 5,000 state and municipal education secretariats in the country.

The 8 Ways To Change the World kit will provide teachers with an overview of the MDGs and posters emphasizing each goal to demonstrate to students the importance of voluntary action in achieving the MDGs.

UN Volunteer Suzanne Locke, the campaign’s coordinator, says schools are also encouraged to involve students in youth-oriented volunteer programs that focus on one or more of the MDGs. “By participating in this campaign, students will have the opportunity to increase their self-esteem and understand the importance of good citizenship as a means to positively impact their day-to-day lives.”

She says the kit’s organizers strongly believe its impact will go well beyond the immediate. “They will also be able to learn skills that can be used later in life such as how to work in a team environment, and how to implement projects with limited resources.”

The kit – the first of its kind in Brazil to pair volunteerism with the MDGs – is expected to have a substantial impact on mobilizing efforts to meet the MDGs.

“Young people’s participation in volunteerism focusing on the MDGs will be fundamental in helping Brazil achieve these objectives,” says Lucien Munoz, UNDP’s Resident Representative in Brazil. “It is this group that constitutes a social capital capable of promoting transformations with renewed ideas and enormous energy.”

Organizers also hope that by targeting youth, momentum will build within other sectors of society and translate into a broader understanding of the energy and commitment needed to realize Brazil’s commitment to the MDGs.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this campaign and understand the importance of volunteerism in achieving the MDGs,” says Milú Villela, President of Faça Parte. “We consider youth volunteer programs a strategy for social development in Brazil, and focusing efforts on the MDGs will accelerate the development process.”

The launch also coincides with the country’s first national week for Solidarity and Good Citizenship. Various events and activities are scheduled to take place aimed at promoting the MDGs in a simplified but effective manner.

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)