In October 2020, the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme signed a global partnership agreement to strengthen their efforts on youth volunteering, especially at grassroots levels. The partners aim to promote inclusive, impactful volunteerism and highlight volunteer contributions towards delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UNV’s partnership with the Scouts provides an opportunity to promote youth volunteering through joint advocacy events and sharing of research on youth volunteering. It also provides opportunities to engage youth volunteers in high-level fora and collaborate on an enabling environment for youth volunteering.
In Sri Lanka, the Scout Association collaborated with UNV on the Global Cultural Jamboree. This event provided participants with a memorable educational and life-changing experience through interaction with scouts from different countries, and showcased Sri Lanka. Due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held virtually in July 2021, with more than one hundred National Scout Organizations and over 20,000 Scouts.
We appreciate the active involvement of UNV and other UN partners in the recently concluded Global Cultural Jamboree by Sri Lanka Scouts, which had a record 23,949 registered participants from over 100 countries. --Mr Janaprith Fernando Deputy Chief Commissioner and M.F.S. Muheed Special Commissioner, Sri Lanka Scout Association
Mr Janaprith continued, "the Sri Lanka Scout Association has been associated with the United Nations Volunteers for over a decade and is actively involved in activities organized by UNV. Our Scouts had the opportunity to participate in several programs offered by UNV. We were also given a seat in the Steering Committee for the V-Awards and have assisted in their organization. We hope to continue our active participation in future programmes."
The partnership between the World Organization of the Scout Movement and UNV can amplify our efforts to promote youth volunteering through joint initiatives such as the Global Cultural Jamboree. This was a unique opportunity to engage young volunteers with enormous potential to make a difference within their communities. We look forward to future opportunities to collaborate and work together to create an enabling environment for Scouts as youth leaders to contribute to SDG acceleration efforts in Sri Lanka and achieve the 2030 Agenda – through volunteering. --Ms Sharmalee Jayasinghe, Country Coordinator, UNV in Sri Lanka
Global Cultural Jamboree and Community Volunteer Centres
UNV conducted seven knowledge-sharing sessions to discuss the SDGs against the Better World Framework of the Scouts, a portfolio of world initiatives addressing four thematic areas focusing on global issues and trends affecting young people and communities in the next 10 years.
The sessions were hosted in collaboration with partner UN entities, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Women. The organizations shared their expertise and hands-on experience, inspiring the young participants to engage in innovative action towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.
UNV also hosted two sessions on basic knowledge on the SDGs, Volunteering in the Decade of Action and the Community Volunteer Centres (CVC). Powered by UNV, the CVC is a model for building mutual partnerships with multiple community stakeholders for SDG acceleration, enabling volunteers to utilize their knowledge and experience to tackle the real problems faced by their communities.
UN Volunteers moderated and lead the sessions, sharing the insights and experience gained through their assignments. As young individuals equipped with practical skills, these volunteers inspired the young scouts to lead by example towards a more sustainable future.
For example, during session 4 on Diversity, Inclusion and Peace, UN Volunteer Kasunjith Satanarachchi shared his experience contributing towards disability and inclusion at UNDP.
People-first language is essential for inclusion. Using people-first language is a practice that reflects knowledge and respect for people with disabilities by choosing words that recognize the person first as the primary reference, not their disability. --Kasunjith Satanarachchi, UN Volunteer with UNDP, Sri Lanka
Combined efforts emphasizing the importance of youth engagement in sustainable development
With a viewership of over 42,000, the Scouts actively engaged in promoting social cohesion and fostering dialogue on the importance of youth empowerment throughout all the sessions. The post-event survey indicated that more than 80 per cent of the participants believe they have a better understanding of the SDGs from the sessions, and 88 per cent of the participants responded that volunteering is important to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
All sessions of the Global Cultural Jamboree 2021 can be viewed at these links:
- Session 1 Volunteering in the Decade of Action - UNV and CurveUP
- Session 2 Wellbeing and Sustainable Consumption – WHO and UNV (SDGs 3 and 12)
- Session 3 Climate Change – UNDP and UNV (SDG 13)
- Session 4 Diversity, Inclusion and Peace – UNDP and UNV (SDGs 10 and 16)
- Session 5 Understanding Gender Equality – UN Women and UNV (SDG 5)
- Session 6 Bridging the Digital Divide in Education – UNICEF and UNV (SDG 4)
- Session 7 Introducing Service Learning Scholar and Community Volunteer Centers – UNV and CurveUP