Youth4Climate, an initiative led by UNDP and the government of Italy, aims to support long-term youth engagement in climate change actions. It provides opportunities for young people and youth leaders from around the world to voice their concerns, give recommendations, and propose solutions for tackling the climate crisis.
In the past months, the Youth4Climate initiative has benefited from the efforts of two Online Volunteers: Issakha Khouzeifi and Silvia Alfonsi. Over a period of four weeks, they supported the UNDP team by mentoring young people and helping them in preparing and improving their proposals in response to the Youth4climate call for solutions.
Collaborating with Online Volunteers has been a game-changer for our UNDP office in Rome. The Online Volunteering Programme's quick and efficient recruitment process connected us with two dedicated volunteers. Their support was instrumental in developing 107 project proposals within one month. --Valentina Calo, Partnership and Project Analyst with UNDP
Under the framework of the Youth4Climate call for solutions, young people put forward ideas and concrete proposals on the most pressing issues on the climate agenda. They had the opportunity to win invaluable mentorship and up to $20,000 USD for project implementation. The participants were welcome to submit proposals on one of the four thematic areas: Urban Sustainability, Food and Agriculture, Education and Energy.
Issakha and Silvia got involved in the project by applying to the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, which provides people worldwide with the opportunity to contribute to peace and development through volunteerism.
Issakha is a PhD student in Economic Growth and Sustainable Development and already has experience working for the UN system. He served as the UN Youth Section Coordinator for Chad and the UN1FY Chad country focal point.
Silvia holds a master's degree in International Relations and an International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance. She also has over twelve years of experience in project design and implementation.
Both volunteers were delighted to share their knowledge, expertise and skills to support young people. They helped the participants define milestones, draft work plans and set budgets for their proposals.
"I always had the desire to volunteer to advance the Sustainable Development Goals, and when I saw the assignment Mentoring of youth in the framework of the Youth4Climate Challenge, two factors pushed me to apply," says Silvia. "First, I had the time to commit, and second, I could utilize the skills I had acquired throughout my working life."
For Silvia, the cause of climate change is personal and significant. She has worked on projects in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Peru, and Haiti, and has witnessed firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change on communities.
Issakha and Silvia were proud to witness the active involvement of so many young people in addressing climate change issues. Many young people were taking local actions while striving to find solutions to global problems.
"Some of the ideas focused on making small changes with a big impact to reduce negative impact on the environment," explains Silvia. "They included initiatives such as sharing information on climate change within a community, and encouraging other sustainability efforts that can positively impact the local living conditions."
The two volunteers, along with their supervisor Valentina Calo, have fond memories of their service, which was organized quickly and easily through the Unified Volunteering Portal of UNV.
The added value of engaging with online volunteers lies in their passion and high-quality contributions, driving progress towards our social impact objectives. The Online Volunteering service is a good opportunity for any host entity to receive high quality and quick support from people who are interested in achieving a social impact. It's a win-win situation for our projects and the volunteers, who desire to make a difference. --Valentina Calo