Online Volunteers supported the activities of United Nations Development Programme's Accelerator Labs and created a dataset of 250 desk notes on cooling solutions.
Online Volunteers supported the activities of United Nations Development Programme's Accelerator Labs and created a dataset of 250 desk notes on cooling solutions.

Online Volunteers create cool climate solutions

Pauline Rukani, Isaac Koomson and Rabia Demirci are Online Volunteers engaged through United Nations Volunteers to support the activities of United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Accelerator Labs (AccLab).

Understanding how climate change affects cities is crucial for finding sustainable cooling solutions with minimal energy consumption and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This is an area of focus for the UNDP AccLab in North Macedonia — centered on innovation and collective intelligence.

Pauline Rukani has a background in development studies and environment and energy management. She emphasizes the importance of developing sustainable cooling solutions and shares, “I am a climate change advocate and I strive to find solutions to combat the negative impacts of climate change. Efficient, affordable, and sustainable cooling can help alleviate poverty, reduce food loss, improve health, manage energy demand, and combat climate change in developing countries.”

Isaac Koomson has an expertise in Geography and Rural Development. He says, “I volunteered because I found it responsible to use my academic and professional knowledge to solve global environmental problems.” 

Over a span of two weeks, Pauline and Isaac mapped and documented sustainable cooling solutions designed by other cities, as well as communities, to include citizen’s perspectives. These included policy measures, infrastructure design, and architectural and technological approaches adaptable to North Macedonian context.

As an Environmental Management Representative, Rabia Demirci, another Online Volunteer focused on verifying and categorizing data collected by Pauline and Isaac in a comprehensive approach.

After Pauline, Isaac and Rabia’s collective efforts, AccLab created a dataset of 250 desk notes on cooling solutions such as misting pedestals, earth-sheltered homes, and glass facade systems. The dataset creation inspires others to follow suit.

Ardita Zekiri, Head of Solutions Mapping at the AccLab and her team engaged with Online Volunteers with diverse language skills. Furthermore, the collaboration laid the groundwork for more products at AccLab.

The outcome of these online collaborations has been evaluated as successful towards our aims and objectives. We were able to manage the work effectively online, resulting in the creation of an impressive database that contributed to the further development of our ideas. This work also laid the foundation for a couple of products that we were able to develop in our initiative.” Ardita Zekiri, the Head of Solutions Mapping at UNDP AccLab.

For Pauline and Isaac, Online Volunteering helped them discover new solutions to similar community challenges.

Echoing similar views, Rabia shares, “I was able to expand my knowledge in environment and energy through the research I carried out for this assignment. I also gained technical and cultural information through the research.”

The United Nations estimates that 68 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. In turn, these areas could become heat islands — where temperatures are far higher than those in natural landscapes due to highly absorbed and re-emitted sun heat. 

The AccLab plays an important part in the transformation of North Macedonia’s infrastructure for more inclusive and green economic growth improving the lives of the most vulnerable populations.

In 2023, there were more than 14,000 posted requests for Online Volunteers by UN partners, governments and civil society organizations worldwide.

To find out more about UNV Online Volunteering service, please click here