Youth Ambassadors

Raising our voices from home: How Italian Youth Ambassadors spread awareness on SDGs

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Anna Frattaruolo, Sara Conte, Mattia Masili, and Daniele De Palma are ONE Youth Ambassadors in Italy.

Now in its fourth edition, the Festival dello Sviluppo Sostenibile is the largest Italian initiative to raise awareness and mobilise citizens, young generations, businesses, associations, and institutions to create a cultural and political change that will allow Italy to implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda and achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

This year Italian ONE activists Anna, Daniela, Daniele, Giulia, Ilaria, Mattia, Sara, and Silvia Anna decided to join forces and bring their contribution to the festival to spread awareness on global health, extreme poverty, inequalities, and access to education.

A global pandemic didn’t stop our Italian Youth Ambassadors from raising their voices on global challenges by organising three events and participating as guest speakers to a National Congress, being at home. Thanks to their efforts, their message reached more than 200 people all over Italy.

Here’s why and how they did it:

Anna, 24, Novara

While great efforts to reduce inequalities are being made, disparities are still affecting millions of people, and the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed their depth on an unprecedented scale, affecting mostly women and children, and making emerging economies even more vulnerable.

As Global Activists, we stand with the most vulnerable, whether they live across the street or across the ocean.

This is why Sara and I decided to participate to the Festival per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile,organising an online event in collaboration with the University of Bologna and its Green Office, to analyse the effects the pandemic has had on the progress towards the SDG 10, reducing inequalities within and among countries.

As Global Activists, we stand with the most vulnerable, whether they live across the street or across the ocean and raising awareness about these issues and SDGs within our local community is one of the ways to do it.

I hope that, in the next 10 years, the goal will be reached, ensuring that everyone can lead a healthy life full of opportunities, with equal access to education and health, and be represented, regardless of where they are born.

Sara, 21, Garbagnate Milanese

Youth Ambassador Anna and I participated as guest speakers in the XX Congresso Nazionale SIO (National Congress SIO), a scientific congress organised by Società Italiana Orientamento (Italian Orientation Society), the University of Parma, and the Larios Laboratory of the University of Padua. This year’s theme was “Culture and orientation: trajectories to defeat inequalities and prevent school and work exclusion.”

Anna and I delivered a speech on the importance of volunteering and activism for social inclusion and spoke about the activities we carry out as Youth Ambassador. We had the chance to present a survey that Italian Youth Ambassadors filled in on volunteering during the pandemic and we shared with the audience its key takeaways.

As Italian Youth Ambassadors, we did not stop for a moment to campaign and advocate for a fairer world, even during challenging times.

Our aim was to show how much we can grow from an educational and personal point of view by doing something good for our communities, in our immediate vicinity or advocating for global social changes. Moreover, thanks to the survey, we have seen that dedicating their time to ONE has helped Italian Youth Ambassadors to face this period of uncertainty. As Italian Youth Ambassadors, we did not stop for a moment to campaign and advocate for a fairer world, even during challenging times.

We sent an important message to the audience, based on the survey’s result: thanks to our experiences with ONE we can fight inequalities and at the same time learn new skills and grow from a personal and professional point of view.

Mattia, 25, Oristano

On October 1, Italian Youth Ambassadors Giulia, Daniela, Silvia Anna, and I held an online round table with the participation of two professors from the University of Cagliari, “Eradicare la povertà. Cambiamento delle policy e accesso ai fondi e alle risorse per lo sviluppo” (Poverty eradication. Change of policies and access to funding and resources for development). The event had a two-fold purpose: delving into two Sustainable Development Goals of the Agenda 2030, “No poverty” and “Clean water and sanitation” and pointing out different ways to act against inequalities.

This experience has given us the opportunity to better spread the values of equality and dignity and make them resonate with the Italian public.

As ONE Activists, we shed light on the main campaigns and advocacy actions we carried out throughout this year, such as the ONE World Campaign, further providing positive examples of previous campaigns. The two professors introduced instead MEDISS, a programme set in some North African and Middle Eastern States and that aims at reaching a fair allocation of water resources by granting local people an active role in the decision-making process.

Taking part in such a thrilling experience has given us the opportunity to better spread the values of equality and dignity and make them resonate with the Italian public. The virtual setting allowed us to do it both with our communities and online with a wider audience.

Daniele, 18, Bari

The event Daniela, Ilaria and I organised was named “Parola ai giovani: intervista doppia su SDG4 e dispersione scolastica” (Floor to the youth: double interview on SDG4 and educational dropouts). It was focused on the importance of quality education and the opportunities that schooling opens to the youth. It underlined the challenges of the sector, especially in the pandemic era, and how inequalities play a role in accessing learning opportunities, an obstacle that many have to face — albeit to different extents — in Africa as much as in Europe. This is why we have decided to present this topic together with Poliferie, an Italian association which enhances the potential of youth and educational systems in the outskirts of Italian cities.

I think ONE’s mission to eradicate extreme poverty is a moral duty to make sure everything is done to ensure a better future for all.

The choice to participate in the Festival per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile, felt very natural: as Youth Ambassadors, we wanted to share our messages with as many people as possible, and the Festival gave us the right opportunity to do it. I’m passionate about the SDGs because sustainable development is the only way to ensure a fair growth of our planet and the well-being of its people, and I think ONE’s mission to eradicate extreme poverty is a moral duty to make sure everything is done to ensure a better future for all.

I hope I will see in the next 10 years a more equal society where people are aware of different world’s realities and act in with one another, pressuring the governments, the public, and private sector to go the right way. And it should not be a matter of mere profit, but of fairness and solidarity.

Hopes for the future

Italian Youth Ambassadors hope with their actions and the ones of all the people involved in this common effort to see a change in the upcoming years towards an equal and sustainable world, where the place you live in does not determine whether you live, your living conditions and your opportunities to express your potential.

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