COVID-19 is undeniaby the most unexpected, unprecedented enemy that we have not anticipated in our lifetime. This pandemic already caused a lot of dreams to shatter, lives lost, economies to be disrupted and our sense of normalcy be altered to the way we were not used to be doing. With all other issues compounding each passing day, it seems like our narratives will take on a diferent turn as we move forward into what we call “the new normal” where a lot of people are still adjusting, coping and adapting. These tying times have impacted our lives one way or the other, each sphere of society being tossed from something into nothing, and from the grandest to mere simplicity. COVID-19 surely opened our eyes to the reality of fleeting moments that made us realize we should be spending our time on worthwhile activities and must not take things for granted. Most importantly, we should not only focus on our personal lives but also devote a parcel of our time to a much greater purpose – and that is to be part of the rebuilding efforts necessary for keeping our communites back to their feet.
There’s a saying that goes, “No man is an island.” Surely, no one is truly at his/her own orbit especially in the middle of this pressing issue of COVID-19. We are seeing the best and worst of humanity – from people helping each other, donating their share, doing their part in the community, and also others who are manipulating our current situation to advance their personal interests/agenda. Of course, we don’t want to be part of the latter scheme and these difficult moments we share must be our way of establishing the “greater good” within ourselves. As long as we collectively address the social ills and challenges brought by the pandemic, we will come back stronger than ever.
That’s why for its 75th Anniversary, international non-govenrment organization United Nations embarked on a bold journey to ensure that we will shape our futures together because right now, all we need is the compact solidarity of helping each other cope with the pandemic. UN believes that when we discuss the issues we face and establish a collective dialogue, we are building an effective line of communication that transcends borders, sectors and limitations. We might be dealing with the difficulties of mobility restrictions but this does not hinder the goal of United Nations to unite voices from all over the globe in making this endeavor possible.
In January 2020, United Nations has already launched a global conversation where voices from different sectors were collated. Partnerships with the youth, civil societies, government, NGO’s, business and media organizations, etc. were secured in order to be more inclusive and participative in this global action. Online engagement and virtual dialogue became a new thing for the advocates and staunch planners, emphasizing the power of digital space in translating their vision into action, and that these efforts will be put to an innovative way of engaging the audience.
It has become vital that our voices be heard because these will be our keys to reach world leaders in capacitating them to take action and address the issues that are complexingly takong toll on our lives. These conversations will be our stepping stones to slowly and gradually take actions even in our smallest ways, inspiring programs that can benefit lots of people and communities, change oppressive policies and structures, and take on the global outcomes that we plan to achieve.
Based on the global survey conducted by United Nations, the most immediate priority action for most respondents is improved access to basic services such as healthcare, safe water, sanitation and education followed by a greater solidarity and increased support for those who are hardest hit. Other priority actions would be the increasing concern on climate change, respect for human rights, settling conflicts, tackling poverty and reducing corruption. These issues give us a larger lens to look at when considering development and rebuilding efforts and we must make sure that we will ground the decisions made by world leaders to these key areas. That’s why a total of 87% from the respondents who took the survey believes that international cooperation is a vital component of addressing the challenges we face at the present.
In line with UN’s 75th Anniversary take on Global Conversations, the organization also launched the “Future Possibilities 2020”, wherein it features plans, trends and possibilities which can be impactful in gaining back our capacity to thrive as a multi-faceted society and to set footing in our transition to the new normal. It seeks to tackle the possible ways and means we can spring back to life and rethink our ways of growth and sustainability. Future Possibilities 2020 proposes these transformational trends as drivers of possibilities:
The Exabyte Economy: Hyperconnected devices, data and people
Almost all our activities have now taken the digital space in order to continue and thrive. As technology takes on advancement each day, future now resides in the power of digital connectivity to unite people. Data and Artificial Intelligence are the trends we will embark on and this can deliver possibilities for economic growth and sustainability.
The Wellbeing Economy: Redefining Health
Considering that we faced a global health crisis, priorities for physical and mental health wil be more embedded in our goal to commit in an invigorating lifestyle. Preventive health, self-improvement, coaching, organisational and educational programs, could be the new trends/areas of emphasis for this economy.
The Net Zero Economy: Scalable low-carbon solutions
Targets to reduce carbon footprint and energy consumption can be the trend as we embark on innovation in technologies such as batteries, electric vehicles, energy –efficent buldings, etc.
The Circular Economy: Waste not, want not
Reducing wastes and conserving our resources are another line of expected economies to surge in the future as recylcling and upcycling will be more mainstream, and that optimizing resources using technological solutions will become a key factor to open possibilities.
The BioGrowth Economy: New agriculture and biomaterials
Though it may sound low profile, this sector is still expected to thrive as there is a rapid progress on scientific studies such as plant science, synthetic biology and other biotechnologies that will redefine agricultural scene and can lead to substantial alternatives for our crops and biodegradable materials.
The Experience Economy: From ownership to usership
Personalization rather than mere consumption will be a thing for the future. Customizing products, experience tourism and virtual reality will become more and more well known as more sectors will bring these from high-end markets to mass markets where it can be more affordable.
Given these transformational trends and economies, UN shares the following transformational policies to drive change:
Government Vision – As the pioneer institution to create and implement laws, policies and other legislations, government must spearhead providing direction and creatively strategize in order to strengthen efforts of stakeholders
Advanced Technology – New ideas and innovations will take place as we go onboard with the digital era and keeping in touch with the advent of technological improvements.
Innovation – Investment in basic and applied sciences, research institutions and creative economies will become a major key player of growth
Talent – To provide a touch on soft skills, labour market will attract those outside talent and education that focuses on these essential competencies
Business Friendliness – It must unite us in terms of upholding the rule of law, absence of corruption, access to finance, trust, and social capital and making a stable and relibale environment for businesses.
Market Dynamics – There should be an oppotunity to continuously invest with prime consideration on market size, growth rate, trade and connectivity.
Where Can we Situate Ourselves as Stakeholders to Leverage these Possibilites?
As key stakeholders, we can play a crucial and important role in making these trends and expectations possible. Volunteerism is an investment of its own, devoting our time, skills, efforts and talent to different causes and campaigns. It has become more relevant now more than ever, since a lot of these key trends and possibilities are anchored on collaboration, innovation, partnership, communication and continuous improvement which are all honed through volunteering.
Volunteer Even on the Comfort of our Homes
Access to information and reach became a drop of a second now that connectivity is the promise of future, that’s why in order to take on volunteer projects that we feel are essential for rebuilding our communities, then let’s utilize the digital space to look upon these causes and organizations that offer volunteer opportunities. In this way, we can be our own movers of change and trailblazers of good influence even if we are remotely volunteering or offering our resources, time and skills inside our homes. Let’s take a move in maximizing the multitude of actions we can take to be part of certain causes. Never ever let the restrictions on mobility hinder the fire of our willingness to help and offer inspiration to other people.
Establish Connections/Partnerships/Collaborations through Volunteerism
Not only we are helping certain communities and populations but we can also find potential partners, donors, funders and co-advocates that will further propel the promise of the projects and campaigns we are taking part of. Stronger ties with different institutions and organizations will definitely boost the impact that your own organization can ever reach. So while we enjoy volunteering as a worthwhile endeavor, let’s also take time to appreciate the connections we are able to build as we foster these ties for a common and greater good.
Take Volunteerism as a Catalyst for Personal and Social Growth
Little did we know, we are growing on a different level when we reach out and extend our hands to other people. Some usually testify that they find the purpose of their lives when they are able to help, and that gives them an internal sense of fulillment and satisfaction that is irreplaceable. So who says that volunteering is a tedious actvity? Imagine your growth on areas such as interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, communication, facilitation, management and leadership, and other essential life competencies which are vital for future trends and economies that we will be creating. Make the most out of every volunteer experience and absorb each lifelong lesson and skills that you are able to acquire from those life -changing moments.
There will never be a dificult task when we come together in addressing these issues- what more on our fundamental goal of rebuilding efforts and bringing back communities to their lifeline amidst the present threats of COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s remember that there is no good deed left for just nothing, and that our small contributions will recreate the future that we all aim to build.
To know more about Ivolunteer Philippines and Treasure Volunteer, you can visit www.ivolunteer.com.ph and sign up for your planned volunteer opportunities. You can also support #TreasureVolunteer campaigns that are continuously growing this time of pandemic.