03 September 2004
Under the motto, Eu posso - Você pode -Nós podemos
, (I can - you can - we can), more than 800 individuals in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte have made a commitment to volunteer in their community to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - a set of measurable goals and targets to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women to be achieved by 2015.
Natal Voluntários, an organization with a mission to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of communities in Rio Grande do Norte by promoting voluntary action have made promoting the MDGs a top priority on their agenda.
As part of Brazil’s annual ‘Week of Solidarity’ in mid-August, Natal Voluntários invited residents of the region to visit eight tents (one for each Millennium Development Goal) set up with information about how individuals can make a lasting contribution to Brazil’s effort to achieve and sustain the MDGs.
Inside each tent, displays and handouts illustrated the importance of the MDGs and asked individuals to make a personal written pledge to work towards the realization of the MDGs. Musicians such as Renato Braz, a nationally recognized musician helped attract people and to get involved.
Natal Voluntários also signed an agreement with the regional branch of Brazil’s largest private broadcaster to air a series of public service announcements over six months, which encourage individuals to join the effort to make the MDGs reality.
Monica MacDowell, President of Natal Voluntários during a visit to the Bonn headquarters of the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme said this effort, as part of their "Time" campaign was just the first step.
"By bringing the message of the MDGs to the people, we hope to convince our government officials that they too, must act now to make the MDGs happen." She added, "We intend to mobilize officials to make sure they keep their promises."
Ms MacDowell said she had a commitment from the state governor to have a plan of action in place by this year’s International Volunteer Day (IVD) celebrated on 5 December.
Over the coming months, she hopes to organize additional fora, workshops and campaigns that will underline a grassroots level commitment to the successful achievement of the MDGs in Brazil. By working with volunteers of other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to avoid duplication, she hopes to maximize impact on public policy and with private sector partners.
Source: United Nations Volunteers