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Students support SDG6

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DHE MUN learned about the work of Thirst Project (www.thirstproject.org) when we attended QLC 2018.  Motivated to take action, we decided we wanted to start an MUN IMPACT club with a project targeting SDG 6. At the same time, we were preparing to take part in THIMUN QATAR and learned we would be representing Myanmar.

During our research, we came to know about the dire situation of the refugees living in Coxs Bazaar and in particular the work of Restless Beings, (www.restlessbeings.org) in delivering vital aid to the people there.  We knew we had to raise awareness about the issue of the Rohingya Refugees and their need for clean drinking water.

We started to dig deeper into the issue and made an awareness video which we shared internationally with family and friends.  We highlighted the desperate plight of the Rohingya Refugees and the situation in the camps where access to clean drinking water is a real problem.  We encouraged our audience to donate to Restless Beings, who have been building medium term water wells in Coxs Bazaar.

We were very pleased when through our awareness raising, Restless Beings received enough money to fully fund the building of one medium term water well!

MMUN Impact-The Delegate’s Speak!

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At the MMUN February Conference, a MMUN Impact Corner was created with the invitation to student delegates in Upper Elementary and Middle School to share what they were doing as a result of their MMUN experience. This is a sample of the stories collected.

 

Service Learning + Spring Break= MUN Impact Memphis

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The John Burroughs School (JBS) service learning program, which including many MUN and MUN Impact students, traveled to Memphis, Tennessee for an alternative spring break trip last week.  Every project the students were engaged in was directly connected to an SDG.  The work the students did was educational and inspiring.

On Monday morning, students visited the Porter-Leath Hanley Head Start program that serves at-risk children and families in the Shelby County area.   Students from JBS found themselves immediately tackling SDG 4-2 & 4-6 as they engaged one-on-one with 3 to 5 year olds in the pre-primary education program, working on their literacy and numeracy skills.   The experience was eye opening when the JBS students learned that this particular Head Start program serves over 5,000 children in the county every year and how important those Pre-K years are in formulating success throughout a child’s entire school experience leading into improved family formation, increased number of job hours worked, avoidance of criminal behavior and reliance on social support, even proof of increased earnings and better health;  these things all stem from enrollment in pre-kindergarten.  The debriefing at the end of the program made the students aware of how the work at the program also tackles SDG 10 to reduce inequalities.

On Monday afternoon, students were busy sorting and packaging food supplies at the Mid-South Food bank, an enormous facility that distributes food to several states in the Mid-south region of the US.   JBS students were very aware of SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 2 (zero hunger), as they learned that the food was coming directly from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), local food producers and Big Box stores who donated the food as a result of good policies or simply over stocking.  It was challenging to see unused food go to waste as students had to spot dented cans of fruits and vegetables and take note of expiration dates and follow a strict code of boxing only the products that did not expire within the next 3-8 months.

On Tuesday morning the students volunteered at the Memphis Botanics Garden who were hosting a gardening program that focused on environmental education.  On Tuesday afternoon the students visited the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, founded in 1962 as a pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children’s catastrophic diseases, particularly leukemia and other cancers.  The students learned that the hospital costs $2.8 million USD a day to run, and there is no cost to the patient to be treated.

On Wednesday morning the students got their feet wet and their hands dirty volunteering at the Wolf River Conservancy, thinking critically and actively engaged with SDG 6, 11, 12, 14 and 15.  The students started by clearing trash along the banks for the Wolf River, all the while listening to the Conservancy representative talk about the importance of the river aquifer.  The spring-fed Wolf River rises in north Mississippi and flows northwest through Shelby county to join the Mississippi River in Memphis.  Carving a green passage through 90 miles of forests, fields, and communities, the Wolf’s upper reaches are lush wetlands of unmatched natural beauty that help recharge the drinking water aquifer.

The team then went on land for the next few hours and cleared Privet from the forest along a nature walking path in the park. Privet is an invasive shrub from southern and eastern Asia that outcompetes and therefore displaces native vegetation.  Overall the experience with the Conservancy made the students more hypersensitive to the connections with the environment on land and in the water, focusing on the sustainable management and use of natural resources (Target 12-2), improving water quality, increasing water-use efficiency and ensure freshwater supplies (Target 6-4), and protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems (Target 6-6).

On Wednesday night the students joined the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry for their weekly food delivery program (by bike) on the streets of Memphis.   It was an incredibly humbling experience to meet so many of the homeless population of the city who seek the food and good company and love from strangers.   Conversation with the team leader after the food distribution focused on the debate between providing a meal to a human being who may not have eaten that day vs enabling the homeless and not solving the greater issue.   In the end many Burroughs students were thinking about SDG 1 (target 1-3 and 1-A) to end poverty and wanted to start a similar Urban Bicycle Food distribution program for downtown St. Louis. In order to do so, students would have to mobilize resources to implement policies to end poverty, and combat the challenges from the St. Louis Police Department who strongly discourage such food distribution programs.

Service learning and learning to serve were the focus of this Spring Break program.  By connecting the programs of this trip with the goals of the UN, students learned how we can tackle the world’s problems one volunteer, one concerned citizen, one step, at a time.

Thirst Project: Making an impact one delegate at a time

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Justine Wu has been actively supporting Thirst Project and has helped raise awareness and funds to support their work and SDG6. She attends Gretchen Whitney High School and has been doing MUN for a total of five years now (since 8th grade).

What came first: Thirst Project or MUN?

MUN actually came first. I began with this program in 8th grade and decided to continue in high school. I soon learned about and decided to work with the Thirst Project, starting in 10th grade.

What is the connection between your work with Thirst Project and MUN? IS there a connection?

Generally, MUN is full of discussion of numerous topics. One of the most urgent and biggest crises in our international community is the global water crisis, and is a topic I have often discussed in committee. Seeing the real-world impact that Thirst Project had on the water crisis, I knew I wanted to take part in this organization and that it would be important to educate my fellow peers, especially MUN students. I invited them to the annual MUN Conference that Gretchen Whitney High School holds and all the gram money that we earned that day were donated towards Thirst Project. After conversing about the many problems that our world faced, Thirst Project immediately came to mind as an organization that could help remedy the problems. Because of their core message, devotion to helping the environment, and many other reasons, I have chosen to further my involvement with the Thirst Project.

4What have you accomplished on behalf of Thirst Project?

My greatest accomplishment on behalf of the Thirst Project is introducing it to my community to educate and inspire people to put a cap on the global water crisis. I began by inviting Thirst Project to speak at our school to our students where we did the Miracle Minute challenge. Within that one minute, our students helped raise over $180 to donate to building a well in a community who has little access to clean water. Because of this one presentation, it sparked the interest of students throughout the campus, and before I knew it, it became one of Key Club’s main focus for their term, Shanti Club’s (Indian Cultural Club) main charity of donation, and most of all, our MUN’s ideal and favorite organization to partner with.

What are your thoughts on making MUN more service/action oriented?

Most of what we discuss in MUN stays within that one committee room as just a ‘great idea.’ Though these ideas might be truly life-changing, students often don’t have the resources or the chance to put their ‘great ideas’ into action. That is why I am so glad that MUN Impact is providing young individuals the platform to share their work and truly be able to advance our international community, one change at a time. I am eager to see all the ‘great ideas’ that our generation and even future generations will transform into reality. Guiding MUN to be more service/action oriented will be beneficial in opening up the eyes of our community to become aware of occurrences that might be happening below the surface. This newfound awareness can be channeled into creating more effective and positive solutions to crises in the long run.

Tell us about going to the UN to share your Thirst Project work. What are you most excited about?

Our communities are faced with numerous global challenges and a specifically big one is the water crisis which I have learned has affected more than just a handful of people. I hope to educate our growing community and learn to devise solutions that will prove to be effective in addressing issues, worldwide. No words can express how honored I feel to be able to go and stand in front of many students and challenge them to stand beside me as we change the world for the better. And I truly cannot wait to inspire people just as the Thirst Project had first inspired me.

Any last thoughts on the UN, MUN, SDG 6?

Being in Model United Nations for five years has exposed me to world affairs and global crises, nurturing my growing curiosity for foreign affairs and love for a diverse culture. This has urged me to further my understanding of global development and its effect on the international community. If it wasn’t for joining MUN, I would have continued to be sheltered from the events that happened outside of my own community. But with my expanding knowledge, I want to take action and make change.

[caption id="attachment_3972" align="alignnone" width="300"] Justine will be presenting at the MUN Summit at UN Headquarters April 12, 2019[/caption]

Beach Cleanup Supports SDG14

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Macy Lustig is one of the Secretaries-General at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in southern California.  She updates us on her club's work to support SDG 14.

This year, we wanted to connect the things that we are learning in MUN to the real world, so a group of my MUN peers and I decided to participate in a beach clean up this Saturday.  Even in heavy rain, we showed up and learned about how man-made trash affects the ocean life and the coral reefs.  We then cleaned up trash off the beach for over an hour and noticed how so much human trash ends up in the ocean and then washes up to the shore.  I think that this was a great way for our MUN program to understand the human impact on the ocean as well as to explore SDG 14.  I hope to make this beach clean-up a monthly service project for our program because it is an educational and interesting way to give back to the environment.

SDG photo competition at Bilbao MUN Conference

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Between 24th to 27th January, Ayalde School hosted its third annual conference, MUN Bilbao. As a MUN Impact Partner Club we decided to make a SDG competition during the conference in order to teach young people more about them. So we selected 5 goals and the aim of the competition was to take a photo representing at least one goal. The photo had to be taken between the whole delegation. Inside the welcome pack for the conference, there was the paper with the instructions for the competition. On Sunday in the General Assembly, we announced the winner delegation of the SDG Competition. This competition was a great success, we received original photos, but the most original one, and the winner was from the delegation of Mexico.

How did we design and promote this competition? Here is how we did it!

How and why did the club come up with this idea?

Between the days 24th to 27th January, Ayalde School hosted the third annual conference, MUN Bilbao 2019. As a MUN Impact Partner Club, we decided to run a SDG competition during the conference in order to make young people more aware about them. We thought that this would help to spread the word about the SDGs and the importance of their compliance. So we selected 5 goals and the aim of the competition was to take a photo representing at least one of them. The photo had to be made between the whole delegation.
 How was it promoted/communicated?
Inside the welcome pack for the conference, we put a leaflet with the instructions for the competition
What kind of equipment was needed?
Most people just used their mobile phones
How were photos submitted?
The photo had to be sent to our MUN Impact email address (munimpact@ayalde.com) with the name of the delegation
Who made the decision about the winner?
Us five, the MUN Impact Partner Club from Ayalde School, decided the winner of the competition taking into account the originality of the photo
How/when was the winner announced? Was there any kind of prize?
On Sunday, after the General Assembly finished and we started our closing ceremony, we announced the winners of the SDG Challenge. The Runners-up received a Diploma and the winning delegation also a diploma signed by our Partner Club and our MUN Director Nicola Dignum.
This competition was a great success, we received very original photos, but the most original one, and the winner was from the delegation of Mexico.  To sum up, we are sure most delegates got to know more about the Sustainable Development Goals and are now conscious of their importance. Finally, we are sure most delegates got to know more about the Sustainable Development Goals and are now conscious of their importance.
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Looking for ways to promote the SDGs at your conference? Check out our handy list  at http://munimpact.org/impact_library/making-your-mun-conference-or-club-impactful/.

Art Exhibit Highlights SDG 16 and Human Trafficking

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By Theobesta Debalkie,

President of Lebawi MUN, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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When the day started, everything was prepared for the Blue Heart campaign. The set up for the program, the speakers, the projector and the tables were all in their places.   Lebawi MUN club members from eleventh grade were done with their presentation rehearsals and ready to brief everyone coming to the program about Human Trafficking. The Lebawi MUN PR was done preparing the videos introducing the issue. The two club presidents were caught up with making sure everything is in its place and everyone in their designated places. The other club members were ready to usher the guests and help them with anything.

After finalizing our work, we were going around checking everything. At that moment we felt like the tables, which were setup to hold the various art pieces of the competition, might be too much. Though we hoped that many students from various schools will participate on the competition, we didn’t expect most to be well prepared and organized. After discussing about it for a moment, we decided to be prepared for the best possible participation, or at least we thought we did.

A few hours before the start of the program, we were graced with the arrival of students from different schools. They brought amazing works of art representing the unheard screams, the methods of trafficking, the effects of illegal trafficking, and many more points. Prior to the event, students who wanted to participate in the art exhibition were instructed to “submit art pieces that express what human trafficking means to you.” After we received all art works, we understood that we did not have enough space to place the art pieces, hence we had to bring more tables and display the arts. After the presentations and discussions, the whole community started going around and discussing, questioning, and analyzing the art pieces.

 

Through the art exhibition, we were able to create awareness about human trafficking, exchange ideas and inspire other MUN clubs to align their activities along UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and work towards the protection and security of human beings, especially women and children. In general, the human trafficking event coupled with the art exhibition helped us to understand that accomplishing SDGs was not only the responsibility of United Nations, but rather a shared responsibility and part of our civic duty.

We believe MUN Clubs around the globe have to play a great role in creating awareness on SDGs, initiating the youth to think globally and work towards the SDGs be it in their extracurricular activities, organizational work or team work.

 

 

In all, the arts exhibition was a proof that if proper and the needed opportunity is provided to the youth, their voices combined with the work being done by the UN and other worldwide organizations is a force well-equipped to transform the world and make it a better place to live in.

 

 

 

MUN Club takes SDG6 Action

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On Feb 1st, MUN Impact Chennai collaborated with OASIS, a club that focuses on water contamination, in order to conduct a lake clean-up activity near the bridge on Bajanai Koil Street, Chennai. This topic was relevant to our community because Chennai has been experiencing water crisis issues for the past few years. We wanted to ensure that difficult access to clean water, as a result of water contamination, does not restrict the local community from being able to drink and use water.

Fortunately, the school had Discovery Day where students organize activities regarding their passion. With some of the other high school students, we were able to conduct this activity.

The area was fully contaminated with trash from plastic bags and bottles to shoes and medical syringes. Some of the litter was embedded into the ground which made it difficult for us to remove them.

Initially, the team was planning to paint the walls bordering the lake, however, due to confirmation issues we created a sign, in Tamil and English, in order to persuade people not to litter. We also wanted to encourage them to think once again before throwing away trash. Additionally, our group installed a rubbish bin next to the lake we cleaned and two more at the nearby beach.

Lebawi Academy hosts Trafficking Awareness Event

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Lebawi Academy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, hosted a day of awareness raising around the issue of human trafficking and SDG 16. In addition to panel participants talking about ways to raise awareness on this issue, students also learned about the Blue Heart Campaign and its work to support the victims of human trafficking.

Lebawi's MUN Club was actively involved in promoting this event, connecting and using their MUN expertise to bring awareness to SDG 16 and target 16.2

The UNODC's press release can be found here.

MUN Impact has listed a number of resources and ideas for supporting SDG 16, which you can find here. Don't forget to check out our Blue Heart Campaign page. UNICEF also has a number of resources on human trafficking.

Impact Summit debuts in Prague

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The first annual Impact Summit was held in Prague, Czech Republic, from 21st to 23rd of September. The entire event was hosted by the Impact Summit Foundation and through collaboration with Salam Center For Peace and MUN Impact. The aim of Impact Summit Conference was to raise the awareness about all 17 Sustainable Development Goal, especially the 16th SDG which stands for Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions. Impact Summit 2018 offered to all participant an unparalleled experience which consisted of workshops delivered by world-class speakers, such as Onyi Anyado from Nigeria and speeches from four KeyNote speakers Omar Al Busaidy from United Arab Emirates, Salam Kedan from Israel, Robin De Zeeuw from Netherlands, and Monika Babcanova who was the 2015 Slovakian Peace award winner.

Preparations of the Impact Summit 2018 commenced 9 months prior to the conference. Throughout the time we have prepared a video about 16th Sustainable Development Goal into which we have incorporated speakers from Afghanistan, Israel, Morocco, Czech Republic, and Hungary, and established cooperation with international NGOs which aim at raising awareness about Model United Nations and Peace all across the world. We have worked with delegates and ambassadors from 57 countries of the world and in the end, Impact Summit Conference was attended by ambassadors from 8 embassies, Executive Director of UNICEF Mission in the Czech Republic, and two UNODC representatives.

As a group of students, we have learned a lot by organizing this event. We were lucky to have the support of Salam Kedan, Founder of the Salam Center for Peace, who encouraged us at difficult times and helped us with everything. The final conference had many mistakes, however as we established an event from nothing we are eager to continue and make the
Impact Summit 2019 even greater. Organizing events such as Model United Nation Conferences provide you with the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and gain new friends. It was an honor for us to collaborate with the MUN Impact as through them we were able to educate youth about their possibilities of establishing their own events.

As a result of the Impact Summit, we established in the Czech Republic the Impact Summit Foundation. Impact Summit Organization and leadership team is a newly established organization which aims to raise the awareness about all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda) in less economically developed countries by involving local students and
volunteers in establishing a local Impact Summit Conferences. Impact Summit Team based in Prague supervises the work done by local representatives and encourages people to participate and attend. Impact Summit conference is not a regular Model United Nations Conference. It is rather a process of educating students and encouraging them to become
greater and more influential leaders. Moreover, the aim of the summit is to connect people together and establish connections between non-governmental organizations and student bodies.

We are looking forward to all future conferences and to work mutually with MUN Impact to support students in planning their own startups and conferences.