Volunteers engage Bhutanese people in having their say at the UN through MY World survey

May 7, 2014

imageA student puts in her vote at the MY World tent at the Tarayana Fair

Nearly 800 people let the world know what matters most to them at the Tarayana Fair in Thimphu last week-end. UNDP Bhutan and the UN Volunteer programme (UNV), in cooperation with the Tarayana Foundation, mobilized volunteer students from YHS Tarayana School Club to engage people to vote in the global MY World survey. From about 200, the total number of Bhutanese MY World respondents has now reached 1000 as a result of the outreach at the three-day fair.

Her Majesty the Queen Mother. Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Patron of the Tarayana Foundation, and Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay inaugurated the MY World tent and also voted for their top development priorities.

The MY World Action Week in Bhutan continues in the central and eastern parts of the country, where volunteers will discuss with youth and students in various schools and colleges about the role of volunteerism in development, and mobilize them to conduct the MY World survey in their communities. This UNV advocacy campaign on youth volunteerism and post-2015 development agenda is supported by UNDP Bhutan.

In a process led by the UN, people and institutions - such as governments, civil society organizations and businesses - are debating what the global development priorities should be after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015. Within this global discussion, MY World is the UN global survey asking people to choose their priorities for a better world.

Votes, to be collected until 2015, will be used to guide global decision-makers in the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda. More than 2 million people from 194 nations have already had their say at the UN through the MY World survey. The Global Week of Action (GWA), 5-11 May, is a worldwide mobilization effort to gather an additional 500,000 votes.

UNV supports MY World as a contribution to make the ongoing post-2015 consultations process truly inclusive. Many volunteers have been disseminating the survey in their local communities, increasing the local outreach of this global exercise. By conducting the MY World survey at the grassroots level, volunteers engage with people and learn about local priorities and global development.

“We want to hear from people of all ages, genders, educational backgrounds and income levels,” said Christina Carlson, UN Resident Coordinator in Bhutan. “We are hopeful that the MY World Week of Action will give people in Bhutan a chance to participate in the formulation of effective international development policies.”

Since December 2012, more than 2 million people from 194 nations have voted in the MY World poll through paper ballots, via SMS/mobile phones or on the internet. The survey asks participants to rank their top six issues from among 16 suggestions. The information, to be collected until 2015, is used to guide global decision-makers in the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda.

Preliminary MY World results suggest the following trends:

  1. Good education followed by better healthcare and better job opportunities rank as the top three issues. Among those from very high-income countries, better education was the only issue in
    common with low- and medium-income developing countries.
  2. A generation gap of sorts appears to be forming among overall respondents. Those under 30 years old are more worried about job opportunities than their over-30 counterparts, who seemed more concerned about living under honest and responsive governments.
  3. As for gender gap, men and women tended to share the same top seven concerns.
  4. Of the 2 million surveyed so far, roughly 746,000 responded through paper ballot, nearly 380,000 through mobile/SMS and almost 456,000 online.

MY World votes so far in Bhutan – both online and offline – list good education, better healthcare, better job opportunities, honest and responsible government, and protection from crime and violence as the top five priorities for Bhutanese respondents. This ranking may change, as we look forward to hear more from Bhutanese following this advocacy campaign, which aims to collect at least 2000 votes with the help of local volunteer groups in Bhutan.

Contact Information

Riikka Suhonen (Ms)
UNV / Post-2015 National Coordinator
Tel. +975 171 252 66

Sonam Tsoki Tenzin
UNDP Communications Officer
Tel. +975 3 22424