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Now Peruvian Millennials Are Killing the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Maggie Callahan
April 18, 2019

Though millennial simply means a person between the ages of 20 and 35, millennial has become a ubiquitous term for those young and accused of moral, financial and political depravity. This generation has been accused of killing motorcycles, diamonds, J.Crew, college football, napkins, lunch, light yogurt, suits, bar soap, cruises, McDonald’s, the housing market, banks and credit, patriotism and democracy. The case of Peru, however, disproves the last alleged millennial murder. Peruvian millennials are at the forefront of forging new avenues for public participation by empowering citizens to take ownership of their community’s development.

The Millennials Movement (TMM) is a Peruvian civil society organization that promotes citizen engagement in sustainable community development. It operates with a “Project Budget Zero” strategy, which works with local populations to develop project proposals and subsequently finds partners and funding for these local agendas.

TMM recognized the importance of realizing development through grassroots organizations and citizens through inclusive and participatory processes. The seemingly perfect outline for development goals is the 2030 United Nations sustainable development goals. TMM realized that these goals would only be meaningfully realized if Peruvians participated. In 2016, TMM launched the Peru 2030 Agenda Ambassadors program to empower and facilitate ownership for the sustainable development of citizens’ own communities.

TMM surveyed over 38,000 Peruvians to gather the opinions and aspirations of the local community regarding their own development. Following these surveys, TMM sought to find local leaders and organizers to guide local populations through the long, potentially strenuous realization of their development goals. Leaders were chosen from other civil society organizations operating throughout Peru and had to meet certain qualifications.

These leaders were given training in civic capacity-building focusing on participatory citizen engagement through public intervention, awareness-raising, education and participatory monitoring. Leaders in 26 communities held 30 public dialogues, which engaged 2,465 citizens in discussion on achieving sustainable development goals. These dialogues focused on ways that citizens could contribute to achieving sustainable development goals in their personal life.

CSO leaders identified 902 students in 32 schools across 14 regions who could serve as influencers. These influencers were tasked with raising young people’s awareness of the 2030 sustainable development goals. Outside of schools, 151 leaders from 69 local alliances organized and facilitated conferences and workshops which further raised awareness of the sustainable development goals.

The United Nations established a system to evaluate the implementation of sustainable development goals, and with the help of CSO leaders, local populations utilized this method of accountability and ownership of the sustainable development goals.

Peru’s success demonstrates that millennials may not be so murderous after all. TMM’s work at collaborating and empowering local civil society organizations to achieve common goals boasts many successes. Surveys indicate that Peruvians now take ownership over the realization of sustainable development goals. But perhaps the most significant achievement is that each participating civil society organization now has training on facilitating local participation, which is essential for the success of any organization especially those that enhance civil society.

To learn more about this case visit https://participedia.net/en/cases/engaging-local-csos-achieve-sustainable-development-peru-2030-agenda-ambassadors-program. To read about other innovative applications of public participation visit, www.participedia.net

Author: Maggie Callahan biography: Maggie Callahan is a master’s student of public diplomacy at Syracuse University and a graduate assistant for the Participedia Project at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She holds a bachelor’s in political science and economics from Mercer University and has worked in Georgian and Moroccan nongovernmental organizations and the American government. Follow her on Twitter: @laissezmaggie

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