When, in the new year, the United Nations issues its report about the future we want for the world, Cameroonian voices could be amongst the African voices that stand out most.
As of August, over 35,000 people, a diverse group of citizens, have shared their views, answering the call to be part of the global conversation to shape the world’s future.
Young people fanned across the country and got them to share their ideas and express their concerns.
As it turns 75 in September, the organization had opened a global conversation and invited people to contribute their views and ideas to the “future we want” for the next 25 years, when the UN will mark 100 years.
The world over, people are being asked to take a short survey, expressing their thoughts, including on the current COVID-19 pandemic and other global trends.
The survey, translated in over 60 languages, is mainly online and takes one-minute to complete.
Other ways to participate include hosting or participating in a UN75 dialogue and engaging via social media.
In Cameroon, and in many other countries around the world where internet access is not always easy, voices of large majorities of people may have not been heard.
So, in the old-fashioned way, the UN in Cameroon, working with civil society organizations went to meet people where they were and had face to face conversations with them on the questions in the survey.
From June to mid-August, over 100 volunteers went to the marketplaces, talked to people on the streets, engaged taxis drivers and held conversations in schools and with workers at their places of employment.
They handed out paper copies of the survey in communities in 10 cities, collected the answers from over 35,000 people and later uploaded them online; making sure that these ideas are part of the global conversation shaping up the future.
As a result of the strategy, Cameroon reportedly tops the global number of the UN75 survey respondents, with Bamenda, Douala, and Yaoundé said to be the top three cities worldwide with most respondents.
This is "an incredible achievement which displays the dynamism and dedication of Cameroonian youth to add their voices to the UN75 call on the world they want,” Siti Batoul Oussein, then Acting UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon remarked.
“It is interesting to note that Cameroon happened to become the country with most filled surveys on the International Youth Day, August 12. This was very timely, and we could not be more grateful to the hard work and commitment coming from Cameroonian youth volunteers and leaders," she added.
A report on the UN75 Campaign will be presented to the Secretary-General at the next General Assembly in a few weeks. The campaign runs through 31 December. A final report will be issued in the new year.