2018 Voices Story Writing Competition results from North America and Europe

We are absolutely delighted to announce the results of the 2018 Voices of Future Generations writing contest from North America and Europe! We received many wonderful entries, and the judges wish to commend all of the children who put pen to paper about issues that really matter to them. Well done, everyone!

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“Many congratulations to all of the authors for their abundance of hard work and creativity. We are delighted to announce these winners, whose wonderful stories are sure to inspire us all to band together in support of the SDGs, the CRC and their impact on future generations. These young authors epitomize the true meaning of global awareness and we are so proud to have them represent the mission of VoFG as the Child Authors from North America and Europe.”  - Gabrielle Bacon, North American Goodwill Ambassador

 

Children at Heffers: Jona David and Diwa Boateng

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At 2pm on Saturday 12th May, come along to Children’s at Heffers, Cambridge, UK for an event with award-winning child authors Jona David and Diwa Boateng!

Jona David’s brightly illustrated books highlight children's rights to a clean environment and education through the magical eco-science adventures of an Eco-Inventor Boy and his Little Brother. His first book, The Epic Eco Inventions, received a gold award from the UN - and now you can come and hear him read from the third book in the series, The Mechanical Chess Invention! 

Diwa Boateng is a UN Climate Justice Ambassador and the author of The Forward and Backward City, a book which shows how inequality in an African city is experienced differently by one poor boy and his rich friend. It is based on research he carried out in South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Diwa will be reading from his book, which is dedicated to his grandfather who always encouraged him to study hard!

The event is free to attend but booking is essential as places are limited. Please book tickets through this page, by calling 01223 463200 or in person in Heffer’s children’s department.

Activities in South Africa

On Thursday 15 February, Ms Vuyelwa Kuuya, on behalf of the VoFG International Commission donated a set of books in the VoFG Children's Book Series to grade six children at the EMFUNDISWENI school located in the heart of Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, South Africa. Emfundisweni means "a place involved in teaching and learning" in isiZulu, one of the main languages spoken in South Africa. The books will be placed in library corners in two of the classrooms at the school.  

The book donations were received after a presentation on the Post 2015 Sustainable Develipment Goal's, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and each of the unique issues raised by the child authors in the VoFG children's book series.  

The children at EMFUNDISWENI school were grateful and the head was keen to explore ways in which the children can get involved in current and future VoFG acivities where possible.

2017 Voices Story Writing Competition results from Asia...

GOLD WINNER

This year's Gold winner is Yun-Hung Huang, age 10, who studies at the New Taipei Municipal Zhong-Zheng Elementary School in Taiwan. The story "Small Sparrow, Great Hero" really touched the judges and they were very inspiring to read about one little bird being able to enact so much change with its passion!

Congratulations, Yun-Hung, on winning the Gold prize! The Voices of Future Generations International Commission look forwards to working with you, to form your story into a book that fits the global series.

SILVER WINNERS:

A Green Adventure, by Yun-Zhen Dan, age 10, Kaohsiung Municipal Zih-Guan Elementary School, Taiwan

A Meaningful Lesson, by Chia-Hu Kao, age 11, Changhua Municipal Jiu-Guan Elementary School, Taiwan

BRONZE WINNERS:

The Awakening of the Earth People, by Jui-Heng Chang, age 12, Taipei Municipal Shiu-De Elementary School, Taiwan

To Be a Star Environmental Fighter, by Chih-Yi Chiu, age 11, Kaohsiung Municipal Zih-Guan Elementary School, Taiwan

The Sky That Belongs to the Mangrove Forest, by Tzu-Chuan Huang, age 12, Kaohsiung Municipal Zih-Guan Elementary School, Taiwan

Special Poetry Prize

Who is Speaking? By Hung-Yueh Cho, age 11, Taichung Municipal Wai-Pu Elementary School, Taiwan

The judges felt this was a very carefully and cleverly crafted piece of writing. They unanimously decided that they would like to award Hung-Yueh Cho with a special Poetry Prize, meaning that this piece of writing will be featured on our global website. Congratulations!

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

Fireflies are Angry, by Zhen-You Guo, age 11, Taipei Municipal Guan-Du Elementary School, Taiwan

 Confessions of Little Angel Leopard Cat, by Pei Chen Tsao, age11, Changhua Municipal Chung-Shan Elementary School, Taiwan

Thank you again to all the children who entered, from across Asia. It is always wonderful to hear your ideas and read your creative writing. Thank you, also, to EQPF and their prestigious judges for helping to facilitate the contest. 

 

 

 

London Children's Book Fair

Come and see us at the London Children's Book Fair - next Friday and Saturday 15th and 16th December!

It is taking place at Parasol Unit, 14 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW.

Jona David and Diwa Boateng will be doing special book signings on Saturday 16th, between 11am and 1pm, and 2pm until 4pm. We hope to see you there!

Follow all the action from the fair on our social media (@VoFGChildren), and also @thelondonchildrensbookfair on Instagram, hashtag #tlcbf17.

Forging Special Connections with CoP23 Presidency

At the UN General Assembly High Level Event on Climate Education, Children and Youth, Jona David made a special presentation of books for the CoP 23 Presidency. He gave Tyra's book Visible Girls, and Lupe's book The Voice of an Island, the two books in the series from the Pacific Islands.

Voices of Future Generations are really excited to hear of opportunities for learning from CoP23 and the possibility to participate in the Voices of the Future educational day.

Many thanks for being such an inspiration!

 

A new Child Author from Morocco?

At the UN General Assembly High Level Event on Climate Education, Children and Youth, Jona presented CoP 22 President Salaheddine Mezouar with a special certificate of thanks, and asked, on behalf of all the children, if Voices might be able to find a new Child Author from Morocco. Mr Mezouar's response? "C'est possible"!

Jona is thrilled, and can't wait to tell the others!

Jona, with Mr Salaheddine Mezouar, President of CoP 22, Morocco

Jona and Allison speak out for Climate Action at UNGA!

On 20 September 2017 Jona and Allison were invited to the UNGA! They spoke at the High Level Event on Climate Education, Children and Youth at the Climate Week in New York City, hosted at UNICEF Headquarters. 

Unfortunately Allison Lievano-Gomez from Mexico City (and UNICEF consultative board member!) could not be with us in person, but she recorded a really special video speech for the panel, which went down a storm! See below to hear her talk about how she educated herself about climate change, and what she hopes leaders of this world will promise to do for the future of the Earth.

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Jona was also brilliant, in his communication of what the world must do to help combat climate change, linking his speech wonderfully to the SDGs. 

 

His speech can be read in full below:

My name is Jona David and I am 12 years old. I come from 4 countries - the UK, Switzerland, Germany and Canada. It is a huge honour to speak with you here in New York at UNICEF Headquarters.

First, thank you for being leaders, and for everything you're trying to do to tackle climate change. Education and action on climate change, today, is desperately, seriously important.

If you agree, raise your hands now...

THANK YOU. You are raising your voices for a more sustainable future. That's what I am doing too. My first four books are being published in six UN languages by the UN and the Voices of Future Generations book series. It is amazingly exciting!

With the UN book series, I have been really fortunate to be able to travel to different cities like New York, London, Mexico City, Taipei, Hamburg, Berne, Ottawa and even Rabat in Morocco, in order to share my stories with other children who are interested.

[At this point, Jona briefly highlighted the main messages of his children's books, and how they link to the SDGs. These books can be found here on this website.]

My work is especially to reach out to other children in my region, with a different, more active education. Through our books, educational work, awareness-raising events and projects, all of us Child Authors are trying to speak out for our rights, for our Earth, for the Future We Want. 

I am also trying to say that it is important to have the courage to be ourselves, and to stand up for each other. Not just for children today, but for future generations of our children.

It is important to have the courage to be ourselves, and to stand up for each other. Not just for children today, but for future generations of our children.
— Jona David, 12

Raise your hand if you think things are crucial too?

THANK YOU!

Other world leaders agree with us. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has already celebrated it's 25th Anniversary. It is a global accord for all children that our rights to a healthy environment, to food and water, and to education will be respected.

And here at the United Nations two years ago, out countries came together to commit to a new set of Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are a set of global goals that all countries can agree to tackle together, whether they are rich or poor, developed or developing. One of the crucial goals was SDG 13 - to take urgent action to combat climate change.

We were here, in New York, hosting a United Nations Children's Summit on the SDGs, alongside. All of us kids in the Summit promised to become Child Ambassadors for these new goals. And we are keeping to that promise.

We were deeply inspired when we heard the same countries had signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, committing to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, support adaptation, report on their efforts and raise awareness everywhere for climate action.

But, raise your hand, if you think all these Goals, especially stopping climate change, and the climate treaty itself, will NOT be easy to deliver? 

You are RIGHT. The challenge is that we have a really long way to go, all over the world, to ensure that the rights and interests of future generations are respected, towards sustainable development. Sustainability is crucial for the survival of humanity and our Earth. For all of us, especially children, learning to live sustainably is the difference between terrible global nightmare, and real hope for the future.

If we carry on consuming and polluting, our ecosystems and all our resources will burn out. If highways, rubbish and oil spills take over, animals and plants will be miserable and ill. If we let climate change get worse, many people will be hurt or even die in floods and typhoons.

After all these global promises, it would be terrible if rather than implementing the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, we keep going backwards, doing the exact opposite.

And today, children can help. In the Children's Declaration from our Summit, we asked everyone to recognise that "the decisions the world makes today will impact and define our future".

The decisions the world makes today will impact and define our future... The voices of future generations are current global citizens who must play a part in decision-making.
— UN Children's SDG Declaration

We pledged to be "the voices of future generations...current global citizens who must play a part in decision-making". After all my own struggles with dyslexia, I'm working to keep that pledge through my writing, and speeches like this one, with you today.

In my stories it's clear. Even the smallest child can make a huge difference for our planet. All of us can take action and ramp us as eco-leaders in our own communities - starting today!

There is so much that children can do to defend the needs and interests of future generations. We can get started by changing our education, not our climate. Here are three ideas!

First, our schools and communities can adopt new eco-science and technologies, for more sustainable education. This can spark everyone to become interested in eco-science for the rest of our lives and to learn how to use it every day. Schools can pilot renewable energy, such as solar panels, wind or even geothermal power. We can insist on sustainable transport with hybrid school buses, bikes or skateboards. We can provide new SDG books and workshops as the amazing Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection does in Morocco.

Second, we can work together to make our whole economy greener. This way, when children grow up, our careers will help instead of hurting the environment. We can all work together to fight climate change and to ensure people respect ecological limits instead of always breaking them.

Third, children (and world leaders) can speak out as advocates for future generations, worldwide.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child promises us the right to be part of decision-making. We can raise awareness to make these things happen on the ground. Even as children, we can blog, use new media to network with others, make posters, start our own radio shows or even write our own books!

Two Child Authors are from the Pacific. Please, include us in the CoP23 Education Day! Us Child Authors can help!

When it comes to the Earth, our own survival, and the survival of all future generations, is at stake. It's urgent.

Children's voices can tell others about problems. But most importantly, we can also become part of many solutions, on the ground, all over the world.


What do you think children can do to help combat climate change? Make your suggestions to us! 

 

Allison's second story

Allison is working hard on her second story! Her first story, The Sisters’ Mind Connection, has been hugely popular and we imagine the next, which will be about migrant and refugee children, will be the same.

Allison has dedicated a lot of time already to preparing the next book for the Voices series, including field trips to meet a refugee community in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico to learn about their lives.

 

Here is Allison with Elisa. Elisa García is originally from Spain. She is trained as a lawyer and specialized in international refugee law. Elisa took the plunge last year: she was approached at an academic conference by the Government of Tabasco and offered the job as founding director of Albergue Colibrí.

 

J. is 16 and is 5 months pregnant. She is from Honduras. Shy and guarded, she lightened up when Allison showed her her book and teared up when Hazel called her courageous.

We will never forget this day of intensive learning with brave refugee and migrant children. Thanks to UNICEF Mexico for organising this trip and to Elisa García and her wonderful team for hosting us for the day but most of all thanks to the amazing kids for sharing their stories, their heartache, their dreams and their smiles with us. The kids’ faces have been blurred as many of them are fleeing from violence but we keep each one of them etched in our conscience and our heart.

Kehkashan's news!

Kehkashan has kindly been in touch and let us know what she’s been up to since graduating from the Voices programme. She won the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2016 (huge congratulations!). She was also featured in a U2 concert in Toronto, Canada on 23rd June 2017, as part of a montage of inspirational women. Kehkashan was featured alongside amazing names such as Michelle Obama, bell hooks, and many more.

Kehkashan appears around 4:35, take a look!

You can see the show here

Jona David at the UNESCO GCED Forum

Jona David was invited by the Canadian Commission of UNESCO to give a keynote speech in a plenary at their Global Citizenship Education Forum last week. 

He received a standing ovation for his speech, and Jona and his three stories were very quickly adopted by the UNESCO Youth Commission!

Jona also had the opportunity to present the Hon. Catherine McKenna with a set of his newly published hard cover storybooks, and a full set of all of the children's books to Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

A really informative and inspirational day - thank you from Voices of Future Generations to all at UNESCO, with special thanks to Lydia Ruprecht, for facilitating it!

 

Jona David meets the Hon Catherine McKenna and Walking Stick Bug!

‎Jona David, 11, UNESCO / VoFG Child Author, met the Hon Catherine McKenna, Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on Family Day at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa. The two served as a shared 'tree branch' for one of Canada's most fascinating insects, the Northern Walking Stick, and she asked about his work to raise awareness about the world's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through his eco-inventor boy books and public speaking, helping implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Jona is a resident of the Glebe in Minister McKenna's constituency, and active in local eco-societies and nature clubs, and his 3rd book, The Mechanical Chess Invention, will be launched on 11 March 2017 at 2pm in Kaleidoscope Kids' Bookstore (1018 Bank St, Ottawa).

Ying-Xuan Lai speaks at Taiwan Forum

Gold winning Child Author from Asia, Ying-Xuan Lai had a wonderful opportunity this month to speak at the Taiwanese "Children, Environment, and Sustainable Development Forum", with EQPF, which was a huge success. She presented her story "A Path to Life" alongside the other awarded Child Authors and their families.

Child Authors, pictured with Ying-Shih Hseih, VoFG Goodwill Ambassador for Asia

Internship Vacancy

JOB DESCRIPTION: SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN

Voices of Future Generations is seeking a social media intern to assist in taking ownership of a social media campaign to support primarily the launch of a book series and educational outreach programme, but more broadly the social media launch of a youth sustainability movement.

You’ll have the chance to give your input on and execute social media and video content, as well as suggest partnership ideas.

You’ll get to be a part of our team and play a big role in establishing and developing the social voice for our organisation. And, most importantly, you’ll get the opportunity to be part of an optimistic movement that believes in the power of youth as change makers for good.

 

WHO WE’RE LOOKING FOR

You’re currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate programme, or you have been involved in social media as a starter job. You are organised, motivated, and have excellent communication skills.

You have an active social presence and are very familiar with social media.

You are a writer.

You’re creative and ready to use your creativity to not only produce social media content, but to pitch and help work on ideas for videos, engagement ideas, and partnership initiatives as well - ones that could help raise awareness for the campaign and the movement.

You’re a multitasker, and can thrive in a not-for-profit where people often wear multiple hats.

You’re web-savvy.

You’re curious, and are excited to learn about things like influencer marketing and tracking content through Google Analytics.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Internalise campaign strategy, campaign audiences and become knowledgeable about the content assets that have already been produced.

Research comparative campaigns that support movements such as VoFG.

Itemise content assets and identify uses for social media for various audiences.

Identify gaps in content assets against goals of the campaign.

Draft social media content and execute on social channels.

Respond to mentions and proactively engage with users on behalf of the organisation.

Identify social influencers within audience sets that could be good “brand” partners and manage those relationships.

Regularly compile key performance metrics and provide insightful feedback in order to improve performance.

Assist with partnership efforts to amplify awareness of campaign.

 

This is a home-based/flexi-working position.

 

Please contact Global Programme Co-ordinator, Ruth Hanson: ruthemilyhanson at gmail dot com with a CV and covering letter.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Call for a new Child Author from North America/Europe

Are you aged between 8-12, or know someone who is? Do you love writing? Do you have dreams and ideas about the world you'd like to see? If so, you could be our next Child Author!

Children between the ages of 8 and 12 years of age, from North America or Europe, are invited to enter the Voices of Future Generation’s Children’s Book Series story writing contest.

Each entrant is invited to write a five-page story about children’s rights and sustainable development. Based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and one to three of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the stories should creatively and imaginatively promote access to the rights enshrined in these instruments. Imaginative and creative stories based on a problem-solving child hero and lively colourful characters will be preferred. Importantly, the stories should be about the kind of future that the children would like to see.

All story entries should be typed using a font of size 12 and single spacing. Entries should be sent to the Voices of Future Generations International Commission, care of Dr Odeeth Lara, Senior Programme Officer, and Ms Ruth Hanson, Global Programme Coordinator, using email addresses: odtlara@gmail.com and ruthemilyhanson@gmail.com by 30th April 2017.

Please visit http://www.vofg.org/books/ to view winning entries of previous story writing contests, which have now been illustrated and published. These gold winning stories should serve as a guide to the kinds of stories that are being sought.

 

Mexico Events

The Voices of Future Generations initiative, under the delegation of UNESCO, ran events in México during December 2016. From 09-10 December, Voices of Future Generations Child Authors and UN Child Ambassadors of the Sustainable Development Goals were invited to participate in a number of ways at the COP13 Convention on Biological Diversity in Cancun. On 09 December, the children were asked to attend a side event hosted by the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN), where Jona David, one of the Child Authors shared his stories with an international network of youth individuals and organisations from all over the world, whose common goal is to prevent the loss of biodiversity. Youth representatives were very impressed, and it was wonderful to see the Voices initiative gather lots of interest.

Child Author Jona David (left) and Child UN SDG Ambassador Nico Cordonier-Gehring (right)

 

On 10 December the Child Authors launched their short film worldwide at the COP13 Convention. The children spoke confidently about how their work for the project relates to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal agenda, and how they wish to engage other children to join them in working towards the future they wish to see. The film was met with rapturous applause, many thanks, and even a few tears, which is an indication of just how impactful it is. Our thanks go to the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law for hosting the children at the Biodiversity Law and Governance Day. Thanks, too, to Gabrielle Bacon of the Moore Foundation for all of her support in making the film a reality.

On 12 December, the Child Authors, as well as 75 children from schools in México City were invited to the Papalote Museo del Niño (the prestigious children’s museum in México City) for a day of learning about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. All children interacted brilliantly, offering their thoughts about how they can use their rights under this convention to make the world a better place for every child. They interacted with exhibits in the museum, relating them to various articles in the UN CRC, and thinking insightfully about the issues. The host committee, Marcela Orvañanos (Goodwill Ambassador for Latin America), Octavio Lievano and Hazel Gomez, along with the host Child Author from México, Allison Hazel Lievano-Gomez, and with the support of Christian Skoog, representative from UNICEF México, ensured a wonderful day. We are extremely grateful for all of their support.


On 13 December, the México host committee organised a day at the famous Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Anthropology Museum) of México. The Child Authors were invited to participate in special tours of Mayan and Aztec exhibits, with brilliant, knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides. Following the museum tour, a workshop was put on for the children, during which they engaged in traditional Mexican crafts. Many thanks to Alejandra Cervantes Mascareño, director of the museum, for hosting us. It was a truly enjoyable day.