Following her International Citizenship Service (ICS) placement in Guatemala, volunteer Lauren Parnell set up a meeting with her local MP to make sure Britain fights for ambitious new global goals at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit later this month.
When an ICS volunteer gets back to the UK, their inspirational journey is far from over. ICS means using the skills gained on your placement to take action back in your own communities – from sharing your experiences and raising awareness of global poverty, to leading small, local projects.
“When I returned home from 10 weeks volunteering in Guatemala, my eyes had been opened to the impact of the Millennium Development Goals.
“2015 is an important year because the goals for the next 15 years of development, the Sustainable Development Goals, are being decided at the end of September with each UN member country having a say in them.
“I want to make sure the aims of the Millennium Development Goals are pursued and challenged for future years, so such progress can continue. My time seeing this directly in Guatemala inspired me to arrange a meeting with my local MP to discuss international development and the upcoming UN Summit deciding the new goals.
“I had never met an MP before this but my meeting with Ben Gummer MP lasted over an hour. We discussed lobbying the Prime Minister to come back with nothing but ambitious goals. Even though he is just one person, a lobbying act like this could influence things for many people.
Read Ben Gummer’s letter to David Cameron, urging him to take action on new global goals.
“After our meeting, my MP then wrote a letter to the Prime Minister asking for him to take action on getting the best sustainable goals possible, with a copy sent to me too. I hope the letter written on my behalf has an impact on the Prime Minister, to let him know that he has the support of members of his country when debating these Sustainable Development Goals.
“I learnt that it’s remarkably easy to get hold of your local MP. When I spoke to people about my meeting I think they realised how easy it was to book some time with the MP, which I think many people feel distanced from. I think it’s important for people to discover that they’re not and can help you to get what you want for the country and beyond to happen.
“The upcoming summit is so important, I hope that together we can make sure the final goals are as strong as the world deserves.”
If you’re 18-25, apply today for the International Citizen Service today and you could volunteer for a YMCA in Africa, Asia or Latin America in 2016! You don’t need cash or qualifications, just the appetite to make a difference.