If someone asked you, what is an ideal world for you? I’m sure a lot of things would come into your mind that you would wish to have in your definition of a perfect world to live in. But I could describe an ideal world in just one sentence; “ The Earth once we reach all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. That is my version of a perfect world. But at the moment, everyone including me, simply has one definition for a perfect world, that is “a pandemic free world”. Well, SDGs include that as well. The 3rd SDG is “Good health and well-being” where the target 3.3 of the SDG 3 is simply to fight communicable diseases such as the COVID-19. As AIESECers we all are aware of these SDGs, their impact and how we can work towards them as an individual or as a whole but most of the youth and the young children are unaware of them and we at AIESEC in Kandy, always thought of it as one of our duties to make the younger generations aware of these goals. That is why we have taken initiatives like organizing “World’s Largest Lesson” in partnership with UNICEF even in the past, where we approached an audience of more than 8000 and educated them about the sustainable development goals. But with the recent situation that we are facing, we thought that it is important to emphasize on the ‘SDG #3: Good Health and Well-being’. Also, we found it essential to educate people about the public health safety measures related to COVID-19. For that, we initiated “Lesson for future 2020”.
A Lesson for Future, was a program initiated by AIESEC in University of Peradeniya with the guidance of AIESEC in Sri Lanka to educate the school children about the public safety protocols implemented by the government due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis along with explaining the importance and the relevance of Sustainable development goal 3; “Good Health and Well being”. Our aim was to conduct a lesson for an audience of more than 5000 students in online platforms belonging to nearly 100 classes throughout the island, in a single day with the help of nearly 200 volunteers, on the above-mentioned protocols. On the 8th of July, our volunteers used virtual platforms like zoom, MS teams, google meet and etc. to conduct this lesson on public health safety practices while incorporating Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being and indeed made it a lesson for the future for all the students who participated.
But all of these didn’t happen overnight. Our organizing committee led by the organizing committee president, Denuka Jayaweera worked hard day and night to make this event a success. Given that this event had to be entirely virtual, they had to face a lot of challenges. Despite the current situation of the world, AIESEC in University of Peradeniya has been active with huge projects like VSUMMER , Let’s Reboot and other internal events and that made it difficult to find enough volunteers for the Lesson For Future event. That was one of the biggest challenges they had to face but collaborating with other AIESEC entities in Sri Lanka, AIESEC in Kathmandu, AIESEC in Kathmandu University and the Rotaract Club of University of Peradeniya made it a little easier to get the required number of facilitators. We had more than 200 volunteers as facilitators at the end. Organizing Committee Vice President for human resources Chirangsri Ihalavithana master minded this whole process. Once they found enough volunteers, next challenge was to find a way to train them. Need not to say, that has to take up virtual platforms as well. The volunteer training sessions were based on the lesson itself and on the technical aspects. Luckily organizing committee vice presidents for Marketing and Communications Minidu Liyanage, Apil Bhattarai and Girishikan Selvaratnam were very capable of handling these situations along with many other Campaigns they did to promote LFF. As we were approaching different schools all over the country, students were used to different platforms depending on what the schools used in distance learning. So, it was not possible to use one single platform for us thus our organizing committee trained the volunteers to effectively use several online platforms in 4 different training sessions prior to the event so that the lesson could be effectively delivered. Lesson For Future being a fully virtual event created many network issues as well and our official network partners came for the rescue; Vencer Studios, Envie, White Code, Business Review Lanka, International Youth Alliance for Peace, Range Eye, Perabeats Life. The hard work of the organizing committee vice presidents for Partnership Development and Public Relationships M.N.F Hilma and Chamuditha Guruge and the immense support from the Executive body of AIESEC in University of Peradeniya was a crucial for the success of “Lesson For Future 2020” as well. The co-operation from the school teachers and the principals from the relevant schools contributed greatly to our success.
The key objective of conducting “Lesson For Future 2020” was to equip the future generation of Sri Lanka with the knowledge about the public safety protocols implemented by the government to protect the country from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis as well as similar outbreaks in the future while making them aware of the importance of the SDG 3, “Good health and Well-being”. Romali Perera,Organizing committee vice president for research and development was in charge of this aspect. With her hard work, on the 8th of July, 2020,we achieved our goal by approaching an audience of more than 5000 from more than 100 classes throughout the island just as we planned to. Our audience was from the ages 12 to 16 and we had structured our lesson to suit our audiences in a rather creative manner with digitized visual aids. We also organized a competition in line with the the event where the participants could send us any creative content on the topic “What I can do to Protect Myself, My Family & Friends from the Corona virus, to make Sri Lanka a healthier country”.A winner will be selected from each Class Room, leading to more than 100 winners from 100+ class rooms and a digital certificate will be awarded for them. Among them, Top 10 winners will be selected & their creations will be published in our Facebook Event with the name, school of the winners and a digital certificate will be awarded for them as well. The top ten winners will be given gifts by our Official Gifts Partners; Shan Bookshop Kandy & Cake-a-licious. Networking this many schools was not an easy task but organizing committee vice presidents for Networking; Kaushalya Rathnayake, Piumika Gunarathne and Dammini Angammana made this immense task a possibility. All this might just have been a dream if it wasn’t for Event Managers Hashan Thilakarathne and Priyadharshani Sivalingam, they pointed out every should and shouldn’t and steered the committee in the right direction.
We believe that, even though “Lesson For Future 2020” was a tiny step to reach the Sustainable development goal 3; “Good health and Well-being”, it made a huge impact on each and every student who took part in our event.