How can you use social media and digital tools to enhance and amplify big themes and preocupaptions for mankind? This is a big area exploding and the power of big data and digital have been enabling organisations to reach bigger audiences and call attention for big issues and let people know how everyone of us can contribute to change.
A strong topic as peace is something we all hear about since school days. How do you believe in being able to live in a peaceful world at least for one day? Well, with this in mind and using digital and social media tools, one day, 15 years ago an ordinary citizen decided to create the organization Peace One Day. The organization promoted there idea heavily using creative digital tools and a social media ecosystem to take it global.
The organisation’s goal is to “institutionalise Peace Day 21 September.” Peace One Day has carried out a variety of campaigns in a range of different areas to show that the day works. These have included activities in the arenas of education, dance, film, music, sport, art and online.
Peace One Day argues that many people in all countries worldwide have been active on peace day, and that equally many organisations have “carried out life-saving activities in areas of conflict”. Peace One Day was founded by Jeremy Gilley in 1999. The organisation is a non-profit that has grown considerably.
Gilley’s initial foray into this area was starting to question humanity and peace through the use of film. He created a documentary which tracked his activities in working towards putting in place an annual day that would be about non-violence and when there would be a ceasefire.
The United Nations took up Gilley’s idea in 2001 and the vote was unanimous. September 21st was assigned Peace Day. This has led to the current objective of institutionalising the day, with a goal of making itself sustaining, or as Peace One Day puts it: “An annual day of global unity, a day of intercultural cooperation on a scale that humanity has never known.”
Peace One Day has achieved some admirable successes. In particular, on Peace Day in 2008, there was a reported 70% reduction in violent incidents in Afghanistan. Gilley has also created a number of coalitions to embrace different types of peace. For example, there is the NGO Coalition, the Reducing Domestic Violence Coalition, the Student Coalition, the Faith Coalition, the Media Coalition, the Corporate Coalition and even the Schools Network.
Gilley became a spokes person for his amazing project. In the following video he explains how what seemed like a “crazy idea”, to persuade the world to try living in peace for just one day, became institutionalized and a reality. Why 21st of Setember ? Because of his grandfather.
Gilley has also got big business involved in Peace One Day, and in 2012 McKinsey & Company analysed the 2012 Peace Day results. The organisation generated a report that noted that people in 198 countries were aware of Peace Day, and that in total 280 million knew what it was. In 2013, figures almost doubled that, and it was found that 470 million people were aware of Peace Day, a jump of 68% in just one year.
The goal is to build on this and to bring awareness of Peace Day to 1.5 billion in 2014 and to 3 billion people by 2016. The overarching theme driving is the concept of “Who will you make peace with?” It is hoped that this will lead to a considerable reduction in violence and in particular in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Great Lakes region in Africa where a three year project is being run to raise awareness. Among the life-saving activities that have taken place on Peace Day have included significant efforts in Afghanistan.
Indeed, Peace One Day reports that since 2007 as a result of Peace Day it has been possible to immunise 4.5 million children against polio in areas that are hard to reach at other times due to conflict. This has been possible due to collaboration between the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Afghan health authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as various health NGOs.
In addition, as a result of Peace One Day activities in 2010 alone, in 31 countries, 88 life-saving and humanitarian activities were undertaken by 28 organisations. Peace One Day has achieved support at the highest levels and works to spread its diplomatic network to make sure that governments get involved, as well as intergovernmental organisations and parties involved in conflict.
Noteworthy endorsements include that of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, as well as the UN SRSG for the DRC Martin Kobler, the UN SESG for the Great Lakes region of Africa, Said Djinnit, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, and the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague, among many others.
Some of these endorsements may be watched in video form on the Peace One Day website. John Lennon said, “Give peace a chance,” and no doubt if he were still alive today he’d be a firm advocate of Peace One Day. We can all hope that Peace One Day achieves its targets, and indeed that maybe one day there is no need for the activities of Peace One Day, as the world will live in peace. We’re a ways off but just maybe it could happen.
The social media channels for the event are the following:
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.