Thousands of young leaders from 190 different countries recently united for the One Young World summit in The Hague where they debated and shared innovative solutions for the most pressing issues the world faces. Among the ambassadors from global organisations nominated to attend was Claire Acton in consulting, chosen as one of 42 Deloitte colleagues from 18 countries. She says that global events like this can bring about change… but you do not have to be a delegate to be part of a movement like this. You can join now.
Sir John Major, Mary Robinson, Akon and David Sproul: what do they have in common? They were all on stage speaking at One Young World 2018, which I was lucky enough to attend.
From poverty to plastic pollution, education to youth unemployment, thousands of us were there to share ideas and debate innovative ways to solve the most pressing issues the world faces today.
Have you heard the argument that one person switching off a lightbulb is not going to make much of a difference to global warming – but if you can get hundreds or thousands to think about energy usage, it can be the start of a global change in behaviour?
This is how One Young World seeks to tackle the world’s most complex problems, like pollution, education, or social justice. It’s also the way our One Million Futures initiative works.
Here in the UK, Deloitte set out on an ambitious plan to change the futures of one million people. This fits into Deloitte’s global ambition to support 50 million people through education, skills development, and access to opportunities.
Doing this depends on people – like you and me – who (to return to the lightbulb analogy) decide to make one small change. How is it done? By volunteering our time, energy and expertise to support local grass-root initiatives and charities.
It was recognition of my work for BeyondMe that led to me being invited to attend One Young World 2018 by Deloitte’s Talent and Responsible Business teams.
BeyondMe works by matching the specialist skills of teams with charities in need of business expertise. Before taking the helm to lead the BeyondMe initiative within Deloitte, over a period of two years, my team and I partnered with a charity called Spark Inside, which offers coaching in prisons with the aim to reduce reoffending rates. This not only benefits society by reducing crime, it can be truly transformative particularly to young offenders.
Take Christopher, 20, who started stealing clothes from shopping centres aged just eight and then graduated to selling drugs at 12 before inevitably ending up in jail. He says he would probably have ended up back in prison for a third time if it wasn’t for Spark Inside’s workshops, which helped him to see there was more to life than jail and who now says “I’ve got hope for the future”.
He is just one person helped. We are just one small group of volunteers who gave our time. It adds up to one big difference.
One thing I took away from One Young World was the passion and energy, but also frustration and anger among the delegates. They were impatient for more to be done to tackle global problems. The solution? More of us need to start switching off those metaphorical light bulbs, and make a difference.
Most of us can give a charity project an hour of our time each week, so why not become the change you want to see?