David Ohana, the lad from Australia now working WITH UNICEF AND Beyonce's TEAM to end an entire country's water CRISIS.... and more
Today the world seems to be suffocating in tragedy, as the disparity between countries continues to increase. One person who has seen these tragedies more than most is David Ohana, Chief of Brand at UNICEF, former emergencies and disasters comms specialist and employee of The Conscience Organisation.
On Friday 12 January, David came back to our offices to talk to a captive and inspired audience about some of his experiences, from being one of the first on the ground during the catastrophic Haiti earthquakes, to travelling to the Polar Ice Rim with the head of the United Nations, to working with Beyoncé's team to provide clean and safe water to communities in East Africa.
Here are three things we learned from his talk about how to make real change happen in the world.
Think small then scale up
Ohana understands that it’s easy for an organisation with the scale and ambassadorship of UNICEF to create content that millions see. But endorsements from celebrities executing big campaigns that receive billions of impressions don’t necessarily lead to change. UNICEF's aim is to not only create awareness of large- scale issues impacting children around the world, but to create, specific, immediate, measurable change for children living in vulnerable areas.
A recent example of Ohana and UNICEF’s focused work is their collaboration with Beyoncé’s philanthropic arm- BeyGood. Together, they created a new initiative aimed at bringing clean water to citizens of Burundi, East Africa. They started with a few small villages last year, then scaled up - and by the end of next year, large parts of the country will have access to clean drinking water, hopefully leading to profound change within the country. From words to actions.
Don’t accept the status quo
UNICEF’s focus is on saving lives and improving the quality of life of women and children. Ohana and UNICEF saw many days on the calendar devoted to women and mothers but what about children? On 20 November 2017 Ohana led the launch of the inaugural World Children's Day globally (across over 160 countries) with UNICEF inviting children from around the world to take over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to voice their support for millions of their peers who are unschooled, unprotected and uprooted. A day of action to help save children's lives, fight for their rights and help them fulfil their potential.
#KidsTakeOver gave a voice to the millions of children whose voices remain unheard, with high profile stars and leaders including Prime-Minister Trudeau, President Macron, David Beckham, Millie Bobby Brown, Hugh Jackman, P!nk, The Pope, Shakira, Malala and Messi, lending their support to the initiative. The campaign reached over 7 billion media impressions, and has created a day on the calender, which, in future years can help move the needle for some of the world's most vulnerable children. Another shift from words, and impressions, to actions and change.
Everyone can help regardless of age or industry background
David Ohana’s first run-in with the UN happened when he was just 20. Ohana needed to pick a client to create a marketing campaign for one of his university classes, which led to him to (jokingly) contacting the United Nations in New York, and 'offer the services of his agency, pro bono'. Long story short, Ohana and his team created the campaign that the UN was looking for, and beat out other bigger advertising agencies.
Years later, Ohana, who was named the 2002 Young Australian of the Year for Community Service, found himself working at none other than The Conscience Organisation before taking the skills he learned in advertising - emotive storytelling and problem solving to the United Nations, and UNICEF
David emphasised the fact that if you’re someone who solves problems, like marketers, creative and strategists - then you can be a huge asset in helping to solve the world's ongoing humanitarian crises.
If you wish to join World Children's Day 2018 or simply join the conversation with UNICEF, David has the following suggestions;
1- Learn more about UNICEF: www.unicef.org and how to get involved in World Children’s Day: http:// www.worldchildrensday.org
2- Stay on top of global issues by following the news (both sides of the argument), sharing stories, and speaking out.
3- Volunteer your time with UNICEF and partners, or join the team at UNICEF in Australia: https:// www.unicef.org.au/about-us/working-with-us or the UN around the world: https://careers.un.org
5- And if you don't have the time or $ to do any of the above... what about a 'random act of kindness' for someone else , starting today. Imagine if everyone did? That would mean over 7 billion positive interactions every single day. What a cool world that would be :)
About Our Community Events:
Each quarter, The Conscience Organisation runs a community event in our gallery space, inspired by the former art gallery openings - where kids and adults spilled out onto the street, listening to poets, browsing artworks and chalk drawing on the footpath - all the while meeting new people over a few drinks and excellent food.
In the past we have covered, 'combining passion with purpose', 'Resilience', 'Fostering an elite team' and 'change for good'; with speakers such as Ronni Kahn, CEO of Oz Harvest, Josh Kennedy, Captain of the Sydney Swans, Steven Marks, CEO of Guzman Y Gomez, Luke Baylis of Sumo Salad and Jo Burston Founder of Inspiring Rare Birds.
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