Thank you for joining us at LEARNBLUE in our fight to build a better tomorrow for all! #ItBeginsWithUs
2020 — The Year Of… What Exactly?
How do you even begin to define a year that itself defined and redefined the way we breathe, eat, travel, talk, work, play, socialise, learn, teach… and LIVE?! The longest year in which the time seemed to stand still saw the worst pandemic the world has seen in more than a century. The lost year witnessed human suffering like no other. Words will always fall short to describe the sheer scale of misery and hardships that people all across the globe faced, and the numbers would not capture the hidden emotions, ordeals, and torment beneath loss of lives and livelihoods amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘wasted’ year was marked by heightened inequalities and aggravated poverty levels. The worst of the year threatened all progress made on the fronts of education, gender equality, climate change, and quality of life. Yet, in between the endless lockdowns, continuous Work-From-Home, and never-ending wait for the COVID-19 vaccines, 2020 provided us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pause and reflect upon what has been going wrong in our approach to co-exist with our environment and its various elements.
In a moment of epiphany, most of us, if not all, realized that our existence is not just heavily but entirely dependent on Nature. Unless the Environment is safe and healthy, humanity cannot sustain for long. In a year when everything changed, we understood that our efforts to create a sustainable future had to transcend all kinds of racial, social, gender, and national differences.
At LEARNBLUE, 2020 further strengthened our vision to continue bringing about positive change all over the world by leveraging social media to amplify conversations that affect us. Indeed, it was a year of hits and misses, but we have strived & thrived to work towards the achievement of Sustainability, using the Global Goals as a roadmap from here onwards.
Presenting to you our yearly work, achievements, and a few missed opportunities in what should now be called The Year of Change.
- Launch of the LEARNBLUE’s Website and Blog
Throughout the year, we kept redesigning our website to make it visually appealing, user friendly, and better tell our story. In its current form, it has every possible information about our Gen-Z led nonprofit organization — from our story to our mission. In April 2020, we launched our blog which is a collection of well-researched articles and op-eds with unique perspectives, written by our Creative Writing Team. It will be worth your time to take a look and go through what LEARNBLUE’s prolific set of writers have to say about various global affairs:
- Team Representation
During the year, our LEARNBUE family expanded significantly. At present, we have at least one representative from countries like Australia, China, France, India, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States of America. In different roles and departments, each member of our team has made effective contributions to making LEARNBLUE what it is today. Along with the present members, we are indebted to our former team members for their work in expanding the reach and horizons of the organization. In a year like no other, we bade farewell to the following members who are now a valued part of our extended community:
|Name of the Member||Position held at LEARNBLUE||Country|
|Juvaria Shahid||Programmes Director/Co-founder||U.S.A.|
|Pierina Mille||Content Curator||France|
|Andrew Semasa||Director of Creative Design||Nigeria|
|Eric Brousse de Gersigny||Director of Operations/Content Curator||France/Mauritius|
|Eduard Rostomyan||Director of Marketing/Co-founder||Armenia/Italy|
|Saad Irfan||Director of Technology||Pakistan|
|Stanley Anigbogu||Innovations Team Member||Morocco/Nigeria|
- Partners and Collaborators
LEARNBLUE continues to benefit from the generosity of our supporters We Are Family Foundation. We are grateful to them for their continued support and commitment.
This year, we collaborated with Gen-Z led nonprofits, The Urban Garden Initiative (TUGI) and Empower The People by supporting their webinars where our Executive Director, Joshua Oluwaseyi, was invited as one of the speakers. In the upcoming months, we shall work closely with TUGI in order to increase the physical outreach of both the nonprofit organizations with a larger goal of encouraging more youth participation in positive and sustainable environmental practices.
In addition, we partnered with Consumers Advocate for an article to highlight the stigma around mental health, understand the causes of mental illness, and inform the readers about online therapy options reviewed by Consumers Advocate. Lastly, we had Peagital Agency, the startup responsible for Imaginact, to champion our organization rebrand, including logo redesign and other consultancy services related to how the LEARNBLUE Story is told through its Brand Identity.
- #SaveMauritiusReef: The Mauritius Oil Spill Campaign
In 2019, we initiated the #AmazonFire campaign to call attention to the Amazon fires in Brazil. The campaign garnered a huge support on social media and around 4,596 people supported our demand of an urgent action to mitigate the disastrous consequences of Amazon Rainforest fires by the Brazilian government led by Jair Bolsonaro. In the same year, we launched our largest-ever campaign in Nigeria, #ForACleanerLagos, wherein we managed to reach out to at least 1.3 million youths. The accompanying cleanup activities led to the recycling of over 11 tons of non-biodegradable waste. Our other sustainable development awareness campaign, #LearnSDGsWLB (Learn Sustainable Development Goals With LEARNBLUE), reached over 910k people on social media.
Cut to July 2020, when a Japanese ship named MK Wakashio struck a coral reef on the southeast coast of Mauritius and resulted in an oil spill of over 1,000 tons into the Indian Ocean, LEARNBLUE started the #SaveMauritiusReef campaign to raise awareness and hold the Mauritian government responsible for mishandling the crisis. Among our many demands, we asked for more transparency regarding the situation and establishment of rehabilitation centers. After a month-long series of blog posts and social media posts, our petition was signed by 1,413 people from all across the globe. Our co-founders and team members worked tirelessly to raise funds for the cleanup process at the site of tragedy. Time and again, our work has been a testimony of the power and influence of youth in changing the world as we know it.
- Social Media Presence
Leveraging our social media presence on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, we raised awareness about Quality Education (SDG 4), Gender Equality (Goal 14), Climate Action (SDG 13), Life Below Water (SDG 14), Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10), Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQIA+ Rights, and Human Rights among other issues. Through #BlueStats, #BlueQuotes, Did You Know posts, and How To Help posts, we spread the idea of positive change — a change which begins with educating ourselves about the urgent challenges of the 21st century. Cummalatively, we reached 341000 people between April and May ending. Needless to say, the social media has been an integral catalyst in promoting our vision of #It(Change)BeginsWithUs.
- Vision for the year 2021
As 2020 — the very definition of trauma, trials, tragedy, chaos, dilemma, despair, and what not — draws to a close, it is worth reminding ourselves that all is not lost. The year proved that nothing can beat the strength, resilience, perseverance, kindness, empathy, and hope shown by human beings in the face of all odds. Surely at colossal costs, but our courage and hope can defeat any and every kind of virus.
This was the year when everyone realized the importance of frontline workers and healthcare professionals. This was the year when Science triumphed over Politics. This was the year when people realized the gravity of mental health. This was the year when we remembered the value of family, friends, nature, and everyone and everything that we took for granted until now. This was the year when we learned some invaluable lessons in love, joyful giving, and empathy. This was indeed the year when we recognized the significance of our priceless lives and how privileged our existence has been since the day we were born.
In the past 366 days that we have lived through, we have seen almost everything — from bizarre Australian bushfires and raging California fires; Beirut explosion to political demonstrations in various parts of the world; from severe lockdowns to WFH; from sinking economies and shooting unemployment rates to negative oil prices; and from the dominance of an unwanted, unknown novel coronavirus to successful vaccination efforts. Yet in a wild ride that was 2020, we witnessed how the #BlackLivesMatter movement became mainstream; how authoritative governments were severely challenged, how the #EndSARS movement took over the internet; how the United States of America saw the worst time in its history, but now is heading for recovery and healing — perhaps, now is the time for change. Now is the time for hope.
On the environmental front as well, 2020 might be that year when the world witnessed blue skies and clear waters, and finally decided to reverse centuries of climate damage. European Union leaders agreed to strengthen the Continent’s climate goals and pledged a new target of 55 percent greenhouse-gas reduction by 2030; China would aim to start reducing its carbon pollution by 2030 — and achieve net-zero by 2060; and the US elected Joe Biden who has pledged and promised to support Climate Action. Early signs are welcoming, and we are hopeful that each one of us will learn from our past mistakes as well as negligence of climate change.
In a rather forgettable end of the year, we at LEARNBLUE, reiterate our commitment to engage with the youths to solve the biggest challenges of our present societies in every way possible. We could have done a lot during this year, but 2021 shall be a fresh start for our team and the work we do.
As the time slips by and a new dawn ushers in, the LEARNBLUE team wish you an awesome, healthy, and happy 2021! From this moment, there shall be no looking back. Onwards and upwards!
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