Sasha collaborated with us to produce capacity building tools to inspire youth action on sustainable development and train youth on effective advocacy in Europe.

Sasha provided us details of her experience in an exclusive interview:

Please introduce yourself. What is your name, age and country of residence?

“My name is Sasha Pratt. I am 25 years old and a political activist/campaigner based in London, United Kingdom.”

How did you become an editor for the toolkit series? What was your motivation?

“In the lead up to Rio+20 I realised that people were still not talking enough about the UNCSD or the Rio+20 summit and its relevance for future generations. I joined the collaborating group working on the toolkit as one of the authors and editor. My aim was to provide a basic guide for young people to learn about key issues at Rio+20 and become inspired to take meaningful actions before, during and after Rio+20, toward Sustainable Development in their own communities.”

Describe the editing process. What was it like?

“The writing and editing process for the toolkits began with writing basic summaries of the history of the UNSCD, the Rio+20 negotiating process and key conference themes. Once we established background information, sections focused on taking concrete actions for Sustainable Development. The goal for writing and editing was to use simple language and to include only the most essential information while keeping each portion short and user-friendly.

Creating our toolkit series took around 6-7 months from the initial research stage, to writing content, rounds of editing, consensus decisions among partners and publishing. On average, I worked about 10-15 hours each week creating content. Once the team settled on the content of each toolkit, we probably spent between 20-30 hours of editing and proofreading for each toolkit.”

You were also a Focal Point for the Outreach Team Leaders Initiative. What was your experience?

“As a Focal Point for the European Outreach and Capacity Building Team, my role was to coordinate the distribution of our Rio+20 toolkit series via the network of volunteers the toolkit team recruited and trained that reside across Eastern and Western Europe. Being a Focal Point for Europe was a challenging but extremely rewarding experience. I learned a lot about leading and effectively communicating with a team of people, despite only being able to communicate online, particularly through out social media group.

In total I worked with 45 volunteers in 20 countries. Many volunteers speak a variety of languages and live in different time zones. It was sometimes a juggling act to keep the volunteers motivated and simultaneously work as a toolkit editor, but it was worth it to see how many young people have learned from the trainings and toolkits. I was inspired by the many young people who actively volunteered their time to take action for Sustainable Development. A bonus for me as a Focal Point is that I gained a lot of new friends all over the world!”

Describe your collaboration with EOTO World. How did the collaboration function?

“I had the chance to work with EOTO World’s Executive Director, Elischia Fludd, who collaborated very closely with me throughout the process of creating the Rio+20 toolkit series. Elischia was great to work with and got involved at all stages of developing the toolkit. As one of the core content editors, she authored some sections of the toolkits and also assisted me with each stage of editing for each toolkit.

EOTO World was a fantastic collaborator for our project, using their established network and social media channels to help share this valuable resource with a whole new audience. EOTO World was particularly influential in keeping the style of the toolkit easily accessible for those with little or no experience of Sustainable Development at the UN level and making it relevant to young people from a diverse range of backgrounds. ”

What are some quick tips you can give Activists that would help them inspire others via writing?

“For activists who want to write to inspire others, I would say the best thing you can do is to keep it simple. Stick to what you know best and avoid using jargon. Add a personal touch, wherever possible and explain why what you are writing is relevant to you, or how it relates to a wider global issue.”

Now that the toolkits have been completed and disseminated, how do you feel about the impact it is having on youth around the world?

“I am relieved that the creation and editing process is finished and that the Rio+20 toolkit series has been distributed around the world. I am so excited that we are able to reach out to young activists everywhere, to demystify the UNCSD and to contribute to the youth movement for Sustainable Development. I am hoping it will continue to be used as a tool for a whole new wave of young people to get involved with the UNCSD processes because even though Rio+20 is over, Sustainable Development remains a huge global challenge and a necessity to address for the future we want to see.”

What is next for you?

“Right now, I am focusing on working with OXFAM GB on their GROW campaign for Food Justice. As a local campaigner, I am lobbying the UK government to champion the rights of small-scale farmers globally. I am also a speaker and educator with OXFAM, so I will continue teaching young people in schools and community groups about Food Justice, Climate Change and other Sustainable Development issues.”