UN75 Prison Outreach with UN75 Writing Competition

The UN75 Prison Outreach with UN75 writing competition is an initiative within the framework of UN75 which is been implemented with the help of UNESCO and Local Youth Corner (LOYOC) a Cameroonian NGO working in Cameroonian prisons. The initiative is aimed at reaching out to prisoners to collect their voices and opinions regarding the future of the world. 

Since the start of June, LOYOC has mobilized young people to build resilience in prisons against COVID-19 in Cameroon through the provision of preventive kits (by helping prisoners produce soap and face masks), sensitization, counter misinformation and fake news in prisons; This campaign is, therefore, a fruitful avenue to share information about UN75 to inmates and capture their views on the world they want.

The UN75 campaign will be carried out in different prisons and from July- August, a writing competition will be launched where prisoners all over Cameroon will write an article of 500 words or design arts in line with the world they want. The activities will be carried out according to WHO guidelines and local health regulations by LOYOC Volunteers.

About the Prison Essay Competition

Yearly, LOYOC organizes a prison essay competition and this year’s edition will be the fourth edition in a row, with its theme on UN75. The campaign/competition will be carried out in mainly four prisons, the central prisons in Bamenda, Kribi, Kumba, and Buea. This campaign is focused on adults (18-35), women, and juvenile prisoners. Around 90% of Cameroonian prisoners are under 35, so it’s a young population. In addition to writing articles, the inmates will also draw or paint items of their choice. All inmates are open to the competition because according to some of the released prisoners, this writing competition has helped them to heal.

About the UN75 Campaign

In January, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched the UN75 Campaign, the world’s biggest conversation on building a better future for all. The Campaign was launched as the UN is turning 75 later this year. The idea behind the Campaign is to spark conversations or create UN75 dialogues in different settings.

In Cameroon, UN75 was launched on social media in January and on the field during Youth Day, celebrated on February 11. During this day, interviews were conducted, and discussions were held with various participants on how they see the future of the world and what role the UN should play. The second event was held in Bamenda with 30 young participants, artists, and leaders from different NGOs. The UN75 survey has been sent out to partners who have forwarded the survey to their vast networks.

With UN75, we would like to hear from all communities: from civil society to business, local government to religious groups, arts to sports. We particularly want to engage youth and those whose voices are often not heard in global discussions, such as indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, migrants, and displaced people. Prisoners are a group of individuals often overlooked, but their voices should also count. With the outbreak of COVID-19, we need to carry on the work with our partners in the field while listening to the WHO guidelines and local health regulations.

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