The Power of the BIG "V"

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It is a twelve letters magic word that, if fully embraced by policy makers from all over the world, has the potential to radically transform for better the lives of millions of people especially the youth.

Unfortunately, this word has some image problems and is short of “coolness”: it is too long, not really appealing nor catchy and yet is already re-defining the lives of so many people, often helping creating new understandings and a common denominator among folks from different walks of life.

I call it the big “V” and I have been passionate about it since many years and I am not the only one!

When in action, the big “V” is a transformative tool helping people empowering themselves through self-learning and positive contributions, helping planet earth becoming a better place to live, one that is fairer, more just and more sustainable.

The real deal with the big “V” is that its scope and potential is so vast and still so unexploited that it is easily dismissed just as a nice “stuff”, not taken too seriously, too unpretentious and too often misunderstood.

As consequence no wonders it ends up taking too little credit for what it helps solving and not surprisingly the big shots in the decision making around the world do not understand its vital role and contribution.

And yet there are multitudes of people (yes there are plenty of them) involved with the big “V” but the problem is that they do not make the headlines: they are too passionate, too engaged and too busy and unassuming to promote what they do.

There few big organizations entirely focused on supporting and recognizing the work of all “Veers”, the peaceful and engaged folks committed on the big “V” but too often they and their groups, formal and informal alike go unnoticed.

It is high time we turned around this situation: from youth unemployment to the fights against climate change and social inequality, Veers should be given not only the due acknowledgement but all the support they deserve in their day in and day out struggles to make the world a better place, communities after communities in the most advanced nations as well as in the emerging ones.

Serving unselfishly, Veers are the unsung change makers that can help shaping new policies and actions to make our societies more sustainable, more just and more inclusive.

All over the world, political leaders are vying for magic formula to implement the Agenda 2030, the global “launch-pad” for achieving and promoting the Sustainable Development Goals, the set of milestones agreed in 2015 at the United Nations that are our new moral imperatives.

Recently more attention emerged not only on the roles governments, at central and local level, can have in bringing forward doable solutions to eradicate poverty, social injustices and climate change.

Finally attention has been given to the power of citizens and the roles they can play in the communities in which they are embedded.

Big financial commitments and policy actions taken at the top echelons of policy making in matters of outmost priorities for our planet can only be effective if matched by micro-actions at local levels where citizens from all walks of life contribute and participate.

And here is when the big “V” powerfully enters in action.

The big “V” stands for an unwavering commitment for a better society and it also stands for learning and self-empowerment because when you start doing something related to it, you start getting involved, you start thinking about solutions that can make your neighborhood, your community and the wider society where you live a better place, all dynamics that help you becoming not only a better person but also a laureate in active citizenship.

As a result, not only communities and the ecosystems surrounding them become better but the same Veers get better too, in terms of self- confidence, positive values, and attitudes and that’s not all.


While helping you forging a character and a sense of self-leadership that will help you lead a life where you are part of the solution rather than just a passive spectator just capable of complaining, the big “V” is a learning platform that offers you the opportunity to develop new skills, those you can use to find a new job or create new ones.

In short as a key enabler for personal development, an incubator for generating new passions and a sense of hope that the future can be better, the big “V” can help you moving ahead at life.

Leveraging the big “V” means uplifting millions and millions of hopeless youth from all over the world.

By getting engaged with the big “V”, these youth will acquire new capabilities and a build an enduring belief that problems can be solved, that governments need their involvement to address the most pressing issues of our times.

The big “V” can also have an important inter-generational dimension as the youngster can learn from their elders in truly inclusive partnerships for positive changes.

Fully leveraging and harnessing its spirit can truly be a unique antidote against the frustrations that often drive radicalization, extreme views and that sense of despair that push many in the hands of criminals, including human traffickers.

If you are still guessing who the Veers are, visualize a peaceful army of active and committed citizens, including members of minority and vulnerable groups, all giving their time trying to achieve some good and perhaps you might end up seeing yourself or some of your relatives or some of your friends in action.

It is high time the big “V” truly become mainstreamed and turned into the coolest thing to embrace.

The progress being made till now to promote and support it is not enough, too marginal and too far from the spotlights.

In short, too few really care about it and too few really take it seriously.

Perhaps we should start from today with a rebranding and re-styling exercise, an exercise that should be followed by massive discussions at local and global levels to make a stronger “business” case for investing in the big “V”.

We need a global effort here, involving the usual trendy “thought leaders” but also the “underdogs” because ultimately the big “V” is the greatest equalizer at our disposal, the best way to bring people together as grassroots change makers and activists.

Can you guess now the powerful word made by these 12 magic letters?

Be sure that is not a new cult or a new trendy thing but a phenomenon that has been with us, the human being, since day one of our existence where we progressed out of our instincts of survival and competition but also out of our innate sense of self-help and altruism.

While not an alternative to the creation of massive jobs opportunities for the youth, the big ‘V” can truly be a game-changer.

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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