Social Good Summit Kabul Goes Viral

Sep 28, 2014

UNDP Afghanistan / Sayed Omer: At Social Good Summit Kabul, panel members (from left to right), Zabiullah Sunny, MIS Manager at Agriculture Development Fund, Shaharzad Akbar, Country Director at Open Society Foundations, Mujeeb Khalvatgar, Executive Director of Nai, and Bahadur Hellali, systems developer and entrepreneur discuss how social media and digital technology can be smartly tapped to change ordinary people’s lives in Afghanistan.

UNDP Afghanistan, in partnership with the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University, brought together on 21 September 2014 over a hundred students, civil society activists, computer programme developers and entrepreneurs for the 2014 Social Good Summit Kabul to join a global crowd on how new media and technology can contribute to the future of our planet.

This was part of a bigger initiative in which UNDP led at the global level a conversation on 21 and 22 September through social good summits in New York and across the world on the role technology and innovations have to play in achieving equality for all by 2030. These efforts took place just before the high-level events at the UN General Assembly in New York, making sure voices from around the globe reach world leaders.

Upon opening the summit in Kabul, the UNDP Country Director for Afghanistan, Ms. Marta Ruedas, called the event a “unique opportunity” to connect people. She encouraged young Afghans to take a prominent part in this global conversation. "Let the people around the world know how Afghan youth are engaged in crafting innovative solutions to respond to people’s basic needs such as literacy, health counselling and price information for crops, and thus attract global attention," said Ms. Ruedas.

This summit featured a project that raised funds for Badakhshan landslide victims by using the social media, and initiatives that have made literacy lessons, health counselling and money transactions possible through mobile phones. In addition, a panel composed of Afghan civil society activists and technology experts discussed how social media and digital technology can mobilize people to raise their voices, change people’s behaviour towards their living environment, reinvent the way we learn, and enable farmers to receive real-time market information to increase their income. Engagement during the panel discussion was very dynamic. Participants asked questions, expressed views as well as shared live updates with their networks on social media.

Forming a platform to connect with the Social Good Summit in New York City and social good meetups in 170 countries in 45 languages, as well as with the broader Afghan community on social media, the Kabul summit attendees— one third of whom were female— tweeted their views, photos and updates from the event using #2030Now and #SGSKabul.

Tweets on Social Good Summit Kabul were enthusiastically favourited and retweeted locally by Afghans and globally by UNDP colleagues and plus_SocialGood twitter. The plus_SocialGood website has run two stories on the Kabul summit one of which mentioned Afghanistan as one of the top three contributors, alongside India and Belorussia, to the Social Good Summit globally. A segment of the story reads, “The Social Good Summit in Kabul hosted by UNDP Afghanistan in partnership with the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University set the stage for an electrifying conversation about the power of social media to connect people.” The Afghanistan social good hashtag, #SGSKabul, has gone viral, which even ended up being retweeted by the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark twitter to around 7,000 of her followers.

This record engagement of Afghans at a global level signifies their craving for change in their lives and the degree they identify with new media and technology in a country tainted with conflict, corruption and illiteracy.

* You can find a summary of the tweets about Social Good Summit Kabul on plus_SocialGood’s storify. To read more tweets about the summit, look up the hashtag #SGSKabul

Some tweets of #SGSKabul:

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