Liisa Puusepp

October is a human rights month in Estonia. For upscaling this message, Bridge 47 partner Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation organised in partnership with Tallinn University a GCE event in form of physical polling machine for local and international students and staff of the university.

The aim of the event was to spread the message that we have a long way to go to achieve equality as well as to gather opinions and pledges in this matter. Here is a blog written by a Tallinn University staff member who helped to organise the event, sharing her thoughts and conclusions.

There are many ways and possibilities to express your mind. We can make our choice in the parliamentary elections, or in front of the ballot box. This is our opportunity, our commitment. We also have the opportunity to take part in civic initiatives, demonstrations if necessary, share our messages through social media, express opinions in articles, be involved in local or regional level, and educate ourselves. Through all this, to be a conscious global citizen and to act and behave in our life in such a way that we can contribute to the UN Sustainable development Goals (SDGs).

Despite the fact that Estonia advertises itself as a digital state - the elections take place here digitally - it is sometimes nice to express an opinion in a tangible way. The Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation (AKÜ) with Bridge 47 - an international consortium for global citizenship education - have designed a showy polling machine for public opinion polls.

As a first attempt, the machine was placed at Tallinn University (Tallinn University is also a member of the Estonian Coalition for Sustainable Development), so that both members and guests could express their opinion on the very topical issue. A question was asked in a form of a statement: ‘I consider it to be important to reduce inequalities in Estonian society and I make a personal contribution whenever possible’ with answers ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘maybe’. This is not just a question of Goal 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries. It clearly reflects our daily needs, desires, notices. The distribution of answers clearly indicates that we are ready to contribute to the situation that we need equality and solidarity in our society.

Around 2,000 people participated in polling with 80% of voters answering yes, which also meant them making a personal promise to contribute. 10% voted against the statement and 10% could not decide on their opinion on this matter. Overall, the event fulfilled its purpose by reminding people the issues of human rights as well as encouraged them to make a personal contribution for reducing inequalities whenever possible.

AKÜ has created a great opportunity for collecting ideas, opinions, knowledge and answers. It would be great to test it using different questions connected with SDGs in different places. Hopefully, the results helped communicate these topics more clearly and more closely to global citizens. And why not to test it in the Parliament?

About the Author

Liisa Puusepp

Liisa Puusepp is a Researcher at the School of Natural Sciences and Health of Tallinn University