Let’s Do It Greece

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Let’s Do It Greece is the country’s largest concurrent environmental campaign, organized entirely by volunteers, young people who love volunteering and altruism. The distinctive feature of the campaign is that volunteering events, environmentally oriented, are being organized on the same day and at the same time all over Greece. In 2017, the 6th continuous year of the campaign, more than 109,000 volunteers participated in over 1,500 volunteering events across the country.

Many of the volunteers, who were involved in the campaign since the very beginning, live now abroad, however they continue to support Let’s do it Greece from a distance. When we interviewed them, the first thing they said was “We got to grow alongside our campaign and our relationship with our team, our country and fellow volunteers all over Greece remains strong!”

Currently, five out of twenty-five people in the core volunteer team, Anastasis and Yannis in England, Irene in Scotland, Vasilis in Spain and Antonia in France are contributing from a distance to website and social media management, communications, digital marketing, organizing the campaign, and representing the country in international volunteering conferences. Of course, wherever they are in Greece, they are actively involved in the team’s meetings and actions.

What motivated you to take this initiative?

Antonia: In 2009, I started my involvement with the environmental association “Time for Action”, supporting the events and the internal organization. Today, as a member of the Association, I actively participate in the Let’s do it Greece campaign. Our care for the environment and our youthful excitement prompted us not to limit ourselves to locally but to envision, to set higher targets and to explore larger campaigns.

Anastasis: Following our graduation from high school, in 2008 we established an environmental association to continue our engagement with environmental activities. In 2011, we saw a video of a campaign launched in Estonia which has now spread on a global scale. We decided, waveringly at first, to try and bring something similar in Greece, to unite the whole country in a big embrace.

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What obstacles did you encounter in your effort?

Antonia: Anyone could imagine the difficulties that a group of young people can face in front of a global campaign. In organization, communication, approaching people, management, promotion, planning… Surely, equipped with persistence, patience, ideas and good communication within the team we overcame many of the obstacles easier than we thought.

Anastasis: The greatest challenge we faced was to organize a national volunteer campaign from scratch, which of course none of us had done before. How do you set a plan, how do you build relationships of trust, how do you bring people from every corner of the country together, people who have never met each other? We soon realized that the answer was emphasis on personal relationships and complete transparency over our campaign. We focused on the personal communication with our volunteers and at the same time we started developing our strategic planning, capturing for the first time our goals and operation mode on paper. Our fundamental decision was the creation of a network of volunteers – coordinators throughout Greece and the adoption of a zero budget – zero print philosophy. Key elements of this philosophy are, a clear preference for in-kind contributions by our supporters to minimise our involvement with funds, and the avoidance of centralized prints to reduce the campaign’s environmental footprint.

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What response did you receive from the public and how did you approach it?

Antonia: The approach was through social networks, emails, letters, phone calls, skype calls and visiting coordinators across Greece to get to know the family we found and continue to grow day by day. The response was and continues to be great, which gives us strength and positive energy to continue to try and share with even more volunteers the same goal, with our campaign motto: “Be the change you are waiting for!”

Anastasis: The transparency we have in our campaign and the fact that we all work as volunteers, many us being young people, has helped plenty to build trust. After so many years, it feels like a Big Family of Volunteers with inspired volunteers, creative citizens from every corner of Greece, and we are very proud to know them and to have shared so many moments of joy with them!

What were the results of your campaign so far?

Anastasis: In the first year, almost 20,000 volunteers were involved on the same day all over Greece. Since then and every year our campaign grows more, and together with it we grow too. With great will and passion, with the advantage of diversity within our core team and the decisiveness of our coordinators in every corner of the country, we surpassed the 109,000 volunteers in our 2017 campaign. On 2 April 2017, 1% of Greece participated in Let’s do it Greece! We experienced a great rise of events in schools by our young volunteers, through the “Let’s do it Greece” Volunteering Week in schools. This is a week of environmental events taking place each year the week before the action, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. In 2017, more than 1,400 schools participated, 1 in 10 schools of the country!

Antonia: It is difficult to believe the results of these actions day by day, year after year. We see that Greeks, youngsters, children, middle-aged and older people are eager to try and devote some of their precious time to making our environment better. We are inspired by each other to achieve the impossible and make, in a single day, our neighborhoods, our forests, our beaches, our schools more beautiful… And most importantly, this changes the way we live, think and act. That is why we aim to mobilize, day by day, more volunteers, more children, young people, adults, and volunteering and offering to become a way of living!

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What are your plans for the immediate and distant future?

Antonia: To mobilize as many Greeks as possible with the aim of sharing our goal, our love for the environment, and to convince them that everyone has to do their bit for a better and more beautiful environment.

Anastasis: We are now in preparation of the next national event, which will take place on 29 April 2018. Each year we give a slightly different theme to our campaign, and this year we will focus on young people in our country, in schools and universities, through our theme “Volunteering and Youth”. The participation is expected to exceed 150,000 Volunteers all over Greece, while later in the same year, we are preparing a surprise on an even larger scale. Global scale, one would say …

Our mid-term goal is to reach 5% of the Greek population in 13 regions and 325 municipalities by 2021, ten years after the start of our voluntary campaign. To highlight the positive side of our country, the face of joy, liveliness and creativity. Everyone has a role to play in it either by participating in an action or by organizing an action in their area. Everyone is welcome in our Big Voluntary Family. And if you think your contribution is small, remember that the larger changes start with the smallest, the simplest of actions. On April 29, we want you with us. Visit www.letsdoitgreece.org, join us, and be the change you’re waiting for!

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