Insight to Building Partner Relations for World Cleanup Day 2018. Part I: Leaders

Year 2016 is all about securing resources (leaders, partners, money) for a successful World Cleanup Day in 2018. When speaking of partnerships, we are perhaps talking of a key element that makes a Let’s Do It! campaign what it is.


Kadi Kenk

Kadi Kenk

You can put together an action plan and prepare a budget with absolute necessities that are required for a cleanup day. Then you realize that there is not enough money that could clean up your country and then you are put to a test – are you a suitable leader for a your nationwide cleanup or not? What you really need is never only money – you need help! Help with carrying out your action plan, and people to support you. Support you with real things – their time, employees, services, products, clients, etc. The hard thing is not to calculate how many volunteers you need to manage waste collection points, or where to take the garbage once it is collected. The hard thing is talking to people who have this know-how and resources and who need to be engaged as equal partners to altogether clean up your country.

The magic about Let’s Do It! is that no-one has ever done it in your country before. Let’s face it! No one has ever tried to clean up the world either. The truth is that we are all doing it for the first time and different measures need to be used than what you would read from a manual for a cleanup in a village or on the coast. However, big things have been done in the world and you want to make the most out of it. If you yourself do not have an experience in taking up big projects and you get discouraged about the hard things on your noble journey, you have not yet surrounded yourself with the right people! And the right time to start is now! Failure is not an option. Every move made for a cleaner country is already an improvement. But what World Cleanup Day does, is encourage everybody to do more!

The partnership building for World Cleanup Day is based on a very similar idea like preparing for a nationwide cleanup day.


The key to cleaning up the world lies first and foremost in the purpose and the people. People – the leaders who can make it all happen in their countries – bring together partners, empower communities and make each and every individual effort count. This is why we launched the campaign. But we are not only relying on crowdsourcing for leaders, but engaging into global partnerships with great networks of capable leaders as well. I will illustrate that idea with two examples.

Meridian International Centre has been coordinating International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), of the U.S. Department of State, over the past 30 years. We are learning a lot from their experience on how the State Department elects and maintains a meaningful cooperation with the leaders they work with and thanks to alumnae, such as Eva from Estonia or Amir from Egypt (read his story here), enable us to reach out to the other outstanding third sector leaders across the world to get on board.

Joanne Clarke, a Senior Programme Officer from Meridian International Center, recognized our potential synergy as follows: “Introduced in 2012 to Let’s Do It! World by a Meridian International Centre alumna of the U.S. Department of State’s IVLP, I have watched this amazing initiative to clean up the world’s waste grow from a seedling to a full fledged tree with branches reaching out around the world. At Meridian International Centre, our work with international visitors through the IVLP strives to achieve the same reach through programs of global importance. We are happy to join with the World Cleanup Initiative and we encourage our IVLP alumni to join us as team leaders to clean up the world’s waste on one glorious day of service to our respective communities. Let’s Do It! World.”

We are seeing great potential in collaboration and are certain that the network holds more leaders, who are willing and able to take the leadership role of their lifetime to ensure a better planet for us all and the future generations to come.

The other important development is global cooperation with JCI. In the very first Let’s Do It! campaign in Estonia in 2008, JCI had a strategic role to play. Not only were their experiences and manuals from organizing big events put to test on a whole new level, but also key people from JCI put their skills as professionals to use for a good cause in a way they never had been able to before. They brought together the green movement and the IT tools built for the campaign and managed the extensive partners relations. They maintained order in project management when the magnitude of it was becoming almost impossible to comprehend.

Certain that the JCI network around the world can do great things in their communities and that they withhold many incredibly capable leaders to run their country cleanups in 2018, Let’s Do It Foundation approached the network for global cooperation at the end of 2015. During 2016, many connections have been built and many prospect leaders have been identified. This interest is developed into concrete action steps at the JCI World Congress in Quebec this autumn, where a separate Leaders Academy is prepared specially, keeping in mind the network of JCI and the possibilities that it withholds.

Leadership is a quality that can be discovered in every single individual, and for cleaning up the world, we certainly need millions of people who take up initiative in their communities to lead their living environment to a more clean and healthy one. That is what one great leader can ignite. The purpose of Let’s Do It Foundation is to find these leaders, 150 to be exact, who can make it. If you know such a person, recommend them, or if you have in mind a global network of great leaders who you can help to engage in the campaign, contact me.

This much for building partnerships to find great leaders for the World Cleanup Day, 8 September 2018. There are more aspects to the global partnerships, onto which I will be shedding light in my next articles. Stay tuned for working with global institutions and specifically an insight to the initiative to call 2018 the United Nations International Year of a Clean and Healthy Planet.


Kadi Kenk, Let’s Do It! World Head of Partnerships