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Story written on Oct 26, 2016

World Merit and United Nations programme influencing the work of Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura

Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura coach Alex Whitcombe has recently returned home from New York where he participated in the Merit 360 flagship programme by World Merit, in partnership with the United Nations. 

The programme brought together 360 changemakers aged 16-30, from 85 countries, to create an action plan for the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. The goals were around people, planet, sustainable prosperity, keeping the peace and, working in partnership.

“I came back to New Zealand full of inspiration and new insights,” shares Alex. “Although I attended this programme outside of my role with Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura, I saw many ways we could implement the concepts and learnings from the programme, into our work.

“Merit 360 was a great opportunity to be immersed in a global environment and, to discuss and create action plans towards global issues.”


The global approach, where the concept of ‘One World, One Community, One Family’ is fostered, looks at global citizenship and creating a radically inclusive world to eliminate barriers. Alex believes this is an important concept to implement and create long-lasting change.

“I really like the Ubuntu (Zulu) quote: ‘I am, because we are’,” he says. “It’s an uplifting, motivating statement that makes us look at our communities and how we can collectively impact future generations.” 

Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura Partnerships and Engagement Manager Annie Ualesi is excited to see how this coach’s new skillset can help impact South Auckland.

“Alex has returned with wider thinking and tools that can support movements of change in our communities, by strengthening connections between community, corporates and politicians.

“By being exposed to global issues and global solutions he is already influencing our workforce’s engagement and, translating that thinking into our own locally driven, owned and managed solutions, broadening our approach to social issues in South Auckland.”

Photo credit: All Word Merit photos by Edo Landwehr

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