Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Governments cannot ignore young people’s right to education

Post by: Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International

Sumaya, India: ‘It is such an excellent tool to further our advocacy and strengthen the movement of young people pushing for education!

This is a reaction from one talented youth advocate to our new youth advocacy toolkit, launching on April 10th. At Plan, we are committed to working both with and for young people and children around the world. This means children and young people are central to our program design, development and implementation.

This commitment goes across all of our work, including our advocacy and campaigning. And with current rates showing that the poorest girls in sub-Saharan Africa will only achieve access to universal primary education in 2086, there is a lot of campaigning to be done.

Last year our support of “youth led” advocacy was visible through our support of the Youth Takeover of the UN on Malala Day and the many in-country activities we also ran on the same day around the world. One of these was supporting a group of young people in the development and presentation of a youth manifesto on girls’ education in Pakistan, calling for more and better investment in this area.

The recent announcement of a financial package for education in Pakistan, no doubt, comes partially due to young people, who have been advocating for urgent improvements ever since the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in October 2012. This is just one example of youth advocacy for education which can be found in our new toolkit: The Education We Want.

We have developed this toolkit over the last six months in partnership with A World at School and the Youth Advocacy Group of the “Global Education First Initiative”, with support from UNICEF and UNGEI. We are proud to have supported the Youth Advocacy Group since their original formation and continue to welcome this commitment by the UN Secretary General to ensuring young people are part of the conversations about their futures.

The Youth Advocacy Group led on the content of this toolkit and their personal incredible stories and advocacy success is evident throughout the resource. The toolkit has been developed for young people, by young people. It is full of ideas and examples which, we hope, young people will be able to fit to their context in order to be able effectively advocate for their right to an education.

Rather than putting words into the mouths of young people I will let them voice their reactions to the final toolkit:

Anna, Moldova: ‘I will take it with me when I am traveling around schools...soon our government will not have a single way to avoid doing what young people are saying!
David, UK: ‘A great tool to help mobilize young people, excellent features of great advocacy...and something with genuine usability!

With 65 million girls out of school and a global funding gap of $26 billion for basic education, there is an urgent need for action to get all children into school, and learning. The Global Partnership for Education replenishment summit, on June 26th, offers a unique mobilization opportunity for the global community to come together and put pressure on all governments to invest more in education.

The next few months are a critical time to advocate and campaign to see a reduction in the funding gap and get more children into school. This opportunity will be lost if children and young people are not at the center of calling for their right to education.

This toolkit is here to equip and skill young people to be able to do this and as we launch this toolkit, we ask young people to use it to advocate right now and we ask organizations to support them in any way possible.

Want to take action now?
  • Follow the launch of the toolkit using #youthtoolkit on April 10th
  • Share the toolkit when it is live!
  • Sign a global petition to help make sure all children have access to basic education
  • Join us on June 16th Day of the African Child in running an event or activity (find ideas in the toolkit!) to put pressure on governments to invest more in education

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