World Children’s Day is UNICEF’s annual day of action for children, by children.
Ahead of World Children’s Day 2022, we are celebrating the Send My Friend Campaign Champions – a group of passionate 14-15 campaigners from across the UK who are advocating for global education and calling for action for a better future, and more inclusive education system across the world.
Every year, the Campaign Champions spend their time advocating for the education of all their friends across the world, and this year, the campaign has been focused on addressing the global teacher shortage. This year alone, the champions have taken part in various advocacy events, where they have met with Ministers and MPs at Parliament during action days, party conferences and All Party Parliamentary Group events. They also get involved in local events in their communities, by organising and delivering lessons to younger students, at their youth clubs, and raising awareness.
Here’s what they have to say!
Ellie & Lucy, 14, Campaign Champions, Northern Ireland
“My favourite part of this experience was having a meeting with the MPs and hearing their opinions and perspectives on education, specifically for the need of teachers globally. It was insightful to hear their personal priorities for improving global education and talk to them about the campaign.” Ellie
“Our names are Lucy and Ellie and we are Send My Friend To School Campaign Champions 2022 – 23 from Belfast. Since we took on our role, we have delivered lessons about the campaign and education inequality to younger students in our school, inspiring them to take action by completing “issue trees” highlighting the causes, effects and solutions to global education inequality, with a message to our local MPs like Paul Maskey, calling on them to take action. Some of the issue trees made it all the way to London with us for our Action Day in June 2022!
In London, we met up with other Campaign Champions from across the UK and met MPs from all over the UK to discuss the importance of our campaign. More recently, we travelled to Liverpool to the Labour Party Conference, during this time we talked to many MPs about what the SMF campaign means, why it’s important and how they can help. We met MPs such as Bambos Charalabous, Virendra Sharma, Collum Eastwood, Jeff Smith, and Kerry McCarthy.”
“As Send My Friend to School campaign champions at the Labour Party Conference, we had one mission; find as many MPs (some we had to frantically chase down a corridor) as possible in the hopes that they would listen to what we had to say about our cause and do what they could to help ensure every child around the world has a quality education. Apart from someone’s baby, we were by far the youngest people at the Conference, and because of this we were met with helpful and encouraging responses from MPs that vowed to do their best for our campaign. Although it was challenging and I could barely keep my eyes open on the way home, it was an amazing experience, and I wouldn’t change anything about it.” Lucy
Robbie, 15, Campaign Champion England
“Throughout my time as a campaign champion for the Send My Friend to school campaign, I have had some amazing experiences, but the best one by far was my trip to the conservative party conference on behalf of the campaign. I believe the work that Send My Friend do at these events is crucial to get our message across to the MPs we meet, and an opportunity to be listened to.
My favourite part of the conference was the MP spotting. I believe that because of these events and because of talking to prominent members of the conservative party such as Priti Patel and Damien Green that our current campaign of All My Friends Need Teachers is being listened to more and more, and I hope that Britain can be held responsible for the 1.8 million teachers that was promised by the UK government during the G7 summit in Cornwall” Robbie
The two main asks that the Campaign Champions have taken to the UK Government are:
Firstly, a new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office global teacher strategy, which has a focus on inclusive, and gender transformative teaching and recognises the role teachers play in inclusion, and gender equity. This new, clear strategy on global teacher policy must prioritise the increased resourcing and funding of a well-trained and diverse teaching workforce. More recommendations can be found in our policy report.
Their second ask is to invest in education in emergencies, and prioritise teachers from the onset of emergencies, particularly through an increased pledge to Education Cannot Wait – the global fund for education in emergencies. A child’s right to education does not end in times of emergencies, and we are asking the UK Government to support our friends in crisis before it is too late. Their ask draws on new research that shows that 222 million school-aged children are affected by crises, conflict and climate change globally, and require urgent education support if we are to keep these childrens’ dreams of education alive. Find out more here.
Do you know a young person who is 14-15 and passionate about issues around Global Education? Apply to become a Campaign Champion now!
For further information about Send my Friend to School (SMF) please contact Nada Mounzer – SMF Campaign Officer, on firstname.lastname@example.org