September 20, 2016

"Young people are the ones able to engage on the ground and collect the data we need so urgently"

Taha and Ousmane Ba live tweeting from Education Equity 2030

Ousmane Ba and Taha Fathima Khan

Global Youth Ambassadors reporting from the UN General Assembly

A World at School's Global Youth Ambassadors (GYAs) are a network of passionate advocates in 85 countries around the world.

Two of them - Taha Fathima Khan from India and Ousmane Ba from Sierra Leone - are in New York this week for the launch of the Education Commission report and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Their GYA Journal tells each day what they've done, who they've met and how they're promoting the cause of education for all. This blog post was written by Ousmane.

As expected, the second day of UNGA week was very busy with several activities lined up. 

In the morning, though it was raining (a lot) and difficult to get through the city because of traffic, we headed to Central Park where we got the chance to engage with fellow Global Youth Ambassador Taylor, who passionately shed light on his work and his involvement with the Safe Schools campaign.

Shortly after this, Taha and I took off for an event called Education Equity 2030: Met By All. It was a spectacular event held at the Scandinavia house.

The purpose was to address root causes related to inequality in education, with a strong focus on data and research.

Moderated by Kolleen Bouchane from Theirworld, the event kicked off with opening remarks from Hiba Nabulsi, the UNGA Youth delegate, who spoke in Arabic about to challenges faced by children to access quality education.

GYAs Ousmane Ba Taha Fathima Khan and Taylor with A World at School's Eleanor Gall

She added a crucial human perspective to a discussion about statistics and numbers, saying: “We were all children one day, we all know children today, children we love and children who have dreams.”

Then Tove R. Wang, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Norway, presented research highlighting the gaps in education equity and showing that properly collected data could bridge this gap.

“Good data is a good tool to spark the political will for education,” she remarked.

A panel discussion followed on using data and research to tackle education inequality. The panelists included Josephine Bourne of UNICEF, Silvia Montoya of UNESCO and Baela Jamil, Education Commissioner.

The panelists emphasised a holistic approach to education inequality that is inclusive of youth - since young people are the ones able to engage on the ground and collect the data we need so urgently.

The panel discussion was followed by a Q&A, quickly taken over by our fellow GYAs, Taylor and Joannes, whose questions were remarkably on point and sparked a debate among the panelists.

It was really great to be at an event with the majority of audience questions coming from young people.

The event ended with a relaxed and light atmosphere. People chatted and networked. We got a chance to talk to Kolleen from Theirworld and she was generous enough to accommodate lots of our questions.

We also asked our fellow Global Youth Ambassadors to share their views about the role of young people in addressing equity in education.

To keep up with myself and Taha this week, make sure you’re following @theirworldorg on Instagram. We’re posting photos and videos that we hope will give you a glimpse into our world. 

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