December 20, 2017

2017: an inspiring year of campaigning for children's rights by our Global Youth Ambassadors

Our Global Youth Ambassadors work to bring about change globally and in their communities

It has been an incredible year for Theirworld's network of young advocates - packed with campaigns, events, projects and awards.

The Global Youth Ambassadors are an amazing group of people. They’ll never all get together - because there are over 700 of them in more than 80 countries.

But they have a common purpose. These young advocates and campaigners aged from 18 to 30 are supporting the movement to get every child into school and learning. 

The Global Youth Ambassadors (GYAs) take action on global education campaigns with Theirworld's A World at School movement - as well as working to promote education in their own communities.

2017 has been an incredible year for these inspiring and passionate people - packed with campaigns, events, projects and awards. As well as sharing the message about delivering quality education and early childhood education to every child in the world.

Here's a roundup of just some of their activities during the past 12 months. And if that inspires you to want to become a Global Youth Ambassador, here's how to apply.

At the Y20 summit in Germany, GYA Saket Mani hands petitions to Lars-Hendrik Röller, Chancellor Angela Merkel's economic advisor, and Katarina Barley, the German minister for family affairs, women and youth


  • Helping us to collect signatures and delivering a call to action at the G20 Summit 2017 for a new International Financing Facility for Education. 

  • Petition to get world leaders to commit 10% of their education budgets to pre-primary, a call that was then backed by UNICEF and the World Bank.

  • Letters to governments of the countries that co-hosted the Supporting Syria conference (Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the UK), demanding they don't forget those 500,000 Syrian refugee children still out of school.

  • Letter signed by the GYAs to President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, which took over the G20 Presidency earlier this month. An Argentine Ambassador responded by saying “education is one of the top priorities of the agenda”.

Blogs and podcasts

Global Youth Ambassador Benedict Joson, centre, at the United Nations with other youth activists and a copy of Theirworld's report on pre-primary education

Photo credit: Theirworld

They have also been our eyes and ears on the ground in their countries and making the youth voice hear by blogging about key issues. This year GYAs have written over 70 blogs about a whole range of issues that affect access to education and early childhood development within their communities.

Check out their work on our Voices channel.

Our GYAs have also been speaking about their views and experiences with Theirworld President Sarah Brown as part of her Better Angels podcast series.


GYAS Sylvia Kakyo and Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu at the UN General Assembly in New York

Photo credit: Theirworld / James Cox

Our GYAs have been busy advocating at various education events locally and globally to ensure every child can have access to quality education. Here's a flavour of the events they attended this year.

  • Sylvia Kakyo (Uganda) and Joannes Yimbesalu (Cameroon, now studying in Canada) were chosen to attend the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of the network. We also had another eight GYAs at events in and around the General Assembly.

  • Anum Shahzad (Pakistan), Hallie Westlund (USA/Ecuador), Javita Indra Nath (Guyana/USA) and Damola Morenikeji (Nigeria) attended UN events for International Youth Day including the Youth Assembly at the UN and the International Young Leaders Assembly Global Summit 2017.

  • Ikebunwa Lotanna (Nigeria) participated in the National Youth Council of Nigeria’s Youth Entrepreneurship Roundtable 2017.

  • Amol Alai and Vinit Malpure (India) discussed youth empowerment as a response to issues such as youth unemployment, growing inequality and security and peacebuilding at the South Asia Youth Summit.

  • Ahlam Ahmed (Yemen) participated in the National Conference for Education in Yemen, where the key topic was the obstacles to education in the face of the ongoing war.

  • Ousmane Ba (USA) attended and spoke at the One Young World Summit in Colombia, which brings together valuable young leaders from around the world.

  • Maisha Reza (Singapore), Solyman Sumon (Malaysia), Nebota Nebota Mukete (Cameroon), Kenneth Gyamerah (Ghana) and Amol Alai, Soham Ghosh, Vinit Malpure and Nehaal Mayur (India) were all selected to attend the Commonwealth Youth Summit in Malaysia.

  • Aissa Traore (Mali) spoke at a high-level panel side event to the African Union and European Union Summit.


Indian GYA Ranjitsing Sanjaysing Rajput has over 20 students in his class every weekend

Photo credit: Ranjitsing Sanjaysing Rajput

A lot of our GYAs have their own projects that they have set up to deliver a real impact in their local communities. Here are some of the highlights from the new projects set up or developed this year.

  • Ranjitsing Sanjaysing Rajput (India) started a weekend school for underprivileged children.

  • Precious C. Daniel (Nigeria) started the Makoko Dream School which is a school on water - the first of its kind in Africa - for slum children.

  • Amit Jain (India) collected 15,000 books to set up libraries in five remote villages.

  • Kirthi Jayakumar (India) launched an app to address gender-based violence called Saahas and released her book The Doodler of Dimashq, telling the story of child bride Ameenah in Syria.

  • Saleem Al-Saadani (Yemen) has produced a number of TV episodes on the educational process there and its challenges, which has included the Minister of Education and some young educational activists.

  • Ahlam Ahmed (Yemen) has been a guest speaker on three Yemeni TV channels, speaking about educational issues and her inspiring initiative Support Education in Yemen.

  • Shahidul Islam Dinar (Bangladesh) started Young World Leaders for Humanity - a new online platform to connect young leaders. Many of our GYAs have already signed up!


Our Global Youth Ambassadors have been selected for many scholarships and programmes

Photo credit: Laureate Global Fellowship

Our GYAs have been selected for many different scholarships and programmes due to their dedication and expertise. These include:

  • The Laureate Global Fellowship, which annually recognises 20 young leaders aged 18 to 29 from around the world who have pioneered solutions to urgent challenges in their communities and beyond.

  • Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) initiatives such as Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The flagship programme of YALI empowers young people who have established records in innovation and positive impact through academic work, leadership training and networking. 

  • Knowles Educational and Charitable Trust for International Leadership Fellowship, a programme to build a collaborative network of high-potential youth from developing and least developed countries to break down prejudices and lead to cultural, religious and gender understanding.


Kenneth Gyamerah won the Leadership in Education award at the Ghana Education Community Awards

Many of our GYAs have also won awards for their amazing work. This year:

  • Simran Vedvyas (India) won the NRI of the Year Award for Academics in India and the Youth Leadership Award of the Year as part of the Stars of Business Leadership Award 2017.

  • Kenneth Gyamerah (Ghana) won the Leadership in Education award for the Ghana Education Community Awards.

  • Isaac Success (Nigeria) was nominated for the SME100 Nigeria Under-25 Awards, which lists 25 innovative entrepreneurs who aim to grow and support small and medium enterprises. He also received an Essence Award for Selfless Service for his work with children through his initiative Dreams from the Slum.

  • Sylvia Kayko (Uganda) was named one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans by the Africa Youth Awards. The initiative is considered to be the biggest across the continent.

  • Maisha was featured in Youth Initiative Magazine - a publication run by young leaders across the globe, as part of their Young and Ambitious series for her work.

  • Aliu Oluwafemi Royal (Nigeria) was one of the 20 young people who made history and won the first ever Africa Youth in Agribusiness Day Challenge.

  • Chiuneme Brenda Okorogba (Canada) won the Young Achiever of the Year CA Award.

  • Jeffreyy Kibet (Nigeria) won the Youth Volunteer of the Year 2017 in Kenya - a national award given by the Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection in partnership with civil society to recognise outstanding contribution to community development.

I love being a GYA because...

It is such an amazing outfit of volunteers from all around the world. From grassroots level to high-panel contexts, we have all learnt from each other. Everytime a GYA posts about their work we are inspired and get challenged to pull up our socks and contribute.

Maryanne Mumbi Muriuki from Kenya

I can support the education of the poor students in Sri Lanka as well as around the globe. Education is the key to a successful future of all.

Amarakoon Rajapaksha Wasala Mohotti Mudiyanselage Deshapriya Rohana Kumara from Sri Lanka

It's a wonderful opportunity to be a change-maker by utilising my skills for the advocacy of child education and development. Also, connecting and sharing ideas with great minds from different countries as well as professional development.

Ebenezer Okoidigun from Nigeria

It provides us with a fantastic network of young people working together for a common cause, which enables the sharing of fantastic ideas and resources.

Maisha Reza from Singapore

Want to become a Global Youth Ambassador?

Find out more about the programme and how to apply.

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