Global Youth Ambassadors S/Hero Week: meet our early childhood development champion Stephen
Child nutrition (Early years), Early childhood development, Global Youth Ambassadors, Learning through play (Early years)
Today - in the latest of our Global Youth Ambassadors S/Hero Week awards - we look at the crucial early years in a child's life.
- We have over 900 passionate young education advocates from across 90 countries, working tirelessly to ensure every child and young person has access to inclusive quality education and training to get the best start in life.
- They are the Global Youth Ambassadors for Theirworld and our A World at School movement. Every day they are doing truly inspiring work, often at the forefront of Theirworld’s campaigns and key focus areas, from early childhood development to inclusive education – both globally and locally.
- Global Youth Ambassadors S/Hero Week is a celebration of their exceptional work both as a network and in recognition of key outstanding individuals as voted by their peers. Each day this week in our Their News channel we will be highlighting how integral our Global Youth Ambassadors have been in each campaign or focus area and announcing the 2018 Global Youth Ambassadors Campaign S/Heroes.
Today the Early Childhood Development S/Hero award goes to a Global Youth Ambassador who has shown “outstanding work to ensure access to quality early years education”.
Stephen Odiwuor from Kenya
Stephen developed a community initiative called the Early Childhood Development Center Malnutrition Program. It screens children in ECD centres in Kenya for malnutrition and refers the malnourished children to the nearest health facility for further management.
The medical student is working to develop the programme further with the head of nutrition in his district to help fund costs for equipment.
Stephen said: “The award marks a big milestone towards my early childhood development centre malnutrition programme. Words can’t really describe it further but it means a lot to me both as a GYA and as a youth who aspires to have a lot of impact in the community.”
Fellow Global Youth Ambassadors said of him: “Stephen’s ECD initiative is amazing”, “devoted to his great work” and “his work is inspiring”.
By the time a child reaches five years old, 90% of their brain has already developed – which means the progression from birth to school is the most important time of their lives.
But around the world children from poorer and marginalised households are unable to access the support and care they need in health, nutrition, play, learning and protection.
In 2017, through our #5for5 campaign, Theirworld called on global leaders to prioritise early childhood development. We have been producing research papers to raise awareness about the issue and urged world leaders to allocate the funds needed to establish quality programmes that will give every child the best start in life.
Our Global Youth Ambassadors have been the driving force, passionately writing about the need for funding in the area.
Benedict Joson (US) attended the High-Level SDG Action Event on Education in June and shared Theirworld’s #5for5 report and call to action with Dessima Williams, the former Grenada ambassador to the UN, and former head of UNESCO Irina Bokova.
Petrider Paul (Tanzania) took action immediately last year because “President John P. Magufuli of Tanzania was not right in his statement on banning teen mothers from resuming school.” Petrider created a petition which has been signed by over 80,000 people urging the government overturn its ban. Petrider is still campaigning passionately on the issue as the ban will affect generations.
2018 saw the campaign focus on pre-primary education, calling for early years care to be a priority.
We believe every country should spend 10% of its education budget on pre-primary and 10% of humanitarian aid to education should also go to pre-primary.
Egide Niyonsaba (Burundi), Yohanna Hailu (Ethiopia), Danielle Green (France), Mitchelle Ofuyo (Kenya), Javita Nauth (United States), Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu (Canada) and Eefje van Esch (Netherlands) took action and expressed their shock and disappointment when a recently published report by Theirworld revealed that only 1% of all aid going to children under the age of five in developing countries is spent on pre-primary education.
Joannes was also one of two Global Youth Ambassaodr As selected to attend the UN General Assembly in New York last year and meet with global leaders and activists like Graca Machel and Julia Gillard of the Global Partnership for Education, who are passionate about investing in ECD.