Global Youth Ambassadors S/Hero Week: meet our education financing champion Lian

Lian Wairimu Kariuki Gya Main H Week
Lian Kariuki is working to help young people access quality education (Lian Wairimu Kariuki)

Education funding, Global Youth Ambassadors, What is advocacy?

This week we are paying tribute to some of our outstanding young advocates -beginning with our award for the key area of education funding.

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.

These 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. 

Today we are launching Global Youth Ambassadors S/Hero Week – 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 we will be highlighting how integral our Global Youth Ambassadors have been in each campaign or focus area to date and announcing the 2018 Global Youth Ambassadors Campaign S/Heroes.

Theirworld President Sarah Brown said: “The Global Youth Ambassadors are at the forefront of global education campaigns at Theirworld. With the hearts of activists and the heads of strategists, they can act and adapt on the go to take down the barriers that prevent children going to school. 

“Congratulations to all the S/Hero Week Award winners for their powerful contributions to Theirworld’s campaigns this year. 

“They are the unapologetic protagonists who make the impossible probable for the world’s most vulnerable children and young people.” 

We begin with the category of education financing. The Education Financing S/Hero award goes to a Global Youth Ambassador who has shown “outstanding work to highlight and address the education financing crisis, including campaigning for the International Financing Facility for Education (IFFEd)”.

She is…

Lian Kariuki from Kenya

Lian With Her Award

(Lian Wairimu Kariuki)

Lian is passionate about education and helping young people to fulfil their potential. 

“She truly cares for the growth and development of Kenya and youth globally,” said one of her fellow Global Youth Ambassadors. Another said of her: “She loves what she does and remains passionate about getting kids educated despite the hurdles.”

So it was fitting that Lian was chosen to represent over 1.5 million children and young people globally when a youth-led petition was handed to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in May.

  • Visit Their News each day this week to see another S/Hero Week winner

She impressed hugely in that role at the UN headquarters in New York – helping to ensure the voices of youth were heard on the subject of education funding. 

Responding to their call, Guterres added his support for the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) – a plan to unlock $10 billion of additional money to help millions of marginalised children into school.

As well as being a Global Youth Ambassador, Lian is currently working on establishing a social enterprise called Loocid Global that will result in the creation of an ethical garment-manufacturing business. 

Gyas Hand Petition To Antonio Gutteres

Lian at the handing-over of the IFFEd petition to António Guterres​, with fellow Global Youth Ambassadors Ousmane Ba and Asmita Ghimire, watched by UN education envoy Gordon Brown (Education Commission / Lana Wong)

The initiative will also offer scholarships for Kenyan children and economic empowerment programmes, such as investment workshops and health education seminars.

When Lian learned she had been chosen as the education financing S/Hero, she said: “It is an honour to be recognised by your peers for the work that you do. This in itself is rewarding.

“I look forward to working with youth globally to secure sufficient funding that will provide access to quality education, leaving no one behind.” 

The education crisis is creating a wide and persistent divide between children who have access to skills and opportunity – and those who do not. Without a significant and targeted increase in money for education, the current crisis will only get worse.

Theirworld has been campaigning to #MakeImpossiblePossible and establish IFFEd, generating the largest investment in education history. Global Youth Ambassadors have been at the forefront of this campaign.

Last year they helped to collect over 138,000 signatures calling on world leaders and development banks to back education for every child. Global Youth Ambassador Saket Mani from India delivered our call to the G20 summit in Germany and they backed the proposal. 

Then in May this year, our youth activists helped to drive the campaign forward again by explaining how critical education financing is and signing our IFFEd petition. Kakar Hayat Hamandzai from Pakistan collected over 22,000 signatures for the petition by himself.

Lian was joined by two other Global Youth Ambassadors – Ousmane Ba from Sierra Leone and Asmita Ghimire from Nepal to deliver the petition to the UN chief.

Apart from the IFFEd campaign, our Global Youth Ambassadors have also been active on the ground and pushing for increased spending on education. 

For example, Kenneth Gyamerah from Ghana has been strongly advocating for the country’s government to extend its policy of free senior high schooling to students in second and third year and also to invest in girls’ education.

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