My amazing experience as an education activist at the United Nations

Moses with Theirworld President Sarah Brown and the #UpForSchool Petition book

It was a wonderful opportunity to be a youth delegate from Liberia at the historic 70th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

I was invited as an A World at School Global Youth Ambassador, a movement of more than 500 young people around the world advocating for quality education for all. I arrived in New York on the evening of September 24.

The next day I met nine girls from Plan International at the organisation’s UN liaison office. My first major meeting was on September 28 at the #UpForSchool Town Hall in New York where more than 50 Global Youth Ambassadors (GYAs) from around the world were in attendance.

Our efforts in raising 10 million signatures for the #UpForSchool Petition were highly recognised.

I was fortunate to have participated in the “Innovative Solutions: Youth Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development” side event It was really an eye-opener for me and I must commend the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth for organising this. 

Moses with other GYAs at the #UpForSchool Town Hall

During the UNGA, one major aspect of the different meetings that really caught my attention is the “Youth Gateway” – a platform to monitor the effective delivery and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During the meeting with mostly young people from across the world, I proposed the establishment of an “African Youth Peer Review Mechanism,” a body that would be responsible to initiate activities surrounding the timely and more effective implementation of the global goals using the “Youth Gateway” as a platform.

An office named the “African Desk” would be set up at the UN in New York with oversight from the UN youth envoy to monitor, co-ordinate and track the effectiveness and report on a monthly or quarterly basis.

I also proposed the GYAss from more than 85 countries around the world to be a perfect vehicle to drive the “Youth Gateway”.

My presence and voice at the UN definitely raised the profile of Plan International as it was recognised as a major organisation and contributor to child rights and education across the world.

Since I got back to Liberia in mid-October, I have engaged young people on the SDGs and essence of their involvement and full participation in its implementation at the country level.

Moses with United Nations youth envoy Ahmad Alhendawi

I was on LIB24 Radio – formerly Love FM – sharing my experiences from the UN General Assembly with the young people of Liberia. My message was very simple – Education! Education! Education!

I strongly believe no country can achieve the SDGs without the total involvement and full participation of the young people. I congratulated President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her cabinet for endorsing the recommendations from the High Level Committee Secretariat on the new SDGs adopted at the UNGA.

The Government of Liberia will hold a roundtable meeting, bringing in all the stakeholders including the national legislature, civil society and media to define their various roles and responsibilities to realise the SDGs.

For me, once every child is educated – whether technical, vocational, education or academic – he/she is better positioned to contribute to the economic growth and development of Liberia.

There are many more great benefits on education than any other sector in the world. 2016 is a defining moment for all Liberians. The politics around the world nowadays is about issues, hardcore issues – it’s about competence, relevance and history of good leadership.

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