Sarah Brown: action plan needed in 2017 to give hope to children

Barriers to education, Childcare, Early childhood development, Education Cannot Wait, Education funding, Girls' education, Refugees and internally displaced people, Safe pregnancy and birth, Sarah Brown

The children's campaigner and Theirworld President looks at priorities for the year ahead - and says we need to combine campaigning with figuring out how to "work with what we have".

2017 must be the year when a global action plan restores hope for millions of children who are out of school, facing discrimination and inequality, or being denied the best start in life.

That’s the view of children’s campaigner and Theirworld President Sarah Brown in a blog today that outlines her priorities for the year ahead.

Writing for the Huffington Post, she says: “Big decisions have to be made. Millions of children’s lives are at stake. Do we protest and rise up or do we figure out a way to work with what we have? We need to do both, I believe.”

Sarah, who is also Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, argues that – after a turbulent 2016 – “many people feel short-changed on hope. They want action.”

Her blog looks at her six priorities for the year ahead. Here is a brief summary of her points.


Too many campaigns in the development and humanitarian sector are narrow in their ambition and shy away from real change. We need to reform ways of working “to produce more successful outcomes and contribute to a bigger picture”.


The private sector is starting to work collaboratively to provide education. But businesses “can also contribute by paying fairer taxes in both developing and highly-developed countries”.


Inequality, gender violence and prejudice are still huge challenges. Theirworld’s #RewritingTheCode campaign will continue to highlight “why girls around the world don’t have equal access to education”.


A global movement on early childhood development is growing and Theirworld, UNICEF and Save The Children are among those at the forefront. With countries spending tiny amounts on early childhood care, “the World Bank could lead the way on this in 2017”.


It is vital that we see donations and investment reaching the people they are meant to help. Campaigners will push world leaders to keep their promise to get all Syrian refugee children into school. Those leaders must then “create similar plans for all other countries of major crisis and conflict”.

Decisions, decisions

The United Nations has a new Secretary-General in Antonio Guterres. Ahead of his first UN General Assembly in September, there are several “big markers when gains can be made”, including the G7 and G20 summits.

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