Theirworld's work would not be possible without our network of nearly 1000 Global Youth Ambassadors from around the world. Each month, we highlight the work of one or two of them and the amazing work they do to get every child into school.
Erick Ombija - June 2020
Erick Ombija is a Global Youth Ambassador from Kenya. He is a youth advocate with over six years’ experience in community volunteering and service. He is the founder the Grassroots Transforming Network C.B.O (GTN) – a youth and children owned voluntary organization in Kisumu County, Western part of Kenya that equips young people with the skills, knowledge, resources and urgency they need to lead social change at the grassroots level. GTN operates within five areas of focus: youth employment and livelihoods; childhood development; HIV/AIDS mitigation, climate change and environmental enhancement; and democracy and governance. Erick is a member of a number of youth movements and networks championing for youth voice across the leadership spectrum including the Young African Leadership Initiative.
The unrelenting commitment by Theirworld to advance the global SDG 4 inspired Erick to be part of the GYA network. Erick is a staunch youth and children advocate on quality education at the grassroots. He wanted to be part of this global network of dedicated education advocates so as to learn varied perspectives on how best we can advance the implementation of the global SDG 4 and its attainment by the year 2030. Erick, through the GYA network, hopes to amplify the voice of the vulnerable children in Western Kenya and other parts of the world so as to attain quality education. Erick remains resolute to add his voice to the Theirworld’s mission on quality education and lifelong learning for every child.
Erick commits to translate the mission of Theirworld to the grassroots part of Western Kenya. He longs to gain needed support, network and expertise in advancing the right to quality education for every child. Through research, he hopes to initiate a number of education programs in Kisumu County. Erick is currently leading a peer-to-peer research using Human Centered Design, though is on hold due to the COVID- 19, in investigating: HMW (How Might We) improve the academic performance of primary schools in rural areas (using Kabonyo/Kanyagwal ward in Kisumu County as case study). Through his role as a GYA, Erick is hopeful to bring the plight of children at the grassroots the global radar for needed action.
Dineo Phala - May 2020
I AM PULLING UP & I AM READY TO GET MY HANDS DIRTY!
Dineo, pronounced as (Dee-Neo) is plural for Gift or Bearer of many gifts in Sepedi/Setswana which is one of the official native languages in South Africa.
I grew up under my grandmother’s wing, while my parents were working. The key attributes that were instilled in me from my upbringing are; humility, love and self-reliance. I was afforded the opportunity to go to primary, secondary & tertiary school. I completed my bachelor’s degree in marketing communications and currently work as a marketer in an IT/Telecommunications company.
Attending a catholic school taught me to become appreciative and selfless, I was involved in numerous initiatives that fed into the bigger picture of community spirit and relief. In my final year of my undergrad, I began trying to unravel and understand the root cause of many injustices and domestic violence crimes. I found the most common denominator in most cases was the victim’s dependence on the perpetrator. It was at that point in time that I had an epiphany, that I should work towards enabling people to become self-reliant.
I understood that education is a form of empowerment that cannot be taken away and as such I took some time to research foundations that supported and promoted education. I came across Theirworld and immediately was drawn to their advocacy for quality education.
I am looking forward to learning and exploring all avenues that are presented with the opportunity of being a Global Youth Ambassador for Theirworld. It will bring a priceless feeling of fulfilment to know that I have contributed to the global community by enabling the younger generations to have access to quality education and for them to become a somebody in the world.
Sarah Mwikali - May 2020
Sarah joined the first cohort of GYAs back in 2014. She has been involved in various TheirWorld campaigns both internationally and nationally. She is particularly proud of using the #WritetheWrong campaign to focus on children with disabilities. Thanks to the activism of Sarah and others, inclusive education is now taking shape in Kenya and there are education policies and regulations in place that recognise the importance of access to education for every child with and without disability. Currently, not all mainstream schools can absorb children with disabilities, but there has been a robust discussion in the country on elimination of special schools which can socially exclude and stigmatise children with disabilities. Through this campaign Sarah has engaged with a range of stakeholders and she has learnt that the most effective impact occurs when a holistic approach is taken, involving governments and citizens.
During this Covid season, Sarah is involved in Theirworld’s GYA Advisory Group where she is supporting the development of the GYA’s advocacy toolkit. She is performing this role at home, as she continues with her other duties. She is the co-founder and Programs Director at Gifted Community Centre that advocates for the rights of youth with disabilities in Nairobi, with one of the programmes being education and information. During this time, the organization is educating some of its members through social media such as Whatsapp, with awareness sessions taking place on Twitter and Facebook.
Sarah is passionate about access to equal and quality education. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Diplomacy and International Affairs and has previously worked with the UN and British High Commission, among others. She serves on numerous boards such as Global Business Coalition for Education Youth innovation and skills council and the Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network.
April 2020 - Danielle Green
As someone who has had to overcome educational disadvantages herself, Danielle has for a long time appreciated the importance of empowering others to overcome barriers to achieve their goals. It is for this reason she was excited to apply to become a GYA ambassador – it was an opportunity to tackle educational inequality while connecting with others who have the same challenging mission.
Danielle has gained a lot in her nearly two and a half years as a GYA for Theirworld: learning why Early Childhood Development is crucial, keeping healthy while working on a cause and understanding the complexities involved in making educational change sustainable. She has also had the opportunities to listen and be inspired by the work and stories of other people linked to Theirworld, encouraging her to maintain her ambition and determination to make positive changes.
These positive changes can be seen through the impact of the projects Danielle has been involved in so far. She led the Awareness-Raising Team on a project to highlight the importance of education in the community of Sambour, Cambodia, where they gained insights into the barriers to accessing schooling. She has chaired a panel discussion on Quality Education at the Oxford Forum for International Development, where they touched on ECD, education in fragile contexts and intersectionality. Finally, for the Ditchley Foundation, Danielle identified key players in Lifelong Learning in the UK to invite to the Ditchley Summit, and discussed with them ways to promote education for all in group debates at the event.
Recently Danielle has been working as a member of the Advisory Board for the GYA toolkit, which involves using insights and experience to provide feedback and recommendations on the content and structure of the resource. This toolkit will advise GYAs on methods they can use to have an even higher level of impact when tackling educational disadvantage in their own context.
April 2020 - Saket Mani
During his seven years as a Global Youth Ambassador for Theirworld, Saket has been involved in several high profile, high impact projects. Each has presented him with a unique set of challenges and opportunities to innovate. He personally mobilised 15,000 young people to pledge their support for #EducationForAll and facilitated workshops advocating, gender justice, climate change and education in India. Saket later achieved over 210,000 pledges for supporting the global HeForShe movement through the power of volunteering and creative outreach. Saket has also represented Theirworld at the G20 YouthSummit where he delivered a powerful speech on education supporting the establishment of the International Finance Facility for Education.
When asked what his advice for prospective Global Youth Ambassadors would be, Saket encourages you to treat the ‘role and experience as a masterclass’ in education advocacy. Not only has he made a difference through taking advantage of opportunities, he has also created many more opportunities for himself and for others. Saket also recognises how his own understanding of education advocacy has deepened and been refined through his experience as a GYA.
As one of Theirworld’s first GYAs, Saket has made global contributions to policy, advocacy and strategy including through his contributions to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. At a local level, he has been proactive in engaging with his community and building grassroots campaigns focusing on education, equality and justice. Saket also praises the network of amazing advocates he has met over the years who have ‘excelled in their work and inspired us’.
February 2020 - Sayeda Nazmun
Sayeda Nazmun is a GYA from Bangladesh focused on bringing education to children in marginalised communities; “Education is a right not a privilege, as a GYA I believe everyone is entitled to Quality Education”.
Sayeda works as the main supervisor on the ‘Project Altruism’ initiative, a local community based project which builds Computer Labs for street children in three schools in Bangladesh. Sayeda also co-founded “Education Against Tobacco Bangladesh”, an organisation focused on teaching young people about the harmful effects of smoking.
Currently employed by Save the Children International, Sayeda works in midwifery education on a project designed to reduce maternal and newborn infant mortality. She has also hosted a number of talks aimed at empowering and educating young people about menstrual hygiene and sexual and reproductive health. In recognition of her work and abilities Sayeda was previously selected to be a judge in The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.
In her role as a Global Youth Ambassador Sayeda has participated as an online campaigner for #WriteTheWrong and has taken part in a number of digital campaign actions. Sayeda has also written for Theirworld voices in honour of International Day for Street Children, where she discusses her own work with young children living on the street; “Their education must be a way of showing them a new path to fulfil their potential and build their own positive future”.
January 2020 - Iyanuoluwa Ayodele
Iyanuoluwa is a GYA from Nigeria passionate about climate activism and universal equitable education; “Being a GYA has placed me in a position where I am able to create change and has given me the platform to call for quality and accessible education for all”.
In his capacity as a GYA, Iyanuoluwa has worked as an active social media campaigner for our #WriteTheWrong, #YouPromised and #5for5 campaigns. He has also used the messaging and language of Theirworld campaigns to pressure local leaders and push for change in Nigeria.
In his work as an education campaigner Iyanuoluwa co-founded the Achievers Innovative Advocates International Foundation (AIA), a youth led organisation aimed at promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and the Africa agenda 2063 for growth and development.
Through his AIA organisation he initiated the ‘global goals and talents lab super school program’ which aims to encourage the nurturing of innovative ideas in schools in support of achieving the SDG’s, which has been rolled out in 5 schools across Nigeria, with over 700 participants. In August 2019 Iyanuoluwa was also selected to participate in the Sozo Networks leadership & Mentorship fellowship programme sponsored by US embassy Abuja.
In recognition of his work as a youth advocate, Iyanuoluwa was selected as a mentor for 2019 Kectil leadership program where he was invited to Atlanta in the United States for a Youth leadership Gathering. In his work as an education campaigner Iyanuoluwa also attended the last Osun state economic development summit in Nigeria, where he used this platform to stress the importance of education for the economic development of the state.
In November 2019 Iyanuoluwa attended the Paris Peace Forum where he addressed over 8000 participants on the need for quality education in order to achieve sustainable peace across the world.
In 2018 Iyanuoluwa hosted an event with AIA ‘Climate Action For Sustainable Development; Our Collective Responsibilities’. In aid of his work as a climate activist Iyanuoluwa has gained a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Injustice at University Of East Anglia (UEA). In 2019 in his capacity as a climate activist, Iyanuoluwa was chosen to join the Global Youth Climate Network (GYCN).
Global Youth Ambassador of the Year 2019 - Samuel Adewumi
Samuel Adewumi from Nigeria has been nominated by his fellow ambassadors as GYA of The Year for his commitment to education as a tool to prevent conflict and improve conditions in his community; “Education is for improving the lives of others, and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” Samuel’s work is rooted in his own experience as a child, being forced to drop out of school due to his family’s financial instability - this inspired him to use his skills to help marginalised children access education.
In addition to his own work with his agricultural biofuel startup, Samuel has worked as a Teaching Fellow with Teach For Nigeria, an organisation committed to connecting promising future leaders with some of the most underserved schools in the country. In his teaching, Samuel focuses on a learner-centred approach, and creates 21st century tech-toolkits for his students.
In addition to traditional teaching methods, Samuel has also been an advocate of mindfulness in schools, a psychological process which focuses on bringing one's attention to the present moment as a means to reduce symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety.
Samuel has organised mindfulness workshops through his organisation ‘Constructive Peace Initiative’, a project that has trained 210 learners in four communities across the country in communication, dialogue, and mediation skills.
With his Teen4peaceEducation (T4PE) project, Samuel has targeted children in underserved community schools who have been displaced by violent extremism in Nigeria. In addition to this, through his own organisations, Samuel has provided financial support to a health facility and training centre in Lagos aimed at curbing maternal mortality.
Samuel wrote a blog in support of Theirworld’s #SafeSchools campaign, in which he discussed his own initiatives aimed at fostering an environment of inclusiveness in schools as a means to prevent attacks on schools and school chidren. This involved meeting and liaising with key stakeholders and students to create workshops aimed at fostering mutual inclusiveness and empathy to curb attacks on schools.
Samuel also supported Theirworld’s work by providing feedback on a letter to the German Development Minister in 2017 about the proposed ‘Marshal Plan for Africa’, and contributed photographs for the #RewritingTheCode campaign.
November 2019 - Julius Fieve
Julius Karl D. Fieve is a Global Youth Ambassador from Ghana, who is committed to the idea of quality education as a crucial way to overcome hardship; "Quality education is the only way to change the circumstances of people and make individuals become global citizens”.
Born into a large polygamous family in rural Ghana Julius grew up in a subsistence farming community, something which brought him into direct contact with the devastating impact of
poverty: “This made me understand that access to quality education is the surest bet to eradicating poverty”.
Julius has worked closely as a campaigner for education in his local community. Serving as an elected Local Government Assembly Member in Ghana, he has advocated for the building of school and library facilities and has supported programmes which have helped over 1500 children gain access to new books, footwear and other materials.
In 2018 Julius also voluntarily assisted the Royal Commonwealth Society, Africa in organizing the 2018 Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition awards ceremony which was attended by the Duchess of Cornwall and Mrs. Rebecca Akufo Addo, the First Lady of Ghana. In the same year Julius attended the One Young World Summit in the Hague, Netherlands as a delegate speaker for Ghana and wrote a Theirworld blog detailing his role.
In his capacity as a Global Youth Ambassador, Julius has publicly expressed support for #WriteTheWrong and has contributed to an article explaining how the IFFEd financing initiative hopes to bring education to a wider number of children. Julius has also contributed to a Theirworld blog which pays tribute to the late Kofi Anan.
Julius is the recipient of the prestigious Mastercard Foundation Scholarship which is supporting his MSc in Africa and International Development Studies at the University of Edinburgh, UK. He is also one of the sixty Changemakers worldwide of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and was at the 2019 Trust Conference in London. Julius is now working on his Master’s thesis, exploring sustainable finance models as a means for female entrepreneurship and development in Ghana.
October 2019 - Palak Sharma
Palak Sharma is a GYA from India who is currently studying for a postgraduate degree in International Social and Public Policy at the London School of Economics (LSE).
Palak is a passionate education campaigner who believes strongly in equal access to opportunities and skills development. Palak is particularly passionate about girls’ education; “I consider myself very privileged to come from a family that thought of education for girls at par with boys [...} that is a gift I can share with others”.
Palak has worked as Policy Intern for Indian Minister of State, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. In her role Palak worked as a part of a seven member core team on ‘Mission Antyodaya’ which involved finding links between current government policies through data research and analysis of best practice. Palak was also involved with a project aimed at aligning Hindu inheritance law with domestic violence policy. This resulted in a new clause which disinherits male perpetrators of domestic violence, who would have otherwise automatically inherited the entirety of a deceased relative's estate.
As a Policy Intern, Palak’s main focus was on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 and sanitation. She was involved in the creation of a public education sanitation campaign, which included adverts on the Delhi Metro.
Palak is the founder of her own organisation, the Green Governance Initiative, a non-partisan policy research think-tank that works to ensure the effective implementation of development policies. With her organisation Palak has been involved in the establishment of digital libraries across India. She has also been involved in the implementation of a ‘remote teaching centre’ in Delhi which targets children in remote communities in Kashmir.
Palak has worked as an educator for ‘Unacademy’, India’s largest online learning platform. She has worked helping to prepare prospective applicants for the civil service exam, which is regarded amongst one of the most difficult in the country.
In the UK, Palak works with the ‘Food For All’ foundation which offers free meals to everyone, regardless of background. In addition to this, Palak works as a volunteer with Debate Mate, a UK based organisation aimed at developing communication skills for kids too young to read books.
In addition to her work as an education campaigner, Palak has also been recognised for her written work, having won a competition with ‘Delhi Poetry Slam’. She has written a published poetry anthology entitled; ‘This is how I die of wandering’ which includes a collection of her work.
September 2019 - Archana Vijau Kumar
Archana Vijau Kumar (Malaysia) is interested in promoting youth skills and helping to inspire future leaders. Archana is an Law Graduate from the University of London, who in between working as a legal intern, is an active Theirworld advocate and campaigner.
Archana organised the ‘Future Youth Summit’, a conference that focuses on the role of young people in bringing about universal access to holistic education. The conference brought together over 500 young leaders, government officials, field experts and youth development stakeholders to discuss the topic; ‘The Future of Tomorrow’. The summit also focused on sustainability and the challenges facing young people in a digital future. Archana used the summit as an opportunity to promote Theirworld campaigns and discuss the role of a GYA and activities of other GYAs. See what Archana said about the event in a blog for Theirworld here.
Archana attended the Telangana Jagruthi International Youth Leadership Conference in Hyderabad, India. The conference was aimed at promoting sustainability and innovation based on Gandhian principles and was attended by high profile figures like Governor of the Telangana State and olympic medalists. The event gave Achana the chance to further spread the word of the GYA programme.
In addition to their work as a GYA, Archana is a Malaysian ambassador to Global Goodwill Ambassadors (GGA), an organisation aimed at promoting humanitarian causes around the world.
Archana is also the Malaysian delegate to the Commonwealth Youth Dialogue. This saw Archana attending a delegation in April 2019, taking the chance to build connections with other young leaders to discuss and promote the GYA programme. Archana also works in the Commonwealth Youth Council as the Asian Regional Representative, working to combat issues faced by young people in Asian countries.
August 2019 - Harriet Kamashanyu
Harriet Kamashanyu from Uganda has worked with Theirworld representing the GYA network since 2014. She is the head and founder of Rhythm of life, an organisation aimed at keeping the daughters of sex workers in school and breaking the cycle of sex work in vulnerable communities.
Harriet grew up in the Kabalagala neighbourhood in Kampala close to the biggest red light district in the country. Growing up she noticed that many of her peers dropped out of school and ended up engaging in sex work. Through her organisation Harriet aims to counter this and change the lives of women who have often been ignored by mainstream society.
Through her organisation Harriet participated in the national dissemination meeting on induced abortion and post-abortion care in Uganda. This meeting aimed to bring together key partners and stakeholders in health and government agencies to discuss adolescent post-abortion care. With Girls Not Brides Harriet was also involved in the organisation of the first National Girls’ summit in Uganda in November 2018. The summit aimed to gather stakeholders ranging from civil society organisations, government ministries and UN bodies to address issues facing girls in Uganda.
Harriet is a fellow of the German NGO KAS, with whom she is developing a public policy paper on the “Financial inclusion of marginalised girls and women in Uganda”. Harriet is also involved with the ‘Visualize’ project for Youth Arts Movement in Uganda which aims to equip young girls with professional media skills and direct them in using these skills in the fight for equality, human rights, good governance and democracy.
Harriet has received public recognition for her work as the recipient of the Uganda Youth Adolescents Heath Forum (UYAHF) ‘She decides Gender Equality Award’. She has also been selected as a 2019 fellow for Youth4policy, which aims to develop youth leaders and conduct public policy research from a youth perspective. She was also chosen in 2018 to be part of the YALI Nairobi regional centre leadership Academy and in 2017 was selected as one of the nine female African entrepreneurs to be part of the Y-her programme in South Africa.
July 2019 - Yaya Dama
Yaya Dama is a Global Youth Ambassador from Burkina Faso focused on fighting for equal education. Yaya believes that a good quality education is the best solution to provide a stable future. As the first child of 7 in his family to go to school, Yaya sees fighting for education as a moral obligation and a way to build better conditions in his community and around the world.
Yaya was the President of The Burkina Muslim Pupils and Students Association from 2016-2018, where he was involved in recent activity targeting more than 10,000 youths for civic education aimed at creating collaboration between teachers and pupils. He has also appeared on radio programmes on behalf of his organisation, where he has discussed topics ranging from education, peacebuilding and inter religious dialogue.
Yaya is the founder and current CEO of Talk for Education, which is an initiative aimed at bringing quality education to all in Burkina Faso. The organisation creates English clubs and libraries in schools as well as raising literacy among young people and finding scholarships for vulnerable children. The organisation has already created English clubs and a library, with more than 100 pupils and university students already benefitting.
In recognition of his work, Yaya was selected by The African Union International Center of Girls and Women Education to attend a three-day workshop at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia aimed at tackling barriers to education for women. He has also been declared a 2018 leader for the Obama foundation Africa program, following his completion of a year’s training. Yaya also represented Burkina Faso at the 2nd Model OIC For High Schools International Summit in Istanbul in April 2018. Yaya has been appointed to the Organization of Muslim Youth of West Africa, an organization composed of 20 national Muslim youth organisations from 8 countries in West Africa.
Yaya has worked closely with Theirworld on a number of campaigns including International Mother Language day and signing a letter which was sent to the government of Burkina Faso at meeting calling for investment in Early Childhood Education in Norway. Yaya has written a blog on the Theirworld website discussing his efforts to build inter-community cohesion and speak out against violent extremism.
June 2019 - Pavel Sawar
Pavel Sawar (Bangladesh) is a social entrepreneur and community leader based in Malaysia currently working within tech entrepreneurship, public service innovation, tech education and community development. He is a committed education campaigner with a particular focus on providing girls access to ICT education. He is committed to using education as a tool to combat gender equality and making Sustainable Development Goal 4 a reality.
Pavel is the co-founder of Youth Hub, a global platform for young people focused on innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. Youth Hub has run a number of schemes including the recent ‘School Coders’ initiative, aimed at familiarising students with computer programming and coding skills. Youth Hub also implemented the ‘Girls in ICT’ scheme which targets girls in education with an interest in ICT and STEM learning with computer technology skills, and the ‘Schoolpreneur’ initiative which aims to bring school students, academics, entrepreneurs, industry experts and Government officials together to promote the teaching of entrepreneurial skills.
Pavel is also the founder and Director of Codex Software Solution, an organisation which works to solve social and community problems with technological solutions in Malaysia, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Pavel is also the Director of Information Technology at The Commonwealth Youth Innovation Hub, an organisation aimed at developing human capital, driving economic and societal innovation, fostering unity and transforming societies through sustainable impact. He has contributed to Google Crowdsource Community as a Community Representative for Malaysia, and is a Google Street View trusted Photographer, featuring on a Google Official Blog and Local Guide channels, attending the Google Local Guides Summit 2017 at Google HQ in California.
In recognition of his work, Pavel was presented with the Young Entrepreneur Award 2015 by Bangladesh Open source Network (BdOSN).
Pavel has worked closely with Theirworld contributing to a number of our campaigns. This includes supporting our #WriteTheWrong, Message to Macron and International Women’s Day social media campaigns. Pavel created a video for our Mother Language Day day, organised an event and created online content for Menstrual Hygiene Day, and organised a school coding sessions for our #RewritingTheCode campaign. Pavel is also one of the most active contributors to the GYA facebook group and shares regular updates with the network about his work and activities.
Pavel recently represented his organisation Youth Hub at the future city summit Bangkok. He also chaired the session on 'The role of CSOs and NGOs on media literacy at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY)' dialogue: ‘Youth Deconstructing Fake News’ in Malacca City, Malaysia where he spoke publicly about the role of CSOs and NGOs in media literacy.
May 2019 - Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan
Kainat and Shazia are active education campaigners from Pakistan, who at the age of 21 have already devoted huge efforts battling for the rights of children to access education around the world. Kainat and Shazia were both injured in the bus attack on their friend and global education advocate Malala Yousafzai, and since then have been key advocates for equitable education, whilst also both undertaking degrees in nursing from the University of Edinburgh.
Along with other GYA’s, Kainat and Shazia attended the Theirworld 2019 International Women's Day event in london where they spoke about the importance of education as a right, as well as their own experiences in overcoming extreme odds to access education. They both received past recognition for their work in the form of the ‘Hammer Award’ at the Garaji Gujurart 2 Leadership Awards’ for influential South Asians living in the UK, and worked with Theirworld as a guest editors for the ‘A World at School’ website (the past alias to the GYA program).
They have both devoted particular efforts to campaigning for girls right to education, with Kainat saying at Theirworld’s recent International Women’s Day event; "Girls and women have a special role. They can choose whatever they want to be. Please support those people who cannot speak for themselves”. On a recent trip to Georgia, Kainat and Shazia also met with Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, where they shared their work on girls education in Pakistan. They also met with girls in rural areas of the country, many of whom have faced obstacles in accessing education.
Whilst in Georgia they both attended the 'Youth 2250' event hosted by Georgia's UN youth delegate in Tbilisi. The event was based on UN Security Council Resolution 2250 which emphasises the role of youth in peace building and negotiations. The event provided Kainat with the opportunity to meet with young people from Georgia, Israel, Pakistan, Malaysia and Panama, and aimed to unite representatives who shared a belief in the importance of enacting change on a community based level.
Congratulations Kainat and Shazia, keep up the interesting and inspiring work.
April 2019 - Gideon Olanrewaju
Gideon is an education advocate from Nigeria focusing on gender and Early Childhood Development. His passion for education stems from being raised in a rural community where limited finances and learning opportunities hindered access to quality education.
Since joining the Global Youth Ambassador programme in June 2016, Gideon has been active in supporting Theirworld on our Early Childhood Development, #YouPromised and #WriteTheWrong campaigns. He has used his voice to help amplify ours by drafting, co-signing and sharing petitions and writing blogs on the need for psychosocial support at pre-primary level.
Gideon represented the Global Youth Ambassador programme at the 2018 United Nations General Assembly. Representing the youth perspective in high-level meetings with business executives and dignitaries, including Amina Mohammed (United Nations Deputy Secretary-General), Gordon Brown (United Nations Special Envoy for Global EducIation) and Graca Maçhel (former Minister of Education and Culture, Republic of Mozambique). Gideon advocated for young people at the Global Business Coalition for Education Breakfast meeting, stressing the need for multilateral agencies to engage young people in global policy-making processes. Speaking at the live launch of the Deloitte-Global Business Coalition for Education Youth Skills Report, Gideon shared his perspective on better support for educational systems from businesses and the necessary youth skills needed to thrive and survive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Gideon has been involved in programs facilitating access to quality education for low-income and marginalized communities in Nigeria, South Africa and the UK, since 2012. He is also part of the Commonwealth Students Association and a member of the Africa Regional Working Group. At the 2018 Education World Forum in London he represented the Chevening Scholarships and Foreign and Commonwealth Office, spearheading the delivery of youth voices to over 62 Ministers of Education. Gideon highlighted innovative improvements aimed at high quality and effective education systems and state based mechanisms to finance education.
Gideon is the Founder of the International Youth Coalition for Education (www.iyceducation.org). It’s aim is to develop the largest community of youth leaders and organisations which effectively improve educational and livelihood outcomes for children around the world.
No doubt, it’s the responsibility of young people to not only DEMAND but act to ensure that the right of all children and young people, to equal and quality educational opportunities, is ensured. As Youth, we must ALWAYS follow up with ACTIONS.
March 2019 - Taha Khan
Taha Khan is a fervent child rights advocate and campaigner from India. She is the founder and CEO of Child Awareness Project (CAP), an award-winning is a youth-led nonprofit organisation that believes in the power of youth engagement and the spirit of activism to harness positive change, advocating for children’s rights worldwide.
Taha attended the United Nations General Assembly in 2016 as part of the Theirworld delegation, representing her fellow Global Youth Ambassadors. Taha was chosen due to the quality of her campaigning and advocacy work from the date she joined the network. In New York, Taha helped convene our #SafeSchools event, meeting and speaking to some of the most influential figures in international development, including Baela Jamil (Education Commissioner), Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), David Miliband (International Rescue Committee), Kailash Satyarthi (children’s education campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize winner), Sarah Brown (Founder and former President of Theirworld) and Julia Gillard (former Prime Minister of Australia).
Taha has also acted as an information conduit for her fellow Global Youth Ambassadors, writing daily journals published for Theirworld, and gathering content for our social media channels, including highlighting the launch of the eagerly awaited Learning Generation report which spearheaded the proposal of the International Finance Facility for Education, which Theirworld is now campaigning for major government figures to support.
Taha has supported Theirworld’s #5for5, #SafeSchools and #YouPromised campaigns and has written articles for our website, including, “Education is not just a need but a tool to alleviate poverty”.
As a medical student with a particular interest in child development and neurology, Taha has been able to observe the positive and powerful impact of early intervention and early learning on children’s wellbeing and attainment in her work and in deepening her understanding of early childhood education. Taha adopts a holistic approach to education, believing that hostile environments can and do prove to have a counterproductive effect on children. Having witnessed the limited aspirations for girls and women in particular within her community, Taha finds herself compelled to quash the barriers to education.
Aware of the many children who are unable to access quality education, Taha created an initiative at CAP to tackle bullying and supporting young disadvantaged people through the development of their soft skills, converting them into life skills. Taha and her organisation have been featured on the Inspiration page of The Queen’s Commonwealth website.
Young people need to be seen, heard and have a seat at the table, where decisions pertaining to them are made. The Global Youth Ambassador network has made this possible.
February 2019 - Nyugah Innocent Fomusoh
Nyugah, 29, is a passionate and dedicated advocate for children’s education based in Cameroon. His activism is shaped by personal experience and recognises the hardships children face when tasked with an uncertain future and compounded by even more uncertain education provision.
Nyugah grew up in the English speaking part of Cameroon, where he attended and completed his education. “All I have that I achieved today is thanks to education,” he says, recognising the gifts that education can bring to any child’s future.”
He uses his gifts to fight for others right to free, quality education and is a passionate and active supporter of Theirworld’s WriteTheWrong campaign. He states “It’s painful knowing that so many others in this part of Cameroon and other parts of the world are unable to achieve their dreams because of lack of access to affordable and quality education.”
His activism comes in many forms from being a speaker and facilitator for several youth events, to motivating and building the next generation of volunteers and encouraging young students and graduates to embrace a culture of volunteerism.
Last year, Nyugah worked with NSESA Africa to provide school supplies to 21 street children in the Assin Foso community in Ghana. He also volunteered with JEC, a programme that seeks out to promote ethical entrepreneurship for youth.
Nyugah also spoke at “Talk on GBV” organized by Leap Girl Africa, a non-governmental organisation headed by fellow Global Youth Ambassador, Pertulla Ezigha, and volunteered on the walk against Gender Based Violence.
When not contributing to education activism, Nyugah took time out to showcase one of the four languages he speaks for International Mother Language Day.
Nyugah recognises the importance of personal stories in education narratives and has contributed content on Day of the African Child focused on a personal take on 'Leave no child behind for Africa's development'.
Advocating for quality education for all is my own way of fighting to give everyone a chance to their dreams, to a better future. It’s also a chance to enforce my passionate commitment to making the world a better place.
January 2019 - Daniella Akellot
Daniella, 30, is a committed and dedicated disability and education campaigner and advocate of invisible disabilities. Since joining the network in 2017, Daniella has taken part in some of Theirworld’s major campaigns, such as #YouPromised, #RewritingTheCode and #5for5. Daniella believes through education, children are empowered with the knowledge and skills that will help them grow sustainable futures, become employed, provide for their families and access appropriate healthcare. Education can propel individuals out of poverty hence its importance for everyone. Daniella is a member of the Rotary Club of Kampala Ssese Islands, Uganda, and has given career guidance talks to primary school pupils located in rural Ssese Islands.
Daniella has written powerful blogs on education for the Voices page and has utilised the platform to highlight barriers faced by children in Uganda.
Daniella says “quality education for all is important, because I believe every child deserves a chance to attend good schools and receive the best education possible.” Daniella’s interest in equitable education stems from childhood, growing up she felt she was different from many of her friends. In school, she was ridiculed for having poor handwriting by her teachers and classmates. Teachers could not understand why an intelligent child with a promising future received poor marks in written exams. She was often asked why she was not like her friends. She was eventually diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue disorder characterised by joint hypermobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyperextensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal) and tissue fragility amongst other complications.
Since then she has worked to ensure no child is left behind - she has this personal experience and become the focal person for the 5th Inclusive Sports Festival, where she led a committee and a team of fifty volunteers in organizing a sports event aimed at promoting inclusion of children with disability in sports and recreation. This was a USAID funded project organized by BlazeSports International, Uganda Paralympic Committee and CoRSU Rehabilitation Hospital.
Educate a child, empower a nation.
Global Youth Ambassador of the Year 2018 - Musa Olatunji
The Global Youth Ambassador of the Year is a special annual award given to a member of the youth network who has been doing outstanding work both within the network and outside it to break down the barriers to education, as voted for by their peers.
With equal access to quality education irrespective of backgrounds, a lot will be achieved that will be sustainable
Musa Olatunji is a driven youth advocate from Nigeria who is passionate about education and youth empowerment, especially for underprivileged children and those caught in conflict areas. Inspired from a young age to educate himself, and frustrated by the barriers that still exist in many societies which continue to deprive children and young people from doing the same, Musa works tirelessly to improve access to free, quality education for every child.
Musa has been a formidable Global Youth Ambassador since he joined the network in 2017. He has consistently campaigned with Theirworld: from helping to raise awareness of the global education crisis with WriteTheWrong campaign; to campaigning to prioritise Early Childhood Development (ECD) by sharing our report and telling donors that they need to commit 10% of their education budgets to pre-primary education; to making sure no child is denied an education by spreading Dynamo’s - a world-famous magician and Theirworld Ambassador, powerful message on broken promises for Syrian refugee children!
With a fundamental belief in collaboration to improve impact, Musa has worked with a number of his fellow Global Youth Ambassadors over the years. Musa contributed to and participated in fellow youth Ambassador Omotoke Olowo’s Autism Awareness walk and Abdulbasith Sijuade Akinyemi-Eshilokun’s health education outreach. He has also helped his peers Ifeanyi Ohaju Obed and Ndubuisi Precious launch their respective books this year. Plus, this year Musa became a World Young Leader for Humanity - an initiative, founded by a fellow Global Youth Ambassador Shahidul Islam Dinar (Bangladesh), which honours and connects young leaders all over the world who are working towards achieving the SDGs.
In addition, Musa is the co-founder of MORE Global Outreach Initiative (MGOI), which focuses on education, health, leadership, youth empowerment and community development. In the last year MGOI has been able to reach over 1,400 school children in Nigeria and Tanzania teaching them about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the importance of quality education and health and wellbeing.
November 2018 - Sylvia Kakyo
Sylvia Kakyo is a prominent and committed youth campaigner for education and youth skills from Uganda. As a result of her own personal experiences, Sylvia is passionate about human rights and education, especially girls’ education, understanding that education plays a key role in achieving gender equality as well as fighting poverty by giving poorer children the opportunity of learning skills which will allow them to enter the workforce.
Sylvia has been an informal leader within the Global Youth Ambassador network since she joined in June 2016, supporting and gaining the respect of her peers easily. She has earnestly participated in many of Theirworld’s campaigns including #SafeSchools and #5for5 campaign. In 2017, Sylvia was selected as one of two Global Youth Ambassador network representatives to attend the United Nations General Assembly with Theirworld, where she continued to campaign for early childhood development and girls education. She has also written multiple blogs on both topics. More recently, Sylvia was selected as one of five Global Youth Ambassadors to be part of the inaugural cohort of GYA Influencers, where she completed a 6 month training programme to increase for influencing and campaigning skills. Sylvia was voted by her peers on the programme as ‘the most likeable’ - a key trait in effective influencing!
Sylvia’s passion for education continues outside the the network as well; she founded Safe Schools Uganda (SSU), an NGO that aims to improve children’s access to quality education. They focus on a community based approach by raising awareness in small communities of the importance of education while working actively with young people. Over the past year she has been running the Keep me in School project, as part of her organisation, which focuses on improving girl’s enrolment in education. Furthermore, Sylvia has previously partnered with the Government of Uganda to ensure the integration of early childhood development across the country and she partnered with Aga Khan University Hospital in Kampala to provide free medical services for over 300 children as part of the Day of the African Child in 2017. Sylvia continues to be recognised as a young leader of today through her attendance at key meetings like the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in Uganda to being named one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans by Africa Youth Awards!
Being a GYA has illuminated me towards thinking outside the box!
October 2018 - Diksha Dinde
Diksha Dinde is an inspiring youth campaigner from India. She has been an integral part of the Global Youth Ambassador network since she joined in 2016. As a person with a disability herself, she has been advocating for the rights of disabled children, specifically their right to inclusive education, as well as trying to dismantle the stereotypes around disability and eliminate widespread inequalities in society.
Diksha has avidly blogged for Theirworld on inclusive education, including taking part in Theirworld’s Disability Week earlier this year ahead of the first Global Disability Summit that was held in the UK. Diksha was also shortlisted for GYA Disability S/Hero earlier this year as well. Diksha has also taken part in many of Theirworld’s campaigns including Theirworld’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) campaign.
In 2016, Diskha launched a small mobile school in Pune, India with the aim of allowing child labourers and underprivileged children to access mainstream education and schooling. The initiative aims to look at ECD as a whole and through this initiative Diksha and her team engage marginalised children and provide them with activity-based learning programmes and daily meals.
Over the past year, while continuing with the development of his project, Diksha has been engaging in a wide number of activities herself from conducting seminars to break taboos related to menstruation to recently attending the Youth Exchange Programme in South Korea as part of the Indian Youth Delegation. Diska was also named the ‘Best Delegate’ in December last year at the Asia Pacific Future Leader Conference in Malaysia.
Education is the only key to social change. I have a dream to reach to those who are ignored by the society just because they do not fit in. I feel that there will be a day when people adapt the values of inclusiveness, tolerance and acceptance irrespective of their caste, sex, or religion.
September 2018 - Kakar Hayat Hamandzai
Kakar Hayat Hamandzai is an inspirational teacher and youth campaigner from Pakistan. He has dedicated himself to campaigning for education and girls’ education in particular since 2011 and has achieved - with the support of Pakistan’s Department of Education to open many closed schools in his district with the aim of giving every child the right to education.
As an extremely engaged education campaigner, Kakar has organised enrolment walks, seminars and sessions in the past to raise awareness and ensure communities knew to enrol their children in school. He has also written articles on education and collected over 13,000 signatures in 2016 in favour of child rights, which were later presented by the pop superstar turned activist, Shakira at the G20 summit.
This year Kakar worked relentlessly on the ground to collect 20,000 signatures towards 1.5 million signatures which were delivered to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, calling for a new international funding plan for education. He said: "I have travelled from city to city, district to district, community to community to collect the signatures and carry our message of education for every child."
Kakar believes that everyone should be able to access education, not only to gain knowledge but to also learn about their basic human rights as well as to develop a future career. He believes that “no one should be denied the right to education”, stressing the importance of girls’ access to education as he believes that by educating women the whole world will see a positive change.
Over the last year, Kakar has worked with the United States Agency for International Development - Property Rights Program (USAID-PRP) in the Education department training teachers, head teachers and district officials from the Department of Education on reading components as well as learning techniques and strategies. He has also completed his Masters in Political Science. Kakar is currently visiting schools daily in order to follow up with teachers, monitor progress and provide as much support as needed.
Education is the way toward a progressive world
August 2018 - Javita Nauth
Javita Nauth is a prominent American-Guyanese youth campaigner on Early Childhood Development (ECD). Javita has been inspired to work towards breaking down the barriers for the girls, because as Javita says “every girl child can set herself free and education is the key to unlocking that freedom.”
As a passionate ECD campaigner she played an important part in helping the launch of Theirworld’s report on ECD funding released in April this year advocating for the US to take action in re-balancing and filling in the financial gap for pre-primary education. As a proud Global Youth Ambassador, Javita also utilises the strong network of fellow Global Youth Ambassadors to connect and spread ideas. She is currently collaborating with fellow Global Youth Ambassadors to support her own project of developing a school in Nepal that was destroyed by the earthquake in 2015.
Over the last year, they, Javita has been spearheading the redevelopment of the Parijat Vidyakunja Primary School in Bhaktapur in Nepal. Through collaboration with her team in the Global Futures Network as well, Javita has been working internationally to build up partnerships and foster bilateral communications between youth activists in Nepal and New York. These integral actions will ensure that children in the area have a place to come together, learn, and nurture skills required for the future.
Education is my superpower. Can you imagine if all the young girls in the world, particularly young girls who have faced adversities were able to set themselves free and activate their superpower? What a world that would be!
July 2018 - Ousmane Ba
Ousmane Ba, 25, is a champion for girls’ education and children's rights. Originally from Sierra Leone, Ousmane grew up in the midst of war and uncertainty until his family moved to Guinea. Growing up and attending school in Sierra Leone during the 1990s, Ousmane has had first-hand experience of the impact of conflict on education - his own primary school was one of many destroyed in Freetown. In total, Ousmane was out of school for 3 full years. He says, “Education defines me today and it has led me into an incredible journey to bring about change and make the world a better place.”
Ousmane has lived his passion for education in many ways, not least of all by being an integral and active part of the Global Youth Ambassador network for over 3 years. He has taken part in all Theirworld’s major campaigns over the past 3 years, such as Theirworld’s Safe Schools, #YouPromised, #RewritingTheCode and #5for5 campaigns. He has also written a number of blogs on education for the Voices page and was selected to represent the network at United Nations General Assembly in 2016. Most recently, Ousmane has been campaigning with Theirworld to establish an International Finance Facility for Education. In May this year, he was one of 3 Global Youth Ambassadors representing over 1.5 million young people globally at a high level meeting with the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, and the UN Special Envoy on Education, Gordon Brown.
Ousmane’s dedication to girls’ education in particular stems from the beliefs and experiences of his mother who was denied an education. He has founded an education project to raise awareness about girls’ education and provide ways for girls to go to school in Guinea - The Girl Child Project. The Girl Child Project are now sponsoring 147 girls through primary and secondary school in Guinea. Plus, through their Co-Exist program, Ousmane is ensuring that men and boys are also being advocates for girls’ education and they currently have more than 20 male ambassadors advocating for girls education and gender equality in local communities in Guinea.
Ousmane currently works as a Community Outreach Officer at the National Centre for Disaster Preparedness, as well as leading peace-building initiatives in Guinea to promote youth engagement and civil duties in Guinea. He is also a One Young World Ambassador, and he gave a keynote speech at the One Young World Summit in 2017. As part of the Summit, Ousmane was also awarded the Resolution Project award by One Young World.
The statistics of children and girls out of school are often use as a mild tool to forge a political debate. Being a GYA is recognizing that these children and girls are not just mere numbers; they are the light at the end of the tunnel and the hope of a better day.
June 2018 - Sarah Mwikali Musau
Sarah Mwikali Musau is a 25 year old female activist from Kenya who is dedicated to breaking down the barriers to quality inclusive education for all, focusing especially on people with disabilities. Sarah has been a key member of the Global Youth Ambassador network for over 4 years now. She has actively taken action with Theirworld’s campaigns from signing petitions to online advocacy. Sarah has also been selected to be part of the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative Youth Council, where she is involved in providing advice and input on quality education, as well as the role the private sector can play both in education and providing job and training opportunities afterwards.
Sarah’s passion for education is fuelled from her personal experience of disability and of gaining her own voice through being educated. It is this voice that Sarah has been using to articulate the exclusion of certain groups like girls and people with disabilities and bring forward solutions. She has previously worked with Leonard Cheshire Disability International and Action Network for the Disabled on Inclusive Education. Sarah is currently the Advocacy Officer for the United Disabled Persons of Kenya which works for the rights of all persons with disabilities (both young and old) across Kenya. She has been involved in policy making in Kenya both in terms of education and Kenya’s policy for mainstreaming disability into existing institutions.
Sarah has also founded her own initiative called the Gifted Community Centre, which aims to create awareness on inclusive education, disability and the Sustainable Development Goals through activities like live Twitter chats. The advocacy activities have also been a platform we can involve other organisations to create a stigma free environment for persons with disabilities. Recent achievements include partnering with an organization to donate sanitary pads to children with intellectual disabilities in Kibera, Kenya to enable them to stay in schools; and partnering with another organisation to mentor children with and without disabilities in school.
Being a GYA has been such an elevating platform for me, personally and professionally. It has created opportunities for me, amplified my voice, and made me appreciate even more the role of education in my life. It has been a position that has enabled me to face duty bearers and demand for quality and inclusive education. Education is a prerequisite to inclusive development.
May 2018 - Petrider Paul
Petrider Paul is an outstanding Global Youth Ambassador and a champion for girls education whose passion for education comes from having personally witnessing the barriers to education on her country such as poverty, discrimination, disability and violence.
Petrider became an activist when she was 15 through a girls’ club at school. Since then she has worked with United Nations Youth Associations (UNYAs), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) Tanzania, Youth for Change Tanzania as well as being a Girls Not Brides advocate.
As a Global Youth Ambassador, Petrider has continued her focus on girls in regards to education by inputting into and promoting our #ChangeTheCulture campaign around International Women’s Day. She has also consistently highlighted the issue of access to education for young mothers in Tanzania from gender based violence in schools to being banned from returning to school. In fact, Petrider led a petition calling on the President of Tanzania to let teenage mothers return to school collecting over 83,000 signatures! She has also managed to fundraise over $10,000 to support 5 teenage mothers for 4 years of secondary school. Her goal is to raise $70,000 to put 20 teenage mothers through secondary school.
She has also founded her own NGO called Voice Out Against Gender Based Violence Initiative, which is an all young women's Initiative working to advocate an end of Gender-based Violence by empowering adolescent girls to make change! Earlier this year, Petrider was awarded Commonwealth Point of Light for her amazing work for gender equality.
“We all have a role to play to ensure all barriers to quality education are eradicated and creating a safe , friendly environment for girls and boys to access education.”
April 2018 - Harshit Gupta
Harshit Gupta, from India, has been an inspiring Global Youth Ambassador since he joined the network in January 2017. He is a passionate education campaigner, women’s rights activist and a social entrepreneur.
Harshit has been actively promoting the Theirworld’s campaigns both online and offline. In 2017, Harshit collected over 2,700 signatures for a petition ahead of the G20 Summit calling for the establishment of the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) - a bold new funding plan which aims to mobile $10 billion annually for education.
Harshit is also the founder of Womenite, which aims to create an equal society through education, love and empowerment. Started in 2015, they have conducted over 100 campaigns with over 20,000 women and young people on issues such as child abuse, gender and menstrual hygiene. Recently, Harshit gave his first TEDx talk on “Why women’s issues are not just women’s issues” - highlighting a crucial issue in a very accessible way!
Harshit has also been part of Global Action on Poverty since 2015 and a Queens Young Leader, having just completed a 1 year course on Leading Change from the University of Cambridge. As of this year, he is now an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, where he will be working to build stronger networks between him and his fellow young people across the Commonwealth. Finally, Harshit has been nationally recognised for his work in India by winning the National Youth Award by India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in January this year.
Education is the most powerful tool that can bring change in this society and help us to fight any issues. If given the proper education at the right time...that will lay a better foundation for the future.
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