Campaign Manager | Global Campaign For Education UK
- Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background before joining the Send My Friend to School campaign?
Before joining Send My Friend I was at ActionAid running the activism for their Tax Justice campaign (calling for big multi-national business to pay the correct taxes in poor countries, so that those places had more revenue available to fund public services such as schools, hospitals etc). I have always been passionate about global justice issues and have campaigned on all sorts within this area from tax justice, to garment worker’s rights, to land rights and more. I also studied Development Economics and International Development at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
The element of being a campaigner I like most of all is working on things that spark people’s personal activism journey and empowering them to see themselves as change-makers. I want people to see the problems in our world and the connections between them and come together to create change.
- The campaign has been active since 2005, how has the focus evolved over the years?
The Send My Friend to School campaign came out of the Make Poverty History campaign in 2005 and got school children involved in the anti-poverty movement. In the decade since Send My Friend to School has become more established and has campaigned on a range of global education issues from girls education, to education in emergencies, to quality teaching and more. Over that time millions of school children have taken part in the campaign learning about the issue, and crucially finding out how to campaign to change it. (You can read more about the history of the campaign here.)
- Which countries, or more generally which areas, does the campaign feel is in most urgent need of international help?
We don’t specify our work to one particular country – we look at the global picture and what role the UK government’s aid and policies can play in realizing the right to education for all . There are currently 263million children missing out on school across the world and millions more are in school but not learning due to a lack of quality provision. The children that are in most need, as they are most likely to be missing out on a quality education, are those within marginalised groups – for example children with disabilities, girls, refugees or children caught up in war, conflict or emergency situations. World leaders have promised every child a quality education by 2030 but by current rates of progress we won’t reach this target until 2084 – over 50 years too late, leaving a whole generation behind. The world is experiencing an education crisis and we need to come together to solve it, which is what Send My Friend to School is working to do.
- How has working with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) helped move the campaign forward on the national and international level?
The main way in which Send My Friend to School works in through getting young people in UK schools to learn about the issue of global education and to take action to change it. Each year we devise a creative action that young people can do within the classroom and then they invite their local MP into school to present the campaign to them. Since February, over 300,000 UK young people have taken part in this year’s campaign.
Another key way we work to get MPs engaged on the issue is through partnering with the APPG on Global education and supporting them with events, debates and briefings. This is a fantastic way of creating parliamentary support for the Send My Friend to School campaign, and maintaining a network of MPs who can champion the issue of global education and push the government to take action to support the millions of children who are missing out on a quality education.
- What would you say has been your biggest challenge as the Send My Friend to School campaign manager?
I have been in my role as Campaign Manager for Send My Friend for a year now, and I would say that the biggest challenge we have faced in this time was the snap General Election. This is because the timing of the election clashed with our main campaign push and so we had to change our timeline as it was not possible to campaign during the election period as there are strict rules and regulations, and MPs are also too busy to engage on issues outside of the election. However, we changed our plans around and were fortunately still able to carry them out after the election.
- How can individuals and businesses get involved with the Send My Friend to School campaign?
If you are interested in Send My Friend – then please do get involved: you can sign up on our website and follow us on Twitter or Facebook. If you know any teachers, youth group leaders or young people get them involved in our youth campaign.
- Can you talk about any of the campaign’s upcoming projects?
We are currently running the #missingpiece campaign because education financing is the missing piece of the global education puzzle. We are calling on UK government to pledge to $500 million to the Global Partnership for Education to ensure millions more children get the chance to go to school. Young people across the UK – from the Isle of Wight to Orkney – are creating paper puzzle pieces with messages about what makes a quality education and sending them to their MPs. Schools are currently on their Summer break but we will doing a big push on the campaign when they are back in early September.