Young campaigners wanted to travel to Africa | ActionAid UK

Young campaigners wanted to travel to Africa

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A national competition to find the Young Ambassadors 2012 for the Global Campaign for Education is now open to schoolchildren in the UK. The winners will have the opportunity to visit Africa in February 2012 with the charity ActionAid and the Global Campaign for Education.

14 and 15 year–olds in the UK are invited to apply through their school for the Steve Sinnott Award. This competition will give two committed individuals, and their teacher, the amazing opportunity to travel to Africa and investigate the barriers to education that many children face.

The competition aims to raise awareness of the need to provide every child with a full primary education by the year 2015. This is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals that world leaders agreed back in the year 2000. Since that time, some progress has been made, but there are still 67 million children around the world who are missing out on an education.

On the trip, the winners will meet children - some who are missing out on school completely and some struggling to attend - and hear from them about the challenges to education they are facing. Children from ActionAid supported projects will give the UK pupils a unique insight into the lives of young people the same age. The students will also meet with project workers, community leaders and politicians, to hear about progress on education for all in that country.

On their return to the UK the young campaigners will help ‘spread the word’ by speaking at union conferences and to the media. They will also feature in a short film, which will form the centerpiece for next year’s Send My Friend to School Campaign, organized by the Global Campaign for Education, to inspire schools across the country to help get free, quality primary education worldwide by 2015. This year thousands of UK pupils in over 5,000 schools took part in the campaign.

Steve Sinnott was passionately committed to the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), which believes that education is the best route out of poverty. The Steve Sinnott Award was set up shortly after his untimely death in 2008 to further the skills of young education campaigners. This exciting award scheme was originally funded with donations in memory of Steve, and is now jointly supported by the NUT and the GCE UK.

Navdeep Bual, one of this year’s award winners said: “Becoming a Young Ambassador is the best thing I have ever done! I will never forget the things I have learnt and these memories will forever be behind the decisions I make in my life. My passion has grown (even though I didn’t think it could!) and I think I have also grown as a person on this journey. There is nothing that comes close to this experience which is why I would recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity… and as we always said: Education equals opportunity!”

The Global Campaign for Education can only accept entries from children with the full support of a school, as a teacher must accompany the students on the trip.