A couple of weeks ago I told you that I was selected for a volunteering programme, and promised to write some more about it later. By now we’ve had two launch days with workshops, presentations and training sessions, kicked off a new campaign and had a little taste of what we can expect in the following months. With all that we’ve done already I’m starting to feel like I’m a bit late telling my oh so many dedicated readers about this, so here we go.
The programme I’m talking about is called the ONE Youth Ambassador programme, for which 40 young people are selected each year – that is, in the Netherlands. The programme also exists in a couple of other European countries, which means that we are 300 people strong together. ONE’s ambition is to bring an end to extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, and tries to do that by means of lobbying and campaigning. We believe that people can make a difference by fighting for justice, so we don’t want their money: we want their voice. With the combined voices of by now over 7 million people around the world we convince governments to do more in the eradication of these problems. The youth ambassadors are a dedicated bunch of volunteers who try to spread the word. We’ll come up with awesome new ideas for campaign activities, attend and organise events, get the media involved and talk to as many politicians as we can.
On the launch days we mainly got to know each other and received training for campaigning and lobbying, and on the second day we already got the chance to get started with the new campaign: ONEVote. In March we will have general elections in the Netherlands, which is a big opportunity for us to demand more attention for fighting poverty from all the potential new members of parliament. We try to make this happen by personally talking to them and having them sign a pledge in which they promise to contribute towards this goal (for Dutchies, click here to read the pledge).
Last Thursday we kicked off by talking to a bunch of politicians in The Hague, and managed to get 19 signatures on the first day. I got the chance to speak to politicians Loes Ypma and Sharon Dijksma together with a few other youth ambassadors, and they both signed! It was pretty awesome that they wanted to listen to us and they even showed a lot of interest in our personal motivation to be an ambassador. It really made me feel like I can actually make a little change, which is all I was looking for.
Up to the elections we will mainly focus on this campaign, but there’s also other campaigns we will use to raise awareness. I’m definitely excited to be a part of this programme, so I will probably spend a couple more posts on the subject throughout the year to tell you about all the amazing things we do. Stay tuned!
Awesome video about ONE: