In October 2017, seven countries took part in the 100 Million campaign’s first Decision-Makers’ Back to School Day. The event brought elected officials and thought-leaders in front of students to hear from them what can be done to ensure every child in this world is free, safe, and educated.
Events took place in countries across five continents, with politicians welcoming the opportunity to go back to school to speak with young people. Discussions were driven by young people, sharing their ideas and solutions for some of the most pressing issues facing the world’s most marginalised children and young people.
From this strong start, we hope young campaigners, motivated by the discoveries made through their research and by their engagements with decision-makers, will take the next step on this journey to ensure every child is free, safe, and educated.
On the 16th October, the Back to School Day programme was organised in Barguna district, in southern Bangladesh, where Honorable Member of Parliament Advocate Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu (pictured) went back to the school he attended.
With the success of this event, as well as the major launch of the campaign in April 2017, the campaign in Bangladesh is working on more activities to be delivered in the coming months.
Five schools (in São Paulo, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Alagoinhas, and Natal) were visited by Senators, Deputies and social leaders on the 20th October – with several going back to the public schools at which they themselves studied. Students brought local and global together, by exploring and presenting the situation for marginalised children in their own communities as well as worldwide.
Events were attended by Tania Dornellas, a social activist representing Fórum Nacional de Prevenção e Erradicação do Trabalho Infantil (FNPETI), Daniel Cara, General Coordinator of the Brazilian Campaign for the Right to Education, Deputy João Carlos Bacelar Batista and Senator Lídice da Mata (pictured).
Activities were live-streamed on Facebook and shared across Twitter and Instagram. Students, young people, decision makers and thought leaders discussed some of the most pressing issues facing young people in Brazil and around the world today including: challenges in the fight against child labour and the right to education, the rights of indigenous communities and eradication of all kinds of exploitation of children. More information on the campaign can be found here.
In Chile, Corporación Opción was joined by regional ministerial secretary Elia Piedras. students and young members. The session was designed for them to explore the barriers that children face around the world in achieving their right to be free, safe, and educated.
On 25th October, Corporación Opción held a meeting in congress attended by 14 deputies who met to take the pledge. 15 young people led the Chamber of Deputies through a lesson on the rights of all children to be free, safe and educated. The event was filmed by the Congress Broadcast channel and can be watched here, and more information on the campaign can be found here.
The campaign in India was able to reach out to a huge number of schools across the country, with millions of children taking part.
‘The Big Lesson’ took place as part of the Bharat Yatra, which was a country-wide march to raise awareness and achieve policy change on child abuse and safety. The march itself encompassed 11,000km, with around 800,000 marchers in total – many of whom were young people, including survivors of abuse and child labour, who raised their powerfully voices to successfully achieve change.
41 politicians took part in Back to School in Sweden, including the three government ministers for education: Gustav Fridolin (Minister for Education, pictured), Helene Hellmark Knutsson (Minister for Higher Education and Research), and Anna Ekstrom (Minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education and Training).
As a major result of the week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, together with the leader of the youth sector of Sweden’s major political party has declared that education for all will be their priority for the coming year. In addition, two new organisations have reached out to join the National Planning Group on the 100 Million campaign in Sweden.
Swedish press coverage can be found here.
Back to School day events were held on 25th October, where WAO-Afrique launched the 100 Million campaign in Togo. The article here shares the successes of the event which was attended by the President of Parliamentarians Without Borders for the Rights of the Child (PSF-DE) and member of the National Assembly of Togo, Albert Edoh Howanou, along with students and other CSOs.
In the UK, over 5000 students will be taking part in the 100 Million lesson activity this year, and are sharing their completed activities with MPs.
A quote from one school in Scotland, which hosted its local MP:
“Dr Philippa Whitford MP met with our Rights Respecting School Ambassadors. They presented to her about the work in school community and beyond as well as engaging in discussions about her work and future projects. Everyone also took part in a lesson about inspirational leaders and how we can make a difference to eradicate poverty both in our area and globally. A fantastic opportunity for young people!”
Several other MPs including Liam Byrne (pictured) visited schools in their constituencies throughout the UK. Schools that weren’t able to secure time with their MP completed the activity with students and have sent it to their elected official’s office. Registrations are still coming through and it is highly anticipated more events will take place before the end of the year.