Make Women Matter

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Make Women Matter is a campaign around five inspirational and thought-provoking advocacy films offering a unique insight into the life and death challenges and choices that girls and women in poorer countries are facing every day. The films highlight the importance of Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG5). This goal, which was set in 2000 by the United Nations, aims to improve maternal health, reducing by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio and achieving universal access to reproductive health, by 2015. The Make Women Matter films illustrate how with simple interventions and sustained political will, the situation could be dramatically improved.

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Building My Platform For Yaarah Schools

Adizah Tejani, a former volunteer on overseas programme Platform2, reflects upon a busy month (and year) working for global development; from P2 to her contribution for Yaarah Schools…

As September drew to a close I took a step back to reflect upon a busy month and year. One thing that has tied together all my experiences is education…

Raising £900 to help provide a learning lifeline to children in village schools through Yaarah Schools, helping raise awareness of the MDG goals through a video that ended up having world-wide coverage and finally meeting Nick Clegg and Andrew Mitchell, to prove that there are young people who do care about development issues!

Firstly let’s start with Yaarah Schools. Yaarah Schools is a project that was set up in order to help improve the educational prospects of children in villages, by providing them with a learning lifeline. We have started in Adaklu Aziedukope Ghana.

The inability of government to provide all schools with adequate buildings led to the pursuit for a sustainable solution. A year ago I was in Kasapin, Ghana due to P2. Even though I was not at the Yaarah Schools project, my P2 experience allowed me to have a better understanding of the education system. I taught in the government school, and I split my teaching of current affairs between two classes of 14 to 18 year olds. There were about 60 students in one class and 40 in another. This was by no means an easy task to handle, but I embraced the challenge even though the teaching resources were minimal.

These children were lucky enough to have a classroom. Imagine trying to teach 60 14-16 year olds with minimal resources. The resources I had brought with me were a copy of the DFID mag, The Economist and some chalk. This experience made me understand how well resourced the education system in the UK actually is. In this day and age where education is viewed as fundamental in shaping one’s mind, and being an MDG goal, it is a shame that due to the context of a person’s situation they may not be able to have knowledge due to having inadequate classroom facilities.

So last October (2009), I arrived back home to finish my degree in International Development. I was further inspired to have a positive impact and Yaraah Schools was a way in which I felt I could do this. In the past year the team have raised over £5000 in a range of ways; from cake sales in Norwich, jewellery sales in Manchester and a fantastic cultural event called Fusionite in the heart of London.

Fusionite took place a few weeks ago, on September 6 at Avalon in Shoreditch. We had spent the whole summer bringing together musicians, designers, models and poets in preparation for a great night. However, in true London style the week before the event, it was announced that there would be a tube strike on the same day of the show… Yes, this made me really angry and annoyed; yet I knew that we had to push ahead with the show. In the end it was a great night and the Yaarah Schools team rose £900!

All the organising of rehearsals, calling acts, finding a venue and sorting out great food all worked out. And just a week ago two team members went out to build the next classrooms – check them out here.

Without my Platform2 experience I would not have been able to gain a deeper understanding of how the education system in Ghana works. So volunteering and fundraising for Yaarah Schools has led me to have a stronger belief that change is possible.

As posted on Ctrl Alt Shift

DFID, MDG’s and Young People

On Wednesday the 15th of September, I took the day off work to go and meet Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) and Andrew Mitchell (Minister for International Development) , along with 25 other young people. Above is the ‘official photograph’ and here is the ‘official press release‘ , can you spot me? I’m at the back in blue (next time I will focus more on the photo ops 🙂 )  Back to the important matter of why we were there.

We were there to help represent the views of over 30,000 young people from around the UK on International Development at an event called Our Voice. This was a chance to give young peoples’ views, ahead of the two-day UN Summit in New York which starts today on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The MDG were set in 2000 with the task of achieving them by 2015. Our Voice it involved two mini presentations, a Q&A as well the classic politician speeches. I enjoyed the fact that the Q&A session was very intense, and the ministers did agree to have a similar event in the future.

Was it a PR stunt? Well, I think they listened, I guess the outcome of the summit will show if they did. I think that the most important point if the day, was the about the impact these goals have on all generations. A person may sit in the UK and feel detached from what is going on in other countries, yet in our globalised world, we are all effected by the outcomes of the summit this week. Right after our meeting Nick Clegg and Andrew Mitchell had another appointment at the BOND event with 370 UK NGOs working in international development.

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Thank you to the great team at the DFID and VSO Youth Working Group for organising such an opportunity.

Yaarah Schools presents FUSIONITE!!!

Calling Ladies, Gentlemen and Everything in between!!!!

Spend a dazzling night filled with an eclectic mix of fashion, music, fun and more in the City’s hub of creativity at the exclusive Avalon venue!!!!

Support up and coming talent from the UK and across the globe in a wonderful showcase.

Get tickets @ Club Tickets , as there are only a few days till the show!!

WORLD CUP UNITY

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I love the way the World Cup brings so many people from around the world together to focus on the beautiful game :D.

Nothing to do this summer? ……………Why not volunteer.

As summer approaches there are many students looking for something to do with their time. With many of us struggling to find a job an alternative is to volunteer or be an intern. I have been volunteering for a while with many different types of organisations.

It began with Orange RockCrops in 2008 where the concept is that you volunteer for four hours and in return Orange will give you a concert ticket at the great Royal Albert Hall. Since then the idea has grown and so has the support with the likes of Lady Gaga, Snoop Dog and Tiny Tempah all showing their support. Click here for Orange RockCorps, Give and Get given.

Next in my volunteer journey was Platform 2. This was an experience that allowed me to go away for 10 weeks to volunteer in Kasapin, Ghana. I had an amazing time and learnt so much about another aspect of volunteering. It was a fully funded volunteer scheme, funded by the Department of International Development and run by Christian Aid and BUNAC. Since coming back I have been given the platform to express my experience in a range of ways from writing in my university newspaper to giving talks at a range of events. Platform 2 is still going on so click here to find out how you can also take part.


Next was Oxfam and the East London Campaigns Group. I thought it would be good to do something a bit more local. So I join the East London Campaigns Group. I love the flexibility of helping out where I can which let volunteering fit around me. Yaarah Schools is another way I involve myself in volunteering as it is a charitable cause that is helping improve the learning of children in villages around the world.

Overall, I am an exception to the rule as I have my fingers in many different aspects of volunteering. Yet this has allowed me to learn so much and also boost so many different skills. In this economic climate volunteering is one way of put yourself out there, showing a different aspect that you have to give. Employers would rather have an active person who is well rounded and volunteering helps do this. So enjoy and get involved this summer :).

OXFAM Tea Party

We all know that a lot of hip people are moving east these days. Well Oxfam have set up an East London Oxfam Campaigning Group in order to foster more involvement in the loving East End. Come along to the Tea Party on the 6th of June at Tina We Salute You @ 5-8pm and have some cake and tea and soak up the fun atmosphere. See you there!!!

p.s The next meeting will be on Monday 14 June from 7-8pm at the Gallery Cafe in

Bethnal Green.

A lens to think and reflect

The BBC is currently awash with a variety of programmes that show the aspects of life in the so-called ‘developing world’. Call it what you wish, but there are issues and the programmes help to bring complexed issues to the main stream.  ‘Blood and Oil staring Naomin Harris looks at the difficulties of the oil industry.

Another programme is ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Place for Women‘ in which Judith Wanga, a 23-year-old brought up in London from the age of 3, has her journey back to Democratic Republic of Congo filmed. Her journey shows the mix of attitudes and the many complex layers involved in conflict.

As the last section of Judith’s journey shows it is hard to put well-meant words into action , being that voice on behalf of which ever cause we feel is so voiceless. Platform 2 are working alongside Sketchbook for the 1st pop up shop which is a temporary creative space for visitors to interact with a series of Sketchbook’s contributing guest bloggers, artists, designers, illustrators and editors who are all key figures in the contemporary fashion and arts community. Running for 3 weeks at 10, Newburgh St, Carnaby, London, W1F 7RN, go down for a peak into other peoples experiences.

This just one of many platforms to express ones experience and to listen and engage in the experiences of others.  A way I share my experience and allow it to influence what I do is through my involvement in ‘Yaarah Schools‘.

Experiences can range, but it is how you use them that enables us to think and reflect.

Chocolate Delights

Most of us love chocolate

BBC Panorama: Chocolate -The Bitter Truth highlights some of the issues regarding cocoa that we may not like to think about when indulging in our sweet chocolate delights. Having worked on a cocoa farm during my experience in Kasapin, Ghana I managed to see first hand the story behind chocolate. From the Amanjaro district office to breaking cocoa pods on farms I learnt many things about cocoa in Ghana. In Kasapin the most of the children go to go to school and help out on the cocoa farm when then can.

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My experience showed me the value of working together as a family in order to gain from the profits of cocoa. The story of cocoa is complexed and even though the Panorama film gives an insight into the a certain aspect of cocoa, the positive aspects are not always shown. The work towards changing the workings of cocoa practices in order to improve livelihoods is slow but steady. Interest are changing as the Cadburys advert aims to show.

Enjoy your chocolate :).