Youth Summit: how it all began

Youth Summit: how it all began

Aaron Toland, aged 22 from Belfast, volunteered with Progressio ICS in Honduras. Here, he captures the opening activity at the Youth Summit. The Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening opened the Youth Summit reflecting on the success of the MDGs. Poverty has been halved, child mortality slashed, to name a few. Justine focused on the differences in the SDGs and the MDGs,  the focus of sustainability and universal application. She linked SDG 16:Peace and Justice to the refugee crisis in Syria and emphasised the need for a peaceful and just world, free from violence. Justine looked at the crowd and said that events like this are how change occurs, and that young people have two major roles to play in achieving these SDGs: *Be advocates of change* “Our voice and our opinions of what we want in our world.” *Be agents of change* “Get pulled of the audience and onto the stage, change things, be the change maker.” The crowd were greeted to a video message from Nobel Laureate Malala Yousofzai who started by apologising that she could not attend, but reassured those in attendance it was for a valid reason, for the education that she had fought hard for. The documentary “He Called Me Malala” showcasing Malala’s story is released across the UK on 6th November. Anti-FGM activist stepped up to a roaring crowd, thanked everyone for the invitation to the Youth Summit and praised the role young people have had to date. Fahma reflected upon the challenges of raising issues as a young person, ranging from having over 75 people protesting at her college over an anti-FGM event that was planned,...
Fahma Mohamed talks anti-FGM activism and youth campaigning

Fahma Mohamed talks anti-FGM activism and youth campaigning

Raleigh ICS volunteer Holly Campbell interviews Youth Summit special guest speaker Fahma Mohamed on girls’ rights, campaigning, and overcoming shyness. Fahma is pictured with her sister, Hamda, and Justine Greening. How did you first become involved in campaigning against FGM? Despite living in a community where it is practiced, I was very unaware of FGM or what it stood for as a child. It wasn’t until year 7 that I asked my mother, who explained it to me and how it was practiced in the UK. At first I didn’t believe her. How could this be happening at all, let alone in the UK? And why isn’t anyone doing anything about it? It was from this point that I gradually became more involved in campaigning, starting in the background before coming more confident and passionate. What would your advice be to young people who would also like to campaign against the issue but maybe are too shy or don’t know where to start? At first I too was very shy! My best advice is to take baby steps – no one expects you to jump in straight away and do speeches. For me, it took many years. You don’t need to be behind cameras to influence change, as long as you are helping in some way you are doing great. Do what you feel comfortable with. What do you feel is the key way to help stop the issue of FGM? Of course there are many complex ways to address the issue, but in the end it all ties down to education. In particular, FGM and girls’ rights needs...