Friday, 28th June, 5.45am in Berlin-Friedrichshain: The Youth Ambassadors are being picked up after a short night at the hostel. Well-rested feels different but the early bird changes the world (or something like that).
6.15am, Platz der Republik: A.k.a. the lawn in front of the German Parliament building. The Youth Ambassadors arrive and unload 140 giant posters from the truck. On the posters, you can see eyes of celebrities, other people and the eyes of the Youth Ambassadors, of course.
6.30am: Very athletic people are already – literally – up and running, at this time of the day. Weird! They are equally puzzled when they see our huge eye posters. One asks: What are you doing here?
6.45am: The same question seems to occupy the police officers when they stop by. After a short discussion about the validity of the permission, everything works out fine and we are allowed to stay. Phew!
7.45am: The Youth Ambassadors and the ONE team set up the posters on the lawn. We know that there are going to be many cameras later so we need to test what is the best way to set up the posters. We try out different combinations and choreographies so everything will go smoothly later.
8.45am: Finally, it’s breakfast time. The eye posters are all set, everything is ready, time for a few bites before the press arrives. We drive to the studio of Olafur Eliasson, who supported us as the creative advisor. There we also meet Melinda Gates. Over breakfast, the Youth Ambassadors and Melinda Gates get to talk about their involvement in ONE. Interesting exchange!
10.00am: Time to get going! We head back to the Bundestag and we are lucky – the sun comes out. Yay!
10.45am: Is everybody ready? It’s time for the group picture with Melinda Gates, Olafur Eliasson, singer Ivy Quianoo and Nassim who represents all Youth Ambassadors.
10.50am: Short statements by the participants for the press. ONE Germany Director Tobias Kahler explains what the campaign “Ich schaue hin!” is about and reminds the politicians, that they are being watched when they speak about fighting poverty.
Olafur Eliasson talks about his motivation to participate in the action. Ending extreme poverty matters to him; people depend on each other and hence we cannot look away, he says.
Youth Ambassador Nassim talks like a media pro and stresses his believe that we can put an end to extreme poverty in this generation and that he wants to pressure the government until this dream has become reality. That’s what determination sounds like!
Melinda Gates thanks Germany for its investments in development and emphasises its past successes. She hopes that Germany’s commitment will increase even more in the future.
Singer Ivy Quainoo praises the dedication of the Youth Ambassadors and stresses the importance of youth engagement in the fight against poverty.
10.55am: Even though there is a downright voting marathon going on in the parliament, some MPs find time to come down to the lawn. Even the President of Parliament, Norbert Lammert from the Christian Democratic Party is there. Only thanks to his support we are able to be where we are. He emphasises that being aware is important but that it is not enough – action is essential!
Dagma Wöhrl from the Christian Social Party, chair for the Committee of Economic Cooperation and Development, thanks Norbert Lammert for allowing us to do the stunt in front of the Bundestag. Being here is indeed a sign of how significant the fight against poverty is, she says.
Her deputy in the committee from the Green Party, Thilo Hoppe, demands an increase in development aid for the next legislative term. Ute Koczy, development spokesperson of the Green Party emphasises the significance of investments in development and climate change adaptation.
Sascha Raabe, the development spokesperson of the Social Democrats, promises yearly increases of the development budget of 1 billion Euros if his party came into power. Sibylle Pfeifer, spokesperson for developmental policies of the Christian Social Party is pleased about the public support for development. Legislators who stand up for development issues need to know that the wide public is behind them.
This is an important aim of our campaign. We want to show that it does matter to the people here in Germany whether its government keeps its promises to the poorest of the poor. For that reason we have started the petition “Article ONE” which aims exactly at that – to show the government that developmental policies matter to the public.
After the action at the Bundestag was over, the Youth Ambassadors swarmed out to collect signatures for our petition. The collection of signatures will continue until the election of the parliament.
So if you are in Germany take action now and let German policy makers know: We care about development. We see the progress that’s being made. And we are watching you.