Welcome to the July edition of our Meet Our Volunteers blog series. This month, we sat down with volunteers from Nigeria, Germany and Canada!
Obinna, a ONE Champion, lives in Abuja. Originally from Imo State in the south-eastern part of Nigeria, Obinna’s been a ONE volunteer for 2 years now. Nataly, a ONE Youth Ambassador in Germany, has volunteered with ONE since March 2018. Laura, a ONE Volunteer from Canada has also been a volunteer with ONE since 2018.
Read on to learn more about these inspiring individuals and find out how you can get involved too.
How did you get involved with ONE?
Obinna: I first got involved with ONE when I participated in marking the success of the #MakeNaijaStronger (MNS) campaign. I contributed to the MNS campaign through the Health Sector Reform Coalition (of which ONE is a member) and the Legislative Network for Universal Health Coverage. Our ask to the Nigerian government was for them to allocate at least 1% of its Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to the national budget, for the implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF). After that, I felt motivated to identify with ONE since my aspirations were in line with ONE’s work.
Nataly: During a voluntary year with the Red Cross in Uganda I came to realise how privileged I am to have been born into a life that never had me struggle with extreme poverty or insufficient health care. While I can’t change my status, I decided to use those privileges to speak up. Together with millions of action takers worldwide, ONE strives to raise public awareness and pressure political leaders to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Such a huge number of young people have the power to initiate real change.
Laura: I got involved with ONE during the #GirlsCount campaign. I think educating girls is really important to helping families and communities get out of the cycle of poverty as well as improving health.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Obinna: I believe youth involvement in activism is essential because when we talk about demographic dividend in Nigeria, the youth are at its core. In order to reap the benefits of demographic dividend, I believe the youth must play an active part in the discussions and policies that concern them – including education, health (especially sexual and reproductive health), employment, and the safeguarding of the environment. I believe the voices of youths must be heard and channeled in a constructive and synergistic way in order to ensure inclusiveness, active participation and accountability in governance
Nataly: I am striving for gender equality and quality education for girls and women. With the organisation my partner and I founded in Uganda, we are supporting girls and women with menstrual hygiene management and the skills to make reusable sanitary pads. But that’s only a small step. We need to get to higher levels to empower women and ensure gender equality. Nowhere in this world women hold the same rights as men. And the more a country is affected by poverty, the harder it hits women and girls. Poverty is sexist. And there is still a lot to be done, until we achieve comprehensive gender equality.
Laura: I would ensure every child, girls and boys, have access to quality education that includes true inclusiveness and equality. We cannot have gender equality without educating boys as well.
What’s been your proudest moment as a volunteer with ONE so far?
Obinna: My proudest moment was when I became a ONE Champion in 2019. I was so excited to have been selected as one of the 50 Champions for the 2019 cohort of the ONE Champions program, from over 2500 applications received across Nigeria. It made me realise that I was noticed and that the work I do really matters.
Nataly: During our welcome days for the Youth Ambassador program 2018 in Berlin, we coincidentally met the former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan. He emphasised how important it is to have people – youths – to get out and fight for what they believe in. Maybe this was not the best moment to be proud, as it was just the beginning of my journey with ONE. But it was a huge motivation. And it made me feel very proud: I am proud to be part of ONE. A movement that speaks up and acts, rather than just accepting injustice and enjoying privileges.
Laura: So far, my proudest moment was during a Doors Open with my MP. In a small office, packed with constituents during one of our lovely Canadian blizzards, I was the only attendee advocating for an increase in Canada’s Official Development Assistance. After explaining my positions and asking my MP to bring up the recommendation during his next caucus meeting, I was pleasantly surprised by their support for my request, which was expressed by everyone else in the room. Volunteering with ONE has led me to meet caring and inspiring people. It has reminded me that every single time we dare to speak up for what we care about, we can have an impact. What you stand for and what you do about it, has a ripple effect that makes a difference.
Want to get involved too? Sign up to become a ONE Member now!
ONE welcomes the contributions of guest bloggers but does not necessarily endorse the views, programs, or organisations highlighted.