Welcome to the September edition of our Meet Our Volunteers blog series. This month, we sat down with volunteers from Nigeria, Belgium and Canada.
We want to hear all about you! Tell us a little bit about who you are and where you’re from.
Sani: My name is Sani Muhammad, I am from Borno state and based in Kano State, Nigeria. I have been volunteering with ONE since 2018 with two solid years of learning, advocacy, networking and impact. I was a ONE Champion in 2018 and I am presently a returning Champion for the 2019 cohort.
Bénédicte: My name is Bénédicte, I’m from Belgium and I’ve been a Youth Ambassador for nearly three years now.
Amanda: My name is Amanda and I’m from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.
How did you get involved with ONE?
Sani: I wanted to do more with my life than complain about the real threats Africa faced – poverty, gender inequality and corruption – all of these which hinder accessibility to healthcare and education that we have to overcome. I knew that our best hope lies in the power and effectiveness of socially motivated, highly empowered individuals to fight for changes and to hold our governments accountable. This made me join the ONE Campaign. Engaging in a global movement that drives policies through unifying narratives, feisty campaigns and partnerships with diverse voices of young people and policy makers.
Bénédicte: I’ve always wanted to act in order to help people. I’ve always wanted to fight inequalities in the world. That’s why I decided to work in cooperation field. Thus, when I was told about ONE, I immediately knew it was a huge opportunity for me. I applied and here I am.
Amanda: I wanted to donate to a charity supported by Bono and then found out I couldn’t. I looked into what ONE was about and really supported their approach and mission.
What’s been your proudest moment as a volunteer with ONE so far?
Sani: First, the day the President of Nigeria assented the 1% Consolidated Revenue Fund for Basic Healthcare Provision Fund to #MakeNaijaStronger and for poor people to access affordable healthcare. Second, the day the Vice President of Nigeria received the ONE’s Youth Declaration signed by over 85,000 young people who voted for their future. I remember travelling across the Northwest and Northeast for this campaign, and I could see hope for many young people. ONE delivered on their promise in getting it to the presidency. I was so proud.
Bénédicte: As a volunteer with ONE, I remember a lot of amazing moments. But I think my proudest one happened a few months ago, in June 2019. We were at the ONE stand during the European Development Days in Brussels and we met Madame Samira Bawumia, Second Lady of Ghana. It was quite a surprise because we didn’t expect her visit. In the end we had a nice conversation with her. We explained what ONE is doing and she told us about her commitments. It was really awesome to talk with such an interesting woman about the fight against poverty and for gender equality.
Amanda: My proudest moment with ONE was being in the House of Commons when my MP presented a petition that I gathered signatures for requesting the government increase funding for education for women.
What is the one thing that anyone can do to promote change?
Sani: The first thing to promoting change is to SPEAK UP! Citizens need to talk about the issues that concern us with facts. We must create a platform for young people to get involved and take active roles where they can participate and exercise their civic duties and obligations by participating in the process. Young people must ask our leaders the questions that promote accountability and transparency, questions that makes citizens the government. We should collectively demand justice with one strong voice and ensure that we follow up with government policies and programmes to promote effective delivery to the people.
Bénédicte: When I talk with people about how we can fight for a better world, they often answer I’m an utopist. I absolutely disagree with that because I think all of us can promote change. The most important thing is to believe in it. You need to be convinced in the change you want to make and how to do it. However you must keep in mind that you aren’t alone in your struggle. A lot of organisations and movements probably already exist to help you in the topic that interests you. If no structure fits your expectations, don’t hesitate to spread the word. If you have good arguments, you’ll find out that many people are ready to follow you.
Afterwards, you need to act to make the change occur. In my view, it’s easier than we think. You might feel that if you aren’t a leader or a celebrity it won’t work. But anyone can be heard, that’s what is nice about democracy. Today, it’s even easier because we can claim our opinion on social media. Take Twitter as an example, you can reach everybody on Earth who has subscribed. It means that you can gather people. You can also raise awareness and, in the end, promote change without leaving your home. I think anyone can do it and this is important that we all do so.
Amanda: Anyone can use their voice. This looks different for each person – some might sign a petition or some might visit their MP, but every person can use their voice to make positive social change.
Want to get involved too? Join ONE and read the full series!
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