Dit is een gezamenlijke blog in het Engels van de Belgische jeugdambassadeur Leoni en Nederlandse jeugdambassadeur Judith. Samen met de Belgische jeugdambassadeurs zijn een aantal jeugdambassadeurs van ONE in Nederland naar Brussel gegaan om de European Development Days bij te wonen, en een bezoek te brengen aan het Europees Parlement. Lees hieronder hun ervaring!
The European Development Days are undoubtedly one of the most exciting events of the year! Held on the 15th and 16th of June this year, it is the leading development forum in Europe. It attracted the attendance of numerous world leaders and heads of state, including the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, and the President of the World Bank, Mr Jim Yong Kim.
Two Youth Ambassadors from Belgium and the Netherlands reflect on what it was like to promote ONE, meet with influential politicians, facilitate a panel and (wo)man a busy stand: all to help end extreme poverty!
Leoni Ayoub (28), Cypriot Youth Ambassador based in Belgium:
Over the two days the ONE stand was bustling with different means to raise awareness and engage visitors in the fight against malnutrition. We offered EDDs participants a 360° view of a day in the life of Monika, a young girl living at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, with our Virtual Reality headsets. We also engaged the public with a quiz on malnutrition and a “wishing board” where individuals wrote their “ONE thing we need to end malnutrition”. Everything culminated in our petition which raised awareness on the meagre amounts of EU development aid allocated to malnutrition each year.
Over 400 petition signers contributed their voice to support the fight against malnutrition and our stand attracted numerous representatives from NGOs and other organisations. Having met us only a week earlier in Paris, Mr Vallini, French Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, dropped by for a quick picture and to lend his support!
Undoubtedly, the highlight for the ONE Campaign was our youth-led brainstorming event titled ‘Recipes for ending hunger’ which welcomed four truly inspirational young leaders from the fields of agriculture, education, health and technology.
Our final recommendations not only called for more effective policy making, transparency and accountability but also focused on the importance of how to formulate our message and the difference we can make when we are adequately mobilised.
Judith (23), Dutch Youth Ambassador from the Netherlands:
Stimulating, interesting and fun: these words come to mind when I think back to the European Development Days. Together with four colleagues from the Netherlands, I travelled to Brussels to join the Belgian Youth Ambassadors. It was great to see how the Belgian Youth Ambassadors were campaigning for more efforts against malnutrition and asked people to join our fight against extreme poverty. Unfortunately I could not hear Ban Ki-moon speak, but had the honour to meet the Dutch Member of the European Parliament Annie Schreijer-Pierik. During our meeting we asked her to make sure that the costs of the refugee crisis in Europe and the Netherlands would not be paid with funds meant for the development programmes, when it actually is not going to the worlds’ poorest.
She invited us to join the beginning of a committee meeting in the Parliament! It was extremely interesting to see the European Parliament at work. I felt very welcome and briefly got to experience how it feels to be a politician. We even got to shake hands with the Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans!
On the second day of the European Development Days the Dutch Minister Ploumen (Foreign Trade and Development) attended a panel, which gave us the opportunity to reach out to her and briefly discuss the importance of an ambitious Dutch pledge to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The overall experience of the European Development Days was unforgettable. I loved spending time with Youth Ambassadors from various countries, and I am proud of our achievements. Ending extreme poverty by 2030 is a massive challenge, but these kinds of experiences give me hope that if we work hard, we can make a difference!
Give your voice and call on political leaders to put women and girls at the centre of development initiatives, sign our petition!