By Sughra, Lina, Melanie and Amy
As the Program comes to a close for 2021, some of this year’s One Girl Youth Ambassadors are here to give some insight into the Ambassador Program and why those interested should get involved too!
Who are One Girl Ambassadors and what do they do?
One Girl Youth Ambassadors are volunteers raising awareness of and funds for One Girl’s education programs for girls and young women in Sierra Leone and Uganda.
We do this by reaching out to our networks of family, friends, school, local, sporting and other communities and ask them to join us in our fundraising efforts to support One Girl through fun and informative activities.
Despite Covid-19 restrictions, One Girl Ambassadors are kicking goals with over $60,000 raised to support One Girl’s programs!
“Inadequate access to quality education is vital to me because I know friends and family especially my parents who were deprived of their basic right to education… I was very lucky that I wasn’t in this situation because of a miracle, and a group of people working hard to allow that to happen. I wanted to become part of that miracle for as many girls as I could; a girl for a girl.”
What are some of the things you have done as a One Girl Ambassador?
The One Girl Ambassador journey has been a rollercoaster ride due to the pandemic, however, the Ambassadors have adapted tremendously well by reaching out to the online community and modifying our fundraisers. Some of the fundraisers we have done are Do It In A Dress (DIIAD), trivia nights, selling hand-crafted goods, garage sales, and the list goes on!
Fundraiser products made by an Australian school’s handicrafts club
Through these fundraising events, Ambassadors are also able to develop their skills in event organisation, communication, critical thinking, and time management. The One Girl team is super helpful - they answered any questions we had, organised meet-ups (online during lockdowns) for us to communicate with each other, and provided us with great training sessions and modules.
“Half asleep at 7 o’clock in the morning, mindlessly putting on our uniforms, many of us just go to school without a second thought, and then complain to our friends at lunch time. With all the resources that we could have, many of us take school for granted, even if we say we don’t. Being a One Girl Ambassador is such an eye-opening experience for me. I didn’t realise how much I took my education for granted, until I saw how many girls around the world didn’t have access to ANY education. Schooling has changed many of us for the better, so I have a little task for you. Go up to the person that is/was paying your school fees and say “thank you”, and maybe even give them a hug (if the COVID-19 restrictions allow that!).”
Why do you support One Girl?
One Girl believes that every girl has the right to an education and emphasises on the positive impacts that education can have on girls around the world, but especially for those who do not have access to many resources. Education will not only give an individual more opportunities in their life but can also benefit generations to come, hence, it can help end the cycle of poverty. Many of us Ambassadors are privileged to have had a good education and understand how important schooling can be for our futures in the workforce. Not only does One Girl highlight the importance of secondary education, but also teaches girls crucial life skills such as about sex education.
Supporting these causes can change the lives for many girls, who otherwise are more likely to face issues like teenage pregnancy, domestic and sexual violence, early marriages, illiteracy and many more. One Girl also focuses on female empowerment and gender equality, encouraging women to get into the workforce and follow their passions.
One Girl’s holistic approach highlights working with the community, as well as providing tools, resources and sponsorship so girls are able to eventually support themselves and help others. To manufacture products given to girls under the Girls in School program, One Girl supports local businesses to produce these materials. One of the reasons for this is to avoid damaging the environment by shipping products. In addition, One Girl partners with ARUWE (Action For Rural Women’s Empowerment) to also provide vocational training to young women in Uganda.
“As one of this year’s One Girl Ambassadors, I am very excited to be sharing some insight about the Ambassador Program - certainly keep tuned if you are passionate about issues such as girl’s education, gender equality, women’s rights, period poverty, links between these and climate change and sustainable development!”
What have you learnt as a One Girl ambassador?
We learnt tons along the way from how an INGO (International Non-Government Organisation) works. Two major areas of learning included about One Girl itself, how it works, partners, programs and campaigns and meeting some of the staff which was cool as we could ask them questions about working in an INGO.
I think for most of us learning about One Girl was an eye-opener and strengthened our beliefs and understanding of how girls' education can tackle climate change and educational inequality, a win-win for all. One Girl’s work addressing the Sustainable Development Goals aligns our education and climate change visions for a better future. Also learning about Scholar’s experiences in Sierra Leone and Uganda allowed us to empathize with them and share their experiences with our donors in our fundraising journey.
“I believe that education is key to reducing poverty and One Girl does such important work in focusing on empowering girls and not only assisting them in their education, but also preparing girls for life post-school. So much of One Girl’s work aligns with what I’m passionate about, which is why I signed up for the Ambassador Program.”
Would you recommend the Ambassador program to others?
Yes, Ambassadolutely! Being an OG Ambassador shapes us as individuals by building technical and soft skills through our advocacy and fundraising journey especially communication skills with the One Girl team and fellow Ambassadors but also donors and our networks. For most of us it’s about getting out of our comfort zone and exploring and learning new skills and meeting new people. The pandemic also introduced its own bucketload of challenges, but we never bowed down, we faced the challenges head-on and turned to each other for support and guidance.
We believe our fundraising and advocacy mission reflects our donors’ and supporters’ mission to help support girls' education; our excitement, energy and hardwork are a true indicator of that. Also, being a One Girl Ambassador is sharing the team spirit, although, we are fundraising for girls education individually, we’re moving mountains collectively as a team.