Written by Raquel Armendariz Sucunza, Global Schools Project Lead, Communications
On Saturday, January 14th, the Global Schools Program (GSP) celebrated the graduation of the latest cohort of Advocates. The recent graduates joined the Advocacy Program in July 2022, intending to become action planners and connectors within their school community to ensure the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
Kendra-Lee Heney, who serves as the Project Lead for Education and the Advocates Program, opened the session by quoting Nelson Mandela’s famous phrase, “Education is the most powerful tool to change the world.” She also shared the pride she and the entire GSP team felt when they saw this coming true through the work of the Advocates. In her own words, “Reading through all your KPIs, seeing your photos, hearing stories about the incredible ESD activities you’ve implemented in your classroom and school-wide communities, has been a true privilege. You have been able to demonstrate to your students, your fellow teachers, and your community members the urgency of Sustainable Development and the importance of SDGs”. Even online, these Advocates have shown that there are no limits to collaboration across country borders, continents, and time zones. They have been able to create a global community.
Amanda Abrom, Program manager at GSP, was next to congratulate the Advocates. She recalled the importance of this past year being crucial, as we saw for the first time education being put on the world stage and agenda as a huge priority during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Transforming Education Summit (TES). Amanda also presented the outstanding achievements by Advocates:
· 9,600+ teachers, school admins, and principals engaged in sustainable development initiatives through presentations, training workshops, and school-wide activities;
· ~38,000 community members and parents participated in these projects through Global Schools Advocates;
· 45,500+ students engaged in sustainable development lessons and activities engaged in classrooms.
· 73,000+ students have benefited from activities and projects in the whole school.
The rest of the Advocacy Team, Project Officers Kannan R Nair, Elizabeth Lerman, Emmanuel Emechete, and Fikayo Agha, also had the chance to congratulate all Advocates for their constant efforts, passion, and perseverance.
As part of the graduation, some Advocates were selected as representatives to talk about their own experiences with the program. They all agreed that being part of the program has been an incredibly positive experience, as they had the opportunity to learn, connect with like-minded people, and make a real impact on their communities and worldwide. The Advocate representatives were:
· Arife Kesici, Turkey
· Mansi Bhatia, India
· Joanna Zielinska, Poland
· Dama Yama, Burkina Faso
· Maura Murphy, Brunei
· Maria Jonaper Pascual Palmares, Libya
· Darshana Kalyanpur, Singapore
· Federica Quartesan, Italy
· Jenny Chavush, Turkey
· Daria Boichenko, Russia
As key figures in the Advocates program, Mentors were also recognized. As former graduates, Mentors have been helping by sharing their own experiences, encouraging activities, and advising Advocates in all capacities. Their leadership has been of great value for all Advocates throughout their entire journey, and thus, Mentor representatives also had the chance to take the floor. Remarks were made by Elizabeth Njihia from Kenya and Margaret Mwangi based in Tanzania, who also recently joined the GSP team to serve as a new Project Officer.
To recognize each of the Advocates, their names were read in a celebratory graduation slide show that also displayed each individual’s proudest moment. From winning competitions; to working to decrease the number of girls out of school; to inspiring children and future leaders to achieve a sustainable future - these Advocates not only inspire us but the whole world!
Final remarks were given by GSP Director Sam Loni, who shared his pride to see every cohort, including this one, go above and beyond to achieve the mission. After sharing how impressed he was, Sam reminded Advocates that the numbers themselves do not even do justice to the type of change Advocates were able to introduce. For him, this shows the incredible potential and positive impact they had directly on their ground through their actions. Sam also reminded everyone that the work doesn’t stop here. Advocates will always be part of the GSP family.
Global Schools congratulates all Advocates and looks forward to seeing what alumni achieve in the future. Once an Advocate, always an Advocate!
Watch the recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzaeG8Bx5ZE
To learn more about the Global Schools Program and the Global Schools Advocates Program, go to https://www.globalschoolsprogram.org/
For more information about the Advocates Program, media inquiries, and interview requests, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org