The power of young people’s voices to transform education

On International Youth Day, we thank the countless young people who raise their voices to ensure all children can have a quality education, not matter where they are.

August 12, 2019 by Alice Albright, Global Partnership for Education
3 minutes read
From right Parisa (16), Marzia (18), Maria (16) and Muzhgam (17) study in the library at the Female Experimental High School in Herat. Afghanistan. Credit: Graham Crouch / World Bank
From right Parisa (16), Marzia (18), Maria (16) and Muzhgam (17) study in the library at the Female Experimental High School in Herat. Afghanistan.
Graham Crouch / World Bank

Young people are driving change across the world, holding political leaders to account on issues that matter to their future. Today, as we celebrate International Youth Day with the theme ‘Transforming Education’, let’s reflect on the power of young people’s voices, and the change they have brought about for better education.  

Young activists take the lead for change 

Just as Greta Thunberg and her peers from around the world have called on world leaders to address the climate emergency, young people are calling on world leaders to tackle the global education crisis. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is privileged to have support from youth activists around the world:  

Malala Yousafzai’s advocacy for the rights of all - especially girls - to at least 12 years of quality education, and her meetings with Prime Minister Trudeau, President Macron and Prime Minister Abe, have helped to drive more funding for girls’ education and GPE.  

Mohammed Sidibay is an education activist, a former child soldier and a survivor of conflict. His moving personal story made him an advocate for others and a supporter of GPE, to ensure every child gets the education they deserve.  

GPE Global Ambassador Rihanna has mobilized thousands of her young followers to act on social media in support of GPE.  

The advocacy and support of young people from across our partnership was integral to the success of the GPE Financing Conference in February 2018, helping to drive increased political will and financing for education.

GPE is proud to work with young education activists 

In Burkina Faso this year, I met inspiring young activists working with Plan International, a GPE partner, who are experiencing violence in and around school on a daily basis, and are advocating to end this violence in their schools and community.  

Youth are continuing to raise their voices for education globally. Today we thank these tireless advocates for their campaigning, activism, and determination to transform education. From the Gulmakai champions in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, to the Send My Friend to School campaign champions challenging their parliamentarians in the UK, and Girls Not Brides activists working to end child marriage and keep girls in school.  

GPE is proud to support youth-led and youth-focused campaigns to transform education and end all forms of violence in school. As a board member of Generation Unlimited, I work with others to prepare young people to become productive and engaged citizens. Through the Safe to Learn campaign, we act to end violence in schools. And by supporting the African Union’s End Child Marriage campaign, we want to make sure children can go to school instead of getting married. 

GPE values the leadership of young people, and provides platforms for youth to have their voices heard, for example through our Financing Conference, activities during the United Nations General Assembly, and at the Women Deliver conference. 

GPE strives to integrate youth across our advocacy outreach and works closely with partners who are experts in youth engagement, programming and capacity building.  

Today as we celebrate the power and potential of youth, I am delighted that GPE is supported by and partnering with youth advocates who are so intent on transforming education.  

For more information on how to be involved in youth advocacy check out the GPE youth page.  


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