Keya: Being a YAP member
I joined Plan International UK’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) at the age of 15, as I wanted to do something to help young people in developing countries. I always had a keen interest in the ways in which international development works - so getting to go behind the scenes of an international charity and providing my youth perspective was a fantastic opportunity!
Being part of a group of young people from across the UK, with a variety of backgrounds and ages, was equally special. At YAP away days, which occur four times a year, we facilitate sessions on our work for Plan International UK, how we can improve ourselves as a group and learn about key issues affecting young people around the world. We meet with Plan International UK staff to discuss anything they want our advice on so that the youth perspective remains at the centre of their work.
Some of my most unforgettable moments working as a YAP member has been participating in Plan International UK events as a youth ambassador. I’ve also taken part in amazing TV interviews with Sarah Brown (co-founder of A World at School) and Plan International UK CEO Tanya Barron. As part of the celebrations for the second annual International UN Day of the Girl, I gave a speech in Trafalgar Square to highlight the need to get all girls into the classroom.
My experience with YAP has taught me the importance of youth engagement when tackling issues in developing countries. Plan International UK’s work really can help a child live a life with happiness, health and equal opportunity. Meeting girls from Pakistan and Malawi in the UK as a part of the Global Youth Speaker’s Network was very special. Hearing their feelings on the issues that impact them made me realise the true influence the youth voice can have in Plan International.
I certainly urge all young people with a distinct passion for helping others and speaking up for young people who don’t have a voice to join. Participating in something as special as YAP where it truly is possible to make a difference is an invaluable life experience.
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