A group of young people determined to fight world poverty met Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell this week, to give them their views ahead of a major international summit.
They discussed the Millennium Development Goals – the eight UN targets that aim to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.
The young people presented the Ministers with two reports representing the views of 30,000 young people and showcased local development campaigns which highlight the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The discussions came ahead of the United Nations MDG conference in New York next week.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
“It was fantastic to meet these young people today who are working hard in their communities to highlight development issues.
“Unless young people engage with, understand and care about helping the world’s poorest, we are never going to achieve our ambitions to tackle world poverty. Equally it is imperative that we focus our efforts on young people abroad, in the countries we are trying to help. We need to create generations of young men and women who are healthy, educated, and empowered to create prosperity for their societies, taking their fates into their own hands.”
Andrew Mitchell, International Development Secretary, said: "Today's event proves that young people are deeply concerned about the world around them. It's been a privilege to hear their views.”
After the young people made their presentations, Nick Clegg and Andrew Mitchell took questions from the floor. They included their priorities for next week’s meeting, how they track progress against the MDGs and how they will help the poorest people in the world.
Selani Fiamanya, 19, from Glasgow, who has just returned from voluntary work in Nigeria said:
"Today has been fantastic and meeting Nick Clegg and Andrew Mitchell was really exciting because we represented the views of 30,000 young people. Through volunteering overseas and from my experiences in the UK, I really think young people want to see a change and are willing to go the extra mile to achieve this and make a difference."
The event was organised by the DFID / CSO Youth Working Group (YWG) - a network of 30 organisations and young people in the UK working to help put young people at the heart of development. The Youth Working Group is coordinated by Restless Development. http://www.dfidcsoywg.org.uk/
Pictures: Russell Watkins/DFID