2017 was another packed year for Oshun - our mission of bringing together policy makers, politicians, private sector leaders, civil society and those committed to a fair and equal world has been more important than ever.
Here are some of our 2017 highlights.
The importance of education & teachers
The teaching profession has long been undervalued - so it was a privilege to be part of the Global Teacher Prize that took place in Dubai in March.
The award was part of the Global Education and Skills Forum which brought together over 40 ministers, former Prime Ministers and 2000 delegates from 140 countries for two days of intensive and dynamic ideas exchange.
Often called the ‘Davos’ of education, the theme for this year’s GESF was Creating Global Citizenship. One of the highlights was undoubtedly Julia Gillard debating the motion, ‘This House Believes, that Schools should Teach National over Global Values’, opposite Michael Gove MP, the architect of Brexit. It was a lively, good humoured debate with some cracking lines.
World’s Best Teacher 2017
The winner was Maggie MacDonnell, a Canadian teacher working in an Inuit community called Salluit. Her community is so remote it is only accessible by air. Tragically, this isolated and harsh environment has led the small 1,300 strong community to suffer the highest youth suicide rates in the country. In a poignant speech there was hardly a dry eye in the house as she described the horror of attending 10 funerals of young people, some of whom went to her school, who had taken their lives in the previous two years. ‘When we come into school the next day and we see the empty desk it’s simply heartbreaking.’ Her energy and inspirational commitment to bring about change through education in this community that has struggled to attract or retain good teachers and was commended by Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. The announcement of Maggie MacDonnell as World's Best Teacher was made by Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut on the International Space Station.
It was a thoroughly inspiring few days!
Making waves with water investment
A meeting of leaders of some of the world’s major bottled water brands and retailers was held in Washington D.C. on the 18th April, to discuss a new Global Investment Fund for Water (GIFFW) to fight water poverty across the developing world. The Co-op UK will be a pioneer partner in this initiative and the only UK retailer at the event.
The meeting was chaired by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is a global advocate for water and sanitation.
Historic momentum for the world’s poorest
On Thursday, July 6, Global Citizen Festival Hamburg took place, alongside leaders' final negotiations ahead of the 12th G20 summit in Hamburg. More than 11,000 Global Citizens, world leaders, business leaders, non-profit organizations, and socially conscious artists united to rally historic momentum for the world’s poorest at this year’s G20 summit — a collection of major economies that make up 85% of the globe’s GDP. Many commitments and announcements were made - worth $706 million, and are set to reach more than 113 million people by 2030.
Empowering women’s future through family planning
The Family Planning Summit held in London on 11 July had ambitious objectives to expand access to affordable and effective contraception and advice to millions of women around the world. Co-hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNFPA and DFID, with Ministers of Health and Development from over 60 countries, the Summit aimed to generate new commitments on a number of different aspects of the agenda. Oshun Partnership, working with Vivace, produced the Family Planning Summit for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNFPA and Department for International Development. The Summit committed the UK to increase support for family planning by 20%, spending on average £225 million per year for the next five years.
All in all, 2017 was a great year for global education and setting the groundwork for a better future. As 2030 approaches Oshun Partnership’s work is helping us get closer to achieving the sustainable development goals for education, water and gender equality.