Hundreds of young people from across the UK descended on the Treasury this week to bring their voice to the ever growing global debate around child poverty. This was a unique opportunity for young people to gain access to the center of government and to question Ministers on their commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals - a set of globally agreed milestones for development and poverty eradication to achieve by 2015.
Organized by the Grow Up free from poverty coalition, the conference featured speeches by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown and Rt Hon Sally Keeble, who have taken a strong lead in the fight against child poverty, as well as Eveline Herfkens, the UN Secretary General's Executive coordinator for the Millennium Campaign.
In a world where 1 in 4 children still live in absolute poverty and 113 million children do not go to school, Ministers and speakers afforded the opportunity to answer some testing questions from the young people about their commitment to ending global child poverty.
The day also included interactive workshops on the MDGS facilitated by members of the Grow Up Coalition, such as Tearfund, Save the Children, CAFOD and Action Aid with practical experience of the issues.
Andy Baldwin, Tearfund Youth Coordinator, who helped to lead a workshop on the MDG on water and sanitation, says, "Although our young people aren't old enough to vote they have a right to be heard by the people in power and to hold them to account, on behalf of their peers who are living in poverty in the developing world. And the people in power have a duty to listen to their young constituents and take action."
By Albert H. Lee