SCAN’s manager of the Student Ambassador Program, Morgan Moran (center) traveled to Berlin to partner with Save the Children Germany .
Last month, I traveled to Berlin to visit the Save the Children Germany office as part of a staff development program. Save the Children Germany is seeking to help more young people get involved in advocacy and sought my expertise as manager for Save the Children Action Network’s (SCAN) Student Ambassador Program. It was an exciting challenge to adapt my knowledge and experience with youth organizing to a completely different country and political setting.
Just like Save the Children Action Network, Save the Children Germany focuses its advocacy work on helping the world’s most vulnerable children. Their main areas of focus are humanitarian aid, migration and refugees, and health and nutrition. Save the Children Germany is also implementing the Stop the War on Children campaign to protect children living in conflict zones. Stop the War on Children really is a global movement to help the millions of children around the world whose safety, health and education are threatened by war and conflict.
Advocacy is pretty similar between the U.S. and Germany. However, Save the Children Germany influences politicians differently than in the U.S. For starters, while the USA has a Congress, Germany has a parliament called Bundestag. Instead of cabinet secretaries, they have ministers. And rather than a president, Germany has a chancellor, currently Angela Merkel.
The Save the Children Germany staff were surprised to learn about the advocacy tactics we use here at SCAN. They noted that Americans tend to be more politically active and more comfortable with writing letters and making phone calls to their representatives in Congress. Nevertheless, the staff has been working with young students since 2013, and has started running workshops for high school students in Berlin to teach them about advocacy and help ensure that their voices are heard.
During my visit to the Berlin office, I worked with members of the advocacy team to develop opportunities to further engage high school students at key moments throughout next year. Using my experience working with SCAN’s Student Ambassadors, we brainstormed tactics to help German youth advocate for children living around the world. Soon we had a calendar full of opportunities to bring more students on board.
I learned so much about advocacy in the international setting during my trip, and I can’t wait to hear how the plan we developed together works in practice! The Berlin staff and I have promised to keep in touch and tell me more about their experiences engaging youth in their advocacy work. In turn, I will share with them the highlights of another year of the Student Ambassador Program.
Interested in learning more about youth engagement at Save the Children Action Network?