The Justice Desk recently travelled to West Africa after launching our Youth Ambassadors Project in four additional countries: Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, and Ghana. Our CEO, Jess Dewhurst, serves as the ERN African Province Advocacy Director, and so the trip doubled up as an opportunity to spend time in our schools, meet with the West Africa Mission and Advocacy teams, as well as discuss various ways that we could further support the Network across Africa. While there, the Justice Desk conducted various human rights, anti-trafficking and child safeguarding training with teachers, parents, Brothers, community members, and students across all four countries.
A truly wonderful part of the trip was the opportunity to visit 5 additional schools that have joined our Youth Ambassadors Project. We met with learners and teachers who will be engaging in the project, as well as appointed each school's new Justice Desk Youth Ambassadors (YA). Our YA Project works to build a generation of young changemakers through empowering young people in various schools to become Everyday Activists. Our young people are trained to become incredible human rights defenders and use their voices to stand up for the rights of other children.
It was incredibly inspiring to see so many people excited for justice and human rights work, as well as to learn more about how they could become Everyday Activists in their schools and communities. It was also a great joy to see the work that is already being done in West Africa by brothers and schools to challenge injustice and build safer communities for all. Overall the training was a great success, resulting in cases of teachers agreeing to cease corporal punishment, students standing up to human trafficking, and even the identification of tracking victims through the course of the training.
Many incredible relationships were built with community leaders, Christian Brothers, and all the schools we visited. We look forward to supporting all those involved in running the Youth Ambassadors Project, where we hope to build not only the leaders of tomorrow but the leaders of today.