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Fighting extreme poverty from The Hague to Brussels

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[OPINION] A young Dutch campaigner for ONE Campaign is motivated to fight extreme poverty from The Hague all the way to Brussels. How? Pushing for budgets and funds to support future generations. 

International development cooperation is one of the most important and effective ways to create a better world. A better world for our children, our grandchildren and the following generations. As our world becomes more uncertain with the challenges we face – famines, pandemics, and insecurity – it becomes more and more evident that we need to act now.

On October 17, I will be in Brussels together with over 200 other young campaigners from Europe, North America and Africa. We will meet Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to discuss the EU’s budget for next year. This budget will determine how much they allocate to important global humanitarian issues. As young campaigners, we are convinced that working together to defeat poverty is the best way to tackle future challenges.

Because of extreme poverty, many people live insecure lives; little to no access to education and limited opportunities to excel in the future. I believe that everyone should have equal opportunities. We fight extreme poverty to help them realise their potential. We aim to make high quality education accessible to every child so they can develop important skills to improve their future job prospects. We also strive to secure quality healthcare for everyone, to prevent deaths from preventable diseases.

As a Dutch Youth Ambassador for ONE, I lobbied political candidates in The Hague and all over the country during our national elections. Together with my fellow Youth Ambassadors, I tried to convince these candidates to support international development. We have been successful and persuaded the majority of the Dutch Parliament to support people in the poorest countries, women and girls in particular. I want to make sure that our Dutch MEPs in Brussels follow the example of their national counterparts, and will do their part on the EU level. This is crucial in our common fight against extreme poverty.

After having convinced decision-makers to do the right thing, we as young campaigners use every opportunity to remind them of their commitments. The latest national budget presented by our government in September reflects the need to keep the pressure on those people who make the decisions. The proposed Dutch budget for development cooperation is set to decrease substantially over the next few years. This did not change after the new government finally reached a decision on a coalition a few days ago. Because of that, we will remind every decision maker in The Hague who has promised to support the people in the poorest countries, to make sure they keep trying to change the budget for the better.

To make a difference in Brussels, it is important that we engage MEPs and convince them to increase development and humanitarian aid. In my meetings, I hope to emphasise the importance of investing in development, an investment in our common future. The EU, as one of the biggest aid donors, plays a central and crucial role in the fight against extreme poverty.

To convince MEPs and European Leaders, we need as many voices as possible calling for a strong 2018 budget. Support our petition to create a better world for our children, our grandchildren and the following generations.

Join more than 50,000 European citizens and sign our petition to ask EU leaders to secure and equal and just future for all.

This article was written by Daniël Youssef, a Youth Ambassador for ONE Campaign.