Five Ways I Think Like A Millennial (Sort Of)

This blog was first published on the InterAction website. Carolyn will be speaking at the InterAction Forum on June 24 on the panel: ‘Meh’ to ‘Yes!’-Simple Moves to Win Support for Our Sector.

 

CAROLYN-MILES-BIO-IMAGE-2011-SMALL2My 22 year-old son is a member of the Millennial Generation and is, at first glance, a completely different creature than I was at his age: I wore shoulder pads; he wears ear buds. I tuned the radio; he streams songs online. I searched for a phone booth to call a friend; he reaches into his pocket and sends a text.

 

But as it turns out, we’re not so different. I am – basically – a Millennial myself. Bill Gates told me so.

 

Well, sort of. Through new research from The Narrative Project, an initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we’ve learned that communications tailored to members of the public who are engaged in global aid (like those of us attending the InterAction Forum June 22-24) also resonates with the Millennial Generation. Millennials grew up in a world where people are increasingly connected through technology – and they share common interests with people from different societies and backgrounds. These young people are comfortable talking about global issues, and are compelled to take action when something is important to them.

 

This latest research shows that we respond to the same kinds of messaging…which makes me more like a Millennial than I ever thought possible.

5 Ways I Think Like A Millennial:

 

  1. I don’t believe birthplace = destiny

Millennials know that people don’t choose where they’re born, but in too many cases the simple fact of geography determines much of their future including their economic prospects, educational opportunity, and access to healthcare. This imbalance of opportunity simply isn’t fair – and it’s why equality is a major focus of Save the Children’s future strategy.

 

  1. I care about individuality

Statistics showing progress year-over-year, or even decade-over-decade, are great…but Millennials know that’s not the whole story. In fact, narratives that focus on progress score below those that stress partnership, morality, and autonomy among most Millennials and members of the engaged public. I agree: I want to meet the people behind these statistics and hear their stories so that I can relate to them on a more personal level. So I travel as much as possible, hearing directly from the children and families we’re working to serve.

 

  1. I think globally and act locally

I don’t think the only people who need help are “over there.” I know it’s important to make a difference in my own backyard – for example, though Save the Children’s programs reaching kids in the United States – while still taking action for others around the world.

 

  1. I know we can change the world

Like most Millennials, I think my own actions can make meaningful change – and that I can have a personal impact on reducing poverty.  But we also believe that our government can make “a great deal of difference” (in the US, 59% of Millennials and 50% of the Engaged Public), so partnerships like those highlighted at the InterAction Forum are crucial.

 

  1. I think Taylor Swift is awesome

Okay, this one’s a little off topic, but it’s just one more way I’m an honorary Millennial…her songs are catchy!

 

This new research from The Narrative Project will help those of us working in global aid better understand how the Millennial Generation is becoming the next generation of engaged, active and inspired leaders. I look forward to talking more about this new narrative with you all at the Forum!

The Right to Education

Abeer

Abeer Bakeer

Basic Education Assistant

Arab Al Atteyat, Egypt

June 22, 2015

 

My name is Abeer Bakeer. I am the Basic Education Assistant in the sponsorship program, where every day I am confronted by parents who lack basic knowledge of health, hygiene, and maybe cannot read, as well as poorly equipped schools and teachers. Despite all this children still exhibit a great desire to improve themselves.

Library

Abeer with a group children at the school library

One memorable moment which illustrates this occurred when I was in Arab Al Atteyat, a culturally Bedouin village far from many basic services, monitoring some educational activities there. A parent came to take his child home from school for an unknown reason. The child passionately refused because he wanted to remain to solve a specific math problem he was working on!

When I graduated, I volunteered with several community projects that serve marginalized people. I really enjoyed the social aspect of the work. When a permanent position became available with Save the Children, I jumped at the chance. I have worked in this role for one year now, where I spend five days weekly serving needy children.

School

Abeer with a group children at school

Over the past seven years, Save the Children in Egypt has worked with the Ministry of Education, our local partners, schools, teachers, and children. We work closely with teachers on classroom management techniques, lesson planning, and supporting children to be leaders. When children cannot read, we help them to learn. And they do.

The thing I am most proud of is how children change, changes I see. Thank you, sponsors, for helping to support our work.

How do you think having to fight for your right to an education could affect a young child’s attitude towards learning? Do you think the challenges school age children face in impoverished communities to attend school makes their desire to learn stronger?

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