A World at School - #UpForSchool

An Education for Children Around the World

In the UK, we take it for granted that every child will get an education. But around the world, 59 million children still don’t go to primary school. A World at School is a global movement created to change this. It believes that education is the key to opportunity and is the right of every child.

The Right of Every Child

Education is powerful. Not only does it give children the tools they need to get through life, earn a living and contribute to their communities, but it can also improve health, reduce the number of needless deaths, promote equality and help to end discrimination. In the long-term, universal access to education increases the stability and success of families, improve economies as well as communities and countries – we think its the single most effective way to tackle poverty.

Most importantly, however, education gives children the ability to unlock their potential and transform their lives – something that A World at School, believes is a basic human right. The charity isn’t alone in this belief – in a global United Nations survey, seven million people ranked education as their top priority. In 2000, as part of the Millennium Development goals, world leaders also agreed that education was a human right and pledged to ensure that every child got a basic primary school education by 2015. So, why hasn’t this happened?

The #UpForSchool Campaign

Out of the 29 countries with more than 500,000 children out of school, fewer than half have a strategy to achieve universal education by 2015. And, if strategies do exist, they are often weak in terms of timeline, targets and financing, with funding falling below the recommended 20% of government spending.

In response to this, A World at School launched the #UpForSchool campaign to put pressure on world leaders to fulfil their promises. The campaign features a petition, which has so far been signed by over eight million people, celebrity endorsement, teacher’s packs and educational resources, as well as a network of 500 young activists in 85 countries who are Global Youth Ambassadors for the charity. This #UpForSchool promotional video shows how you can take action for millions of children around the world.

The campaign has brought to light the stories of countless children around the world, who, for one reason or another, have no access to the education UK children take for granted. From war-torn Gaza, where conflict has destroyed many school buildings to Sierra Leone, where forced marriage means many girls leave school early and Pakistan, where children seeking an education are often attacked, the situation has reached crisis point. This is a touching story where children from Gaza, Sierra Leone and Lebanon explain the circumstances that have prevented them from going to school.

The aim of the campaign is to create so much noise that this crisis is impossible for leaders to ignore. And with support from high-profile figures, such as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, the campaign is promising to make a real impact on decision-makers. We’re over the moon to have Watch UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledge his support for the #UpForSchool campaign.

Language Matters

Language is key to the success of the #UpForSchool campaign. For the petition to gain enough signatures to make an impact, the campaign’s message needs to reach people all over the world – and that means that high quality translations are required. With extensive experience of being involved in producing large public-facing campaigns, including many for leading charities, such as the NSPCC, K International was ideally placed to help with the project. We were hugely impressed by the outstanding work that was being done by everyone involved and are proud to be able to help.

Translating the Content

Our role in the project involved faithfully translating the petition, marketing material and educational materials for teachers and assistants into Korean, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Spanish and Portuguese – as well as translating the message from UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon.

We also translated supporting material and campaign resources into Arabic ahead of the launch of the #UpForSchool petition in Lebanon which was attended by Gordon Brown. Lebanon is currently hosting over 500,000 children who are refugees from Syria and A World at School is campaigning for international investment in a ‘double shift’ system of schooling in the country to ensure that they do not miss critical years of education.

While in Beirut, Mr Brown visited the El Shyah Second Mixed Public School, which uses this double-shift model that allows Lebanese children to be taught in the mornings, and refugee children in the afternoons using the same schools and teachers.

An Intergrated Team

High-profile campaigns like this one require skilled translators, who understand and buy into the project and can ensure the translations really speak to the people they are meant to influence. Careful consideration for dealing with factors such as tone and cultural context need to be applied to the project. The success of the entire campaign hinged on the message reaching and resonating with as many people as possible, making outstanding translation essential. In total we had a hand-picked team of 11 translators from our team working on the campaign.

Every segment of text we translated for the project was reviewed and proofread and tested in context by both the project manager and an independent reviewer – a comprehensive process that’s designed to ensure that the final translation is completely accurate and perfectly matches requirements.

Make a Difference

In September 2015, the #UpForSchool petition will be handed to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

So far, over 8 million people from more than 185 countries have signed the petition. This makes it the largest ever petition for education. None of this would have been possible without the hard work of everybody involved and we are incredibly proud of the impact that our team have had on the campaign.

The message is already powerful – but there is still plenty of work to be done. Every signature is crucial if the petition is going to pressurise world leaders into keeping their promises to children around the world. Help make a difference, take five minutes out of your day and…