Press release

British students challenged to ‘shape the future’

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Schoolchildren across the UK are being invited to put their best ideas forward on how the government can make life better for girls and women.

Photo: Lindsay Mgbor / DFID
Photo: Lindsay Mgbor / DFID

Young people with fresh ideas and the desire to make the world a better place are being invited to make their voices heard to ministers through the second annual ‘Shape The Future’ competition.

Last year’s successful contest drew a great response from pupils who were invited to draw up their own set of global development goals from 2015 when the current set expires. The winning team travelled to central London to present their entry to Bill Gates, government ministers and development experts.

This year, boys and girls aged 11-16 are being challenged to come up with their most innovative ideas for transforming everyday life for girls and women around the world, currently marked by child and early forced marriage, lack of education and the daily threat of violence.

Entries can be submitted as videos, audio blogs or presentations and finalists will have the chance to present their ideas in the run up to a major summit to tackle female genital mutilation (FGM) and child and early forced marriage, which will be hosted by the Prime Minister this summer in London.

Justine Greening said:

If you are born a girl in the developing world you are less likely to go to school, get a job or have a bank account. Millions cannot even choose who they marry or when to have children.

But the future can be different. Building on the success of last year, this competition gives British boys and girls the chance to tell us what they want the future to look like and I hope that as many as possible take up this opportunity.

Girls and women in many countries across the globe face serious obstacles – from access to education and work to the threat of violence and rape. This competition will help British students better understand these challenges.

The UK government is helping millions of the world’s poorest girls and women go to school, access modern methods of contraception and give birth safely, and is working to drive issues like female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage up the global agenda.

Hundreds of students got involved in last year’s competition, Shape the Future 2013, which asked them to present their ideal set of development goals for tackling poverty:

  • Last year’s competition winners Caroline Chisholm School in Northampton presented their new set of goals called ‘High 5ive: It’s Time to Change’ to Bill Gates. Their video entry focused on five areas: ‘Eliminate don’t Discriminate’, ‘Sharing is Caring’, ‘Happy and Healthy’, ‘Sowing the Seed’, and ‘Peace and Power’.
  • Runners-up Cirencester Deer Park School in Gloucestershire used the letters in ‘FREEDOM’ to spell out their new goals: Food equality, Role of developed country, Educational opportunity, Environmental sustainability, Development index, Oceania, and Medicine.
  • Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow set their video entry on 1 January 2016 – they assessed the Millennium Development Goals’ success and recommended a new set of goals, to include Human Rights and Fairtrade.
  • Reigate School in Surrey came up with two new development goals: ‘Trade’ and ‘A Safer World’.
  • The team at St Bede’s School in Surrey used the existing Millennium Development Goals and some new ideas to develop a set of goals focusing on Health, Education, Equality, Environment and Security.

Notes to editors

  1. Schools have until Monday 23 June to submit their entries. Presentations can in any format, for example a video, audio blog or PowerPoint™
  2. For more information and to enter the competition, visit www.globaldimension.org.uk/news/item/19188

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Published 30 April 2014