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Amnesty and The Co-operative Bank launch 'Rise Up' youth activism training programme

13 September 2019

This weekend (14-15 September) will see the first cohort of young activists take part in Amnesty International UK’s "Rise Up" youth activism training programme, supported by The Co-operative Bank.

The year-long campaigning and advocacy training programme will equip young activists with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to make positive change happen in their communities.

Hailing from all corners of the UK, the passionate young human rights defenders will be offered in-depth support and training to develop and progress their own campaigns and drive change.

The activists have each chosen to campaign on a human rights issue that matters to them. The broad spectrum of campaigns will range from: women's rights, LGBTI issues, refugee rights, homelessness, discrimination, climate change and youth empowerment.

Kate Allen, Director at Amnesty International UK, said:

"The last few years have seen a surge in inspirational youth activism around the world. Through the rise of global movements, like the March for Our Lives and the School Strikes for Climate, we can clearly see the power of young people as human rights campaigners.

"But we know that there are still significant barriers to participation in campaigning for young human rights defenders in the UK.

"That's why we're delighted to have teamed up with The Co-operative Bank to offer this unique one-year training course that will bring young people from across the country together to deliver the change they want to see.

"It is Amnesty's abiding belief that young people are not the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders we need here and now."

Andrew Bester, Chief Executive of The Co-operative Bank said:

"We are very proud to support the Rise Up programme in partnership with Amnesty International UK and believe that this is a really important initiative that comes at a pivotal time.

"Young people are already finding their voices to advocate change and this programme is the ideal way to nurture and grow this movement in the UK.

"We are delighted to be supporting a scheme that will mentor and encourage passionate young people to take the right steps to campaign for change."

The four training sessions will run from September 2019 to June 2020 and will cover:

  1. Building Your Base: An introduction to the programme, exploration of human rights and participant's own role in achieving change.
  1. The Change You Want To See: An exploration of a campaigns approach; identifying goals, creating a strategy and participant's influence in their communities.
  1. The Tools You Need: Training in the tactics needed to achieve positive human rights change - from working with the media, to digital skills, political engagement and creative practices.
  1. Action Planning: A workshop on putting all of the learnings into practice, creating personal action plans and trialling some of the skills the participants have developed.

Global wave in youth activism

The past few years have seen an unprecedented wave of activism from young people across the world in response to the climate emergency facing our planet, escalating gun violence in the US, period poverty in the UK and much more.

Inspired by the example of Greta Thunberg, more than a million young people from dozens of countries have joined the Fridays for Future movement and other youth-led groups. Mass global climate strikes have been planned for 20 and 27 September, with more than 2,400 events planned in 1,000 cities around the world. On Wednesday, Amnesty's Secretary General wrote to schools across the country urging them to "neither prevent nor punish" pupils from taking part in the global days of strikes.

Amnesty believes in the importance of supporting and expanding the space for greater youth-led engagement and participation, both within the organisation and externally. Across the UK, Amnesty youth and student activists campaign and fundraise together for human rights in 500 schools and sixth form colleges and over 100 University campuses.

To follow the Rise Up programme, please visit www.amnesty.org.uk/riseup.

-- ENDS --

Amnesty International UK media information:
Cora Bauer: 0207 033 6404: cora.bauer@amnesty.org.uk
Out of hours: 07721 398984: www.amnesty.org.uk
Twitter: @NewsFromAmnesty

Amnesty International is the world’s leading human rights organisation with more than seven million supporters worldwide.

The Co-operative Bank media information:
Nicki Parry: 0161 201 1590: nicki.parry@co-operativebank.co.uk
Lesley McPherson: 0772 590 3270: lesley.mcpherson@co-operativebank.co.uk

The Co-operative Bank plc provides a full range of banking products and services to retail and SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) customers and is committed to values and ethics in line with the principles of the co-operative movement.

The Co-operative Bank is the only high street bank with a customer-led Ethical Policy which gives customers a say in how their money is used. Launched in 1992, the Policy has been updated on five occasions, with new commitments added in January 2015 to cover how the Bank operates its business, products and services, workplace and culture, relationships with suppliers and other stakeholders and campaigning

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