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Hello, I’m Gareth, and I live in the Valleys in South Wales. I am a member of the Global Children’s Panel, and I represent Wales. There are fourteen of us on this panel, and we come from Bangladesh, South Africa, China, Mongolia, Wales, England, Brazil and Liberia (who unfortunately couldn’t come as their visas were declined). We want change.

We met during the week of the 7th – 15h March 2009, and discussed the issues of Accountability (a horrible word that we changed into 3 things – Faithfulness, Keeping the Promise and Communication – much nicer!), the issues in our countries,  what we will talk about to Save the Children UK’s Board of Trustees on the 13th, the G20 charter that we filmed (I filmed my part in Welsh!), we went through our Lunchtime Presentation and we also got to meet with the fundraising team.

It was tiring to say the least, and by the end all I wanted to do was sleep until Christmas, but it was seriously all worth it. The support we got from some of the staff from Save the Children was immense, and I thought it was so cool that they really did like what the Panel was doing, and without them, we’d never have been able to do half the stuff we got up to! Also, they really supply us with anything we needed, and you can imagine the work they had to go through to satisfy 12 young people from all corners of the globe in the food department. But they were learning as they were going along, as the Sandwiches at the start of the week were disasterious, and the lunch buffet by the end of the week was a smashing success! What I also loved was the fact that I had the oppourtunity to meet 11 other young people from around the world, and just talk to them (okay, so we had to have translators, but we got over that, and by the end, we all had learnt some phrases from each others languages – As-Salāmu `Alaykum!) about the issues that were facing our countries.

The meeting with the trustess and some directors on the friday was, for them, probably very scary! But the Global Children’s Panel were ready for them! We discussed in detail about the issue of Accountability, with three groups discussing each of the 3 terms we came up with. We also then had to briefly summerise our points for Money/Awareness, Poverty, Health, Protection/Safety and Education, as we ran out of time. A lot of the meeting was taken up by the discussion of the withdrawal of Save the Children UK from Mongolia*, but I believe it was necessary to do this, as Ulzii (Mongolian Representative), was my friend, and I was saddened by this fact, as we all believe Save the Children as a leading charity, yet their withdrawal showed to us that the charity can’t do everything in this current economic climate. We also grilled the trustees about things they just couldn’t answer (myself included), and what I would like for next year is a meeting with the directors, and a meeting with the trustees.

The week was actually fantastic, and It feels so awesome that I have taken part in Save the Children UK’s ethic to participate children more in the work they do! Roll on next year!!!

*Here’s a statement from the Mongolia programme, “we have achieved a good reputation in the areas of education and child protection not only in the country, but also within the SC Alliance network, and we will leave behind an important legacy for children.  I want to thank everyone concerned for the part they played in bringing major changes to the lives of children in Mongolia over the past 15 years.”

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