Reinvigorated by our World Merit Global Ambassadors



Members of the World Merit Global Council relaxing after a hard day’s work. They come from countries as big as India and as small as St Lucia; from Muslim countries like Yemen and Egypt to Christian based Countries such as Canada and Holland. There is a great mix of men and women and they work together as one impressive team

Sometimes, just sometimes, I feel a little jaded. A feeling of déjà vu overtakes me when I think I am sure that I have done this before and then really remember that I have. 51 years in politics is a long time to keep the flame burning and the positivity flowing.

Sometimes, that spirit gets recharged by the growing vitality of our Party in Liverpool.The insults; jokes and sheer hard work are demonstrated on our campaigners “What’s App” stream. Our candidates and their supporters are hard at it out on the streets; campaigning; delivering and door knocking.

But I also have another source of re invigoration. The work I do as chair of World Merit, the Liverpool based none profit making company that, which helps young people throughout the world connect to each other. They do this by helping to deliver the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in their own community. We call our ‘members’ change makers because that is what they do. They work locally to change and improve their community and then work together to inform themselves and then inform a range of local, national and global bodies as to the opinions of young people and the things that can be done to bring young people indecision making positions.

They then get opportunities to come together virtually on our website (www.worldmerit.org)and other platforms and physically though our Merit360 programmes which will betaking place in 2019 in Chester/London and Mexico. Other opportunities will present themselves such as being the youth component of the Estoril Conference in May and a meeting of 1,000 World Merit delegates in Morocco in March.

For two days this week I have been in Portugal where World Merit had a team of young people who are part of our Global Council. Although our change makers do not get involved in the day to day business of running the Company and finding finance etc they are very much involved in developing the strategies of the organisation. 11 members of our Global Council not only met to advise us and to interact with each other but also to compete to be our Global Ambassador for 2019.

The competition was hot for this because our Ambassador will spend a lot of time travelling the World; meeting World Merit change makers in a variety of ways and representing our change makers in a variety of forums including the United Nations. In the end we could have made any of them our Global Ambassador.

They had some really great projects which are already up and running but which they want to expand.

Shaan from India has been working on a greater programme for encouragement and empowerment for people, especially girls, from poor parts to India to enter school;

This was similar theme for Odwa from South Africa who was trying to find resources to pay for meals for hungry children who cannot think or concentrate at school because they are hungry.

Sietske from Holland was working in schools to encourage them to think through some of the consequences of climate change in their day to day lessons

Tatiana from Zimbabwe was also thinking of schools. She has designed a range of children’s books; activities and clothes to be manufactured in a poor area. The profits will be used to fund school places. If you are interested in selling some of these products let me know!

Beth from Canada reminded us with a homeless project in Toronto that poverty has a major presence in many of our Cities in the developed world. What she did and what she intends to do reminded me so much of the problems on Liverpool’s street.

All the 11 had good projects which they had started to deliver and wanted to expand. They were all under 23 (they made me feel terribly old!). They were so very, very enthusiastic and when they got together created a real buzz of activity which expanded their own creativity and contributed to that of the Group as a whole.

So I came away with one great buzz as well. A realisation that there is hope for the world when young people like these – and there a lot more of them – are prepared to take on the challenges of the World and do something about them. I also came away with a fierce determination to get even more people involved in World Merit and similar schemes. These people are the future of our World; our Country and our City.

Regrettably, we do not yet have a very active group inside Liverpool except for the partnership we have with Liverpool John Moores University. In the New Year we will be working on that launching a number of projects in schools and in the young community as a whole. This will involve youngsters in doing things in their own community in the City Region. They might then have the possibility of joining a group of young people from all of the World at our change makers conference in Morocco in March.

If you want to know more or know someone who might be interested go onto our website at www.worldmerit.org. Alternatively contact Chris Arnold at ca@worldmerit.org.

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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