In memory of Guy Hughes, this is an Award for young people who are following in his footsteps, by working towards a better future for all
The Sheila McKechnie Foundation was established in 2005 to develop and support the next generation of campaigners: people who spot an injustice or a pressing need among the vulnerable and then go out and do something about it. It champions the right to campaign and brings together campaigners for mutual support and shared learning.
The project is a direct response to the tragic death of Guy Hughes – a brilliant young activist. His friends and family have joined forces with the Foundation to create a new Award for young people aged between 18-24 who are taking global action on social injustice and environmental destruction. The Award provides gifted young campaigners with a package of mentoring and support that strengthens their knowledge of campaigning techniques and develosp links with leading campaigners in their field.
The 2008 Global Action Award Winner was Juliane Heider who campaigns, with fellow students, to end the immigration detention of children. Juliane has been campaigning to provide detainees facing deportation with the skills and resources to appeal against their situation. She is particularly concerned about the length of time children are being detained and the fact that they are without access to education or medical care in detention.
At the outset of the programme Juliane highlighted that what she and the campaign needed:
‘In order to extend our campaign we need an even bigger action network – more contacts and connections to different organizations to back the public meeting and publicity around the campaign, i.e. petitions and postcards…access to policy and decision makers is needed to make our voices heard on every level possible’
As a result of the programme of support Juliane received, her campaign developed a clearer plan and became more focussed on the results she hoped to achieve. Specifically they were:
- Creating new mechanisms for sharing and transferring knowledge within the group
- Building a new UK network of students to campaign on the issue and strengthening their voices
- Creating strategic working relationships with other key players and campaigners in this area to widen their reach and increase the ability to bring about meaningful lasting change
Juliane is passionate about ending the immigration detention of children and based on her and her coach’s feedback there is no doubt that the support she has received has increased her campaigning skills, ability and potential to have a greater impact towards achieving her campaign goal.