Student fights to secure foreign aid

Ellie Ratcliffe, 19, is a youth ambassador fighting against global poverty

Ellie Ratcliffe, 19, is a youth ambassador fighting against global poverty

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore. Please call me on (01865) 425422

A WOMAN from Oxford has taken the fight against global poverty to Europe’s corridors of power as she lobbies to guarantee the amount of aid for developing countries.

Nineteen-year-old Ellie Ratcliffe, from Jericho, has been putting pressure on British politicians since April. It is part of her role as a youth ambassador for the ONE campaign, which aims to end extreme poverty worldwide by 2030.

On September 12 the former Oxford High School for Girls pupil hopes to see her efforts pay off as a bid to secure foreign aid spending reaches a vital stage in Parliament.

Working with 24 other youth ambassadors from across the UK, Miss Ratcliffe has been trying to get 100 MPs to support a private members’ bill before it goes to committee stage in the House of Commons next month.

The MPs’ support will make the bill – to guarantee 0.7 per cent of UK national income being spent on foreign aid – more likely to be approved at committee.

Miss Ratcliffe, who studies politics and geography at Durham University, became an ambassador for ONE – an international campaigning and advocacy organisation cofounded by musician Bono – through her interest in politics and international relations.

She was inspired, she said, by her teachers at Oxford High School for Girls. She said: “I first knew what I really wanted to do in my first year of A-Levels when I was at Oxford High.

“My politics and geography teachers inspired me by the way they encouraged you to engage with the content of the subject above and beyond what was expected of you in class. They really encouraged you to follow your interest in a subject out of class.

“I guess growing up here has made it something more at the forefront of my mind because people talk about these issues a lot in Oxford.

“Being a youth ambassador has been a good opportunity to influence policy, which is something a lot of people want to do but do not have the opportunity.”

Her six-month term as a youth ambassador began in April, a month before the elections to the European Parliament.

Since the European Parliament election in May Miss Ratcliffe has continued to lobby MPs and MEPs.

She said: “We have had an active petition on the ONE website going for quite a while and we have also been working quite a lot on social media.

“I have been writing letters to MPs in my area, for example Nicola Blackwood and Andrew Smith, and have been encouraging others to do the same.

“At the moment the youth ambassadors are targetting local MPs but the next step will be to do it on a more national level.”

The UK is currently the only G7 country which contributes 0.7 per cent of national income to foreign aid, and the youth ambassadors want to see this figure enshrined in law and adopted by other countries in the G7 and EU.

After the election Miss Ratcliffe travelled to the European Parliament in Brussels to meet youth ambassadors from across Europe.

She said: “We focus on extreme poverty, which means living on under $1.25 (75p) a day.

“We look at this because it is the lowest level of human existence, where people struggle to survive.”

To sign the petition visit one.org/international/take-action

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Comments (6)

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9:36pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Interestedinoxford says...

Oxford High being a public school and now wanting to do something about equality in the world. Start with campaigning for VAT to be added to public school fees and the extra money can be used for...foreign aid !
Oxford High being a public school and now wanting to do something about equality in the world. Start with campaigning for VAT to be added to public school fees and the extra money can be used for...foreign aid ! Interestedinoxford
  • Score: 13

11:29pm Thu 28 Aug 14

mytaxes says...

Does Ms Ratcliffe receive a salary and pay tax or is it just others tax she wants to use?
Does Ms Ratcliffe receive a salary and pay tax or is it just others tax she wants to use? mytaxes
  • Score: 7

2:15am Fri 29 Aug 14

South Upper 87 says...

Just another student. Never done a days work in her life and wants even more of our wages to be spent abroad. She wants to set herself a new target, to work for those in need in this country.
Just another student. Never done a days work in her life and wants even more of our wages to be spent abroad. She wants to set herself a new target, to work for those in need in this country. South Upper 87
  • Score: 6

8:58am Fri 29 Aug 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

plenty of homeless people at home to worry about without sending more money to 3rd world dictactors to help build their armies.
plenty of homeless people at home to worry about without sending more money to 3rd world dictactors to help build their armies. yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 0

9:04am Fri 29 Aug 14

Quentin Walker says...

I wish I was 19 and knew everything...
I wish I was 19 and knew everything... Quentin Walker
  • Score: 0

1:53pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Pianissimo says...

What mean-minded comments so far! The ONE campaign is only trying to get the most basic subsistence level for the millions of people who live in poverty - who probably have a much lower standard of living than the five people above.

According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. Still, that's only about eight million a year.
What mean-minded comments so far! The ONE campaign is only trying to get the most basic subsistence level for the millions of people who live in poverty - who probably have a much lower standard of living than the five people above. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. Still, that's only about eight million a year. Pianissimo
  • Score: -1
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