The Approach Behind Malala’s Campaign: Amplify, Invest, Advocate
Last night I, along with 15 other HubSpot co-workers, had the remarkable opportunity to attend the event An Evening with Malala Yousafzai in Providence, RI. It was no doubt an inspirational evening, full of meaningful words and standing ovations.
Malala told her story of growing up in Swat Valley, Pakistan, speaking up for her and her female peers’ right to education, and got shot by the Taliban because of her campaigning. She survived the horrific attack and now lives in Birmingham, England with her family, campaigning for women’s rights stronger than ever.
What’s at the core of her global campaign? How is it structured? That’s what I kept wondering after reading her book, seeing the documentary, and now attending this talk live. She explained that there are three principles that drive her campaign approach, and I found them simple, impactful, and sustainable.
Malala and her fund seek to amplify the voices of girls around the world. As she meets children who have to fight and struggle to get an education whether that’s due to war, poverty, traditional cultural norms, or something else – she listens to them and works on surfacing their stories to a wider audience. She has already built a big following and can introduce us to new heroins who are just like her – brave and strong and looking for knowledge. Here is an example of how they’ve raised the voice of Raghad, a 12-year-old Syrian girl.
The Malala fund also invests in local programs that empower girls to continue their education. The funding seems to cover a wide range of needs, including repairing damaged classrooms, providing school supplies, counseling services, secondary school scholarships, and career development courses. For instance, the program in Kenya is focused on enrolling girls from Nairobi’s slums in NairoBits’ Girls’ Centres to become computer literate, gain professional skills, and learn about reproductive health.
The third core principle that the campaign is built around is all about advocating for women’s rights and education in front of world leaders. Malala often criticizes governments of their enormous military spending when a small fraction of that same money could give children around the world 12 years of free, safe, quality education. She remarked that the Taliban and other terrorists recognize the value and power of education and that is why they bomb schools. Our world leaders, unfortunately, forget that and don’t do much about it. When asked if she is afraid when talking to these popular figures and world leaders, Malala says, “They should be afraid of talking to me because I speak on behalf of the people.”
These campaign principles allow for the growth of the movement beyond Malala. It’s fascinating to see how much thought has gone into them and how something like this can create a sharp focus for the fund. If you are looking to learn more, I’d recommend seeing the documentary and reading Malala’s book. Her voice will leave you hopeful and inspired.