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Plan International Ireland Youth Advisory Panel

On Saturday 24 February 2018 I got a bus from Castleblayney at 7:50 to Dublin. From the bus stop I walked to Marlborough Luas Station, under the guidance of Google Maps. Once I arrived at Harcourt I made the short walk to 11 Harrington Street, the offices of Plan International Ireland. At the door, I found Grace a Senior Brancher from Meath. When we got there the room was already full of Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) members and Aoibhinn, who is also a Senior Brancher from Cork, was already there. Rebecca and Lewis introduced themselves – they both work at Plan International Ireland. We all got name badges and signed in. We split into groups to try to get to know each other a bit better.

Rebecca showed us a presentation about the work that Plan International does and what YAPs in other countries do. Plan International campaigns for women and children’s rights all over the world. The YAP in Ireland is relatively new as it only started in 2016. There are over 40 YAPs around the world, some are in developed countries and some are in developing countries. Since YAP has started in Ireland, they have collected signatures for a petition against child marriage in Malawi. As well as that, the Irish YAP took part in a project with the French and Belgian YAPs to bring the issue of gender inequality to the attention of the MEPs in the European Parliament. As part of this project, last July the Irish, French and Belgian YAPs got to visit Brussels, to express their ideas to the MEPS.

We divided into groups and each group got to discuss a topic such as International Women’s Day, and then we would swap. It was interesting to hear different people’s opinions on events and issues that affect people in today’s world. After that activity, we got lunch, which was pizzas from Domino’s. After lunch, we split into groups and discussed our dreams and nightmares for our YAP and also what we could do for YAP and what YAP could do for us. One of the most common topics that came up was about getting more boys involved with YAP because it is nice to get more views or opinions on different topics and to balance things out more. We picked a date for our next meeting, which will be held in mid- April and we decided as a group to check if there were any projects that other YAPs were doing which we could get involved with.

Overall, I had a great day at the Plan International Ireland Youth Advisory Panel Introduction Day and I am looking forward to the next meeting.