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MenelikE ducation UK



What is the GVS?

One of the greatest challenges that schools face is to define a clear set of values not just rules that has been developed with the full involvement of the school community and is actively upheld by pupils. Menelik Education UK’s Global Voices Scheme (GVS) helps schools to use the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)1 as the values framework that enables this to be achieved.


The UNCRC enhances pupils’ understanding of the consequences of individual and group actions on the rights of others locally and globally. It also serves as the basis for a shared vision which can enable positive environments, relationships and communities to develop. The articles of the Convention are based on recognition of every child’s basic needs in order to thrive. The UNCRC therefore sets out a child’s rights to:


  • Survive and have good health
  • Be protected from any form of abuse
  • Develop their talents and skills
  • Participate in the world to which they belong


The UNCRC appeals strongly to children because it provides a moral framework that is appropriate for all pupils regardless of their faith or ethnicity. There is no “moral relativism” because the UNCRC derives from a universal agreement.


How does the GVS work?

Menelik Education Global Voices Scheme is an international cultural exchange that harnesses the power of art, culture and language as a bridge to understanding and goodwill between UK school students and their peers around the world. Menelik Education offers schools a unique opportunity to open their doors to genuine interaction with a larger world.  The reach of Menelik Education Global Voices is limited only by the imagination of the participants, and offers a much-needed way to begin to broaden the range and depth of studies available to pupils/students.


We can offer various services to schools and colleges, for example give talks on:


  • Rights and Responsibilities (Global Citizenship)           
  • Contemporary African/World politics
  • African/Latin Culture (films/documentaries/group discussions)
  • Development Issues and Trade
  • Ethics, and more.


We can also:


  • Create partnership between our schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) and schools in the UK
  • Teach African/Latin dance workshops
  • Prepare an African/world food buffet for the schools as a one of or scheduled occasions.


Teachers working in schools where Menelik Education GVS has been, quickly come to see that the MEGVS is not just another initiative.  It provides, instead, an overarching set of values that leads to improved peer relationships and strengthens the empowerment, well-being and achievement of children. The MEGVS scheme recognises achievement across four aspects of school life:


  • Leadership and management that embeds values in the life ofthe school;
  • Knowledge and understanding of Global Citizenship;
  • Rights-respecting climate and culture in the classroom;
  • Active pupil participation.


When a school has evaluated its progress and believes it has reached a high standard, it can invite if it so desires, a UNICEF UK Education Officer, or authorised UNICEF partner, to conduct an external assessment. Following this, a verbal and written report is provided and, if the necessary standards are confirmed, an Award certificate will be presented.  Menelik Education is happy to provide the school in which it has been, a supporting letter to be submitted with the application.


The Award has two levels:


Level 1


Applies to a school that has made good progress across all four aspects so that the values and principles of the UNCRC are at least partially embedded in the life of the school.


Level 2


Recognises that these principles and values are as fully embedded in the school’s culture as can be realistically and reasonably expected.


Encouraging participation

Menelik Education offers schools a strong framework for pupil participation in global citizenship initiatives. The Government’s aim to improve community cohesion cannot be achieved without the active participation of children and young people themselves. It is much more than simply asking children questions.


Real participation means children and young people having the opportunity in an inclusive way to learn about other cultures but also be offered the opportunity to participate in various ways in inter-schools and community activities.


Where the GVS is implemented enthusiastically, participation runs like a thread through all aspects of school life and underpins the principles of Every Child Matters. For pupils, knowing that they have some rights and responsibilities in decisions that affect them sparks their interest. This opens the way to exploring the skills, language and concepts required to exercise this right to participation and the responsibilities that accompany it.


How does the GVS make a difference?

The GVS provides a coherent values framework which enhances school leadership. It shapes the ethos of the school and unifies what can often be seen as a range of disparate educational initiatives and government priorities in all UK jurisdictions; the global dimension, SEAL (social and emotional aspects of learning), sustainable development, and community cohesion. Pupils develop a stronger sense of the need to act for global justice.


The universality of the UNCRC provides a clear link between building up their rights respecting school and the need for children’s rights to be realised everywhere.


Parents have also reported an appreciation for the values and principles of the UNCRC. This is based on the impact they see it is having on relationships with their own children when they adopt the rights-respecting language and framework.


What are the benefits?

Evidence gathered from schools participating in the GVS suggests that when the values of the UNCRC underpin the ethos and curriculum of a school, they have a significant, positive impact on important aspects of child well-being and school improvement. They also has a positive effect on the relationships, teaching approaches, attitudes and behaviour of everyone involved. Teachers, children and parents have reported:


  • Improved pupil self-esteem
  • Pupils’ enhanced moral development
  • Improved behaviour and relationships (reductions in bullying, exclusions and improved attendance)
  • More positive attitudes towards diversity in society and the reduction of prejudice
  • Pupils’ development as global citizens
  • Overall school improvement including learning environment and academic standards
  • Enhanced job satisfaction for teachers Schools have found that pupils become more engaged in discussing, planning and reviewing their own learning. Secondary schools working on the GVS reinforce its values through peer education schemes. These peer educators become enthusiastic ambassadors for the GVS as it promotes an active, participatory ethos in the school.


“Menelik Education (ME) has partnered recently with the Harambee Centre for development and Enviornment Education through his role as a Global Voices volunteer. This voluntary programme aims to raise awareness of cultural diversity in schools in the Eastern region and break down some of the stereotypes that exist about other cultures through critical-thinking and participatory activities.  ME has contributed to conference days in schools focusing on cultural diversity by running interactive and informative workshops on the Democratic Republic of Congo. ME brings this African country alive through a quiz and slides that set the country in context within the African continent. Students learn about its recent history and some of the less-well known positive aspects of its culture. They can also hear about Menelik Education's work on extending the school in Kinshasa and potential partnerships between their school and the one in the DRC”


Jane Carpenter - Development Education Programme Coordinator, Harambee Centre


The idea in a nutshell

Children and young people can raise their achievement at school and improve the quality of their own and their families’ lives, if they learn exactly what their rights and responsibilities are according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and use this understanding as a guide to living.  Children and young people will know how to go about making informed decisions and become confident, active citizens if this “rights and responsibilities” guide to living is introduced at an early age and is reinforced throughout school life.


Menelikeducation Global Voices Scheme is an effective way of inspiring and supporting schools who want to provide children and young people with a rights respecting guide to living.


The Office for the Children’s Commissioner’s report Bullying Today4 recommended that schools consider the GVS as a way of creating a school ethos that, among other things, successfully reduces the incidence of exclusion and bullying.


“The children really enjoyed the afternoon. Theodore from Menelik Education was very friendly and the class found it very interesting”


“Theodore from Menelik Education was well-prepared for the session. He had a good range of resources and an engaging manner. The children particularly liked the drumming and the wiggle dance!”


Brompton Primary School – Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire


GVS throughout the UK

The Global Voices programme gives pupils the chance to appreciate life in very different countries through student presentations on everything from language and custom, to games, fashion, food, dance, music, and what it was like growing up in their own country.


“The aim is to demonstrate that putting children at the centre of our thinking, at the centre of policy-making and at the centre of the curriculum actually does make a positive difference.” Edward Waller, Head of Education, UNICEF UK


Further information


Theodore Menelik: +44 7827 70 5454




1 The UNCRC is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty (all countries except Somalia and the USA have ratified it) and it is the only one to include civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. It sets out in detail what every child needs for a safe, happy and fulfilled childhood.


2 A volunteer initiative from the University of East Anglia which sees international students working with local schools has won a prestigious Civic Award.


‘I feel that the Award has helped our school to make significant progress in raising children’s self-esteem and encouraging them to have confidence in themselves.  They also have more belief in their ability to achieve things and a much greater awareness of their rights and responsibilities.’


Maxine Jolly - Head teacher, Lumsden Primary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland


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