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St Swithun's Sixth Form at Global Student Forum

Published Friday 1st of July 2011 04:01:17 PM

This week, St Swithun's School had the opportunity to attend the Global Student Forum (GSF) held in Westminster, London. For the girls of St Swithun's, the subject of this year's Global Student Forum proved to be a reality which was both poignant and very relevant. During a busy day out in the capital, they were exposed to the horrifying facts and the extent of maternal death in the developing world. 'I never saw it as a pressing issue before!' said Iona Smith (16), 'I was shocked by the simplicity of the causes and the tragic consequences my eyes were opened.' A staggering 1,000 women die every day due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth that's, approximately one every minute. 99% of these deaths occur in the developing countries, in places such as Sierra Leone, Pakistan and Guatemala. If we compare the UK with a developing country such as Afghanistan, the discrepancy is clear: 1 in 4,700 mothers in Britain will die during childbirth; 1 in 11 will die in Afghanistan. 'When the facts were revealed, I was speechless' said Suzie Walters (17).

With the help of inspirational multi-media presentations, workshops and live music, GSF explored why the world is so far off-track in meeting the fifth United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75% and achieving universal access to reproductive health services by 2015. Students were encouraged to unite to combat the issues, educate their peers and ultimately help raise the funds needed for the comparatively small investment of £15 billion.

Since GSF's inception in 2005 more than 4000 sixth formers have attended forums in London, Liverpool and Hull returning to their schools to inform an estimated 200,000 fellow students of key global issues raised during the day. As a result, the sixth form students of St Swithun's are determined to do as much as possible to spread the word and empower others to do the same.

When asked what her favourite aspect of the day had been Lizzy Peet (17) said 'I loved meeting my MP, Steve Brine, he really encouraged me to remember that I have a voice and that I should speak out and express my views: I believe that maternal mortality is something that everyone should be aware of and it's really important that we reach our goal We will make a change!'
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