“I think about the times when I slipped out of the mundane into the magical – and it is usually because of a ‘teacher’ who believed in me.”
For the past year Alex has been a co-CEO at Restless Development, having led as their Strategy Director before that. Before joining Restless Development Alex worked for WaterAid, Save the Children, Global Campaign for Education, Robin Hood Tax campaign and Comic Relief. She’s a geographer by training and a feminist at heart. She spent several years in South Africa and Kenya, before moving back to London where she now lives with her wife and young twins.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m the Co-CEO of Restless Development. I have 20 years experience, and am a long-term advocate for Youth Power, as one of the best ways to achieve a more just and sustainable world. I have a background in campaigns, education and participatory research. I have worked for WaterAid, Save the Children, Comic Relief and the Global Campaign for Education, heading up 1 GOAL: Education for All, in South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I also have a geography degree and a master’s in Education and International Development. I now live in North London with my wife and four-year-old twins.
What inspired you to advocate for education?
I’ve always loved teaching and play-based learning, spending lots of time volunteering in schools and youth centres. When learning is fun and fulfilling – that’s when the magic happens. I’m a strong believer that when you get education right everything else follows.
When learning is fun and fulfilling – that’s when the magic happens. I’m a strong believer that when you get education right everything else follows.
What is one personal story that reflects the impact education has had on your life, or the life of someone you know?
I think about the times when I slipped out of the mundane into the magical – and it is usually because of a ‘teacher’ who believed in me, and an environment that sparked my interest. One of my favourite teachers was Sister Maria. She got me writing stories out of this world, and sparked our interest in the world and all possibilities. She listened and encouraged me and my confidence increased hugely with her guidance.
What is the biggest challenge facing young learners now, and what can we do to address the crisis?
That the crisis is so big and complex. The numbers of young people failing to get a quality education, the lack of jobs, opportunities, and with the climate crisis. It’s so overwhelming and depressing. The education crisis isn’t a single-issue crisis, and shouldn’t be treated like one by ‘education-experts’. We need to look at all the challenges together from a youth-led perspective. And instead of seeing young people as a problem – the solution. We can do more to support young people with their innovation, organising, leadership and creativity. Youth power is an incredible force for good when it’s able to thrive.
Youth power is an incredible force for good when it’s able to thrive.
All 17 Goals will be reviewed during the SDG Summit in 2023, the largest global moment since the launch of the 2030 Agenda eight years ago. What is your advice to education leaders and young people preparing for post-TES mobilization?
Don’t give up.
Who is your superhero that you admire and why?
My kids. They are only four and they spend most of their time in a magical world, where anything is possible.