Community & Government

Starting at the Local Level

Malala Yousafzai

Lesson time 05:51 min

If you’re advocating for a cause that affects your community, you should reflect the views of your community. Malala shares ways to connect with those experiencing an issue firsthand and how a personal perspective can influence decision-makers.

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Topics include: How to Influence Authorities · Communication Tools


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Activism is important. And we want global and national level activism. But it has to start locally, because, you know, we see, in one small community, how an issue is impacting an individual, a family, or you yourself. When you speak out about it locally, you gather and you collect that local level support that you need. And then, people join you in that. And you sort of build-- build a movement. And then, you can take it ahead. You can take it on the national level, on the international level. And you build a bigger and louder voice for the issue that you want to highlight. I think it's important to talk to your community members. It could be students. It could be people in your workplace. It could be people in your neighborhood. You can gather around and you can talk about the issues that you care about, that you feel that need to be addressed in that community. I think that's-- that's the start. The next step then is to find out who should you address. Is it a council? Is it a local politician? Is it somebody else? You can build a lot more pressure on the country leaders to listen to you and to just realize that this is an important issue and people are not silent about it. In my book "I Am Malala," I say that surely how the system works depends on the people overseeing it. And this is very important, because sometimes we feel that, you know, these are institutions and organizations. And they're structured in a way and it's really hard to challenge everything and reset the whole environment. It could appear to be a massive task. But there are people who are in positions of leadership, who are in positions of power in those institutions. And they play a crucial role. You go out to them. You write a letter to them or you go to their office or you do a protest. And you know, you might hear a response to say that it's not their responsibility and somebody else is supposed to do that. That happens quite a lot in advocacy. You might realize that it is-- it changes all the time. There are new phases in the government. There are elections. And there are new political parties. You just need to stick to your own story. How is the issue impacting you and why does it need the attention of your political leaders, of people in authority? And I think that in itself is a powerful way to start advocacy. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] When I started my local-level activism, we wanted to raise awareness about what was happening in the north of Pakistan, in this one valley, that everybody else in the country need to be aware of it. It was very important for me, in my messaging, that I remind leaders that, when we talk about Swat Valley, we are talking about Pakistan, because, you know, a few thousand girls are stopped from going to school. That really matters to the country. And the government and the people in authority had to recognize that this had long-term consequences. We cannot bear the c...

About the Instructor

When she first took a stand, Malala simply acted on her belief that all Pakistani girls like her had a right to education. Now the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in history teaches you how to fight injustice in the world and in your everyday life, starting with your own community. Learn Malala’s framework for influencing change: Research issues, build a strategy, take action, and create an impact right where you are.

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Malala Yousafzai

Nobel Prize–winning activist Malala teaches you how to be an activist in your own community, from research and strategy to action and impact.

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