Global Citizenship and United World Schools

Children help children. Students support students.

UWS promotes global citizenship through our schools partnership programme and our global citizenship badge programme.

We connect schools in the developed world with our schools in post conflict regions.

Pupils in the developed world school fundraise and engage with the UWS school. The pupils receive accounts of life in schools in other countries, visual case studies, and often visit the school and meet the pupils they help support. The children in other countries benefit from an education they might otherwise have been denied.


What is “Global Citizenship”?

Fostering Global Citizenship is priority 3 of the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First initiative.  The GEFI defines global citizenship thus:

“The world faces global challenges, which require global solutions. These interconnected global challenges call for far-reaching changes in how we think and act for the dignity of fellow human beings.”

“It is not enough for education to produce individuals who can read, write and count.”

“Education must be transformative and bring shared values to life. It must cultivate an active care for the world and for those with whom we share it. Education must also be relevant in answering the big questions of the day.”

“Technological solutions, political regulation or financial instruments alone cannot achieve sustainable development. It requires transforming the way people think and act.”

“Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies. It must give people the understanding, skills and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st century.”

Source: Priority #3: Foster Global Citizenship

“Global citizenship educates and prepares young people for their role in a modern world. This begins with an exploration of different cultures, languages and economies.”

“Crucially, active global citizens care about the world they live in, and take action to support causes that have a positive impact for other communities and future generations.”

Jon Cooper,

Teacher, Red Maids' School, Bristol

Why is global citizenship important?

We believe global citizenship is essential for young people to gain the skills, attributes and knowledge to be successful in their chosen careers, and for the progress and development of a fairer and protected world.

So what is a global citizen?

A global citizen cares passionately about others and the world they live in. An active global citizen takes action to support causes they believe in.

Together with our network of Partner Schools, with many thousands of active global citizens, we help transform the lives of thousands of some of the poorest children in the world.

Global citizenship is about far more than just fundraising – it is an opportunity for children to take a lead, be active and join a movement that touches the lives of all those involved.

UWS sees a Global Citizen as someone who:

  • Is aware of the wider world.
  • Has a sense of their role as a world citizen.
  • Respects and values diversity.
  • Wants to tackle social injustice.
  • Believes that all children and young people have a right to an education.
  • Takes action to make the world more equitable.
  • Lives and promotes a sustainable way of life.

How UWS promotes global citizenship

We partner schools from affluent countries with their own UWS community school in an area of significant educational poverty. In other words, we partner the elite with those at the other end of the educational spectrum. We’re currently working with some brilliant schools in the UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, Bahrain, Australia, and the US.

With our partner schools we’ve so far reached over 4,000 of the poorest children in the world, transforming their futures. These are mutually beneficial partnerships that enrich the curriculum, develop school culture, enable students to be active global citizens, to own the partnership, and be part of something that genuinely touches the lives of all of those involved, e.g.,

Hannah Watts, a student at UWC Atlantic College, took it upon herself to raise over £300 by asking for donations from friends, family and contacts.

This money directly helped the village community of Na Cam, where it was used to build a well. Hannah specifically wanted to fund this project because she saw that the village’s only source of water was the river. Other villages the group visited had already benefitted from having a water pump or well installed, and Hannah wanted to do the same for the people of Na Cam.

As our founder Chris Howarth says, “Children help children. Students support students”.  This is global citizenship in action.

Video Transcript

“I believe UWS is different in the way we make these schools sustainable.”

“We do this by going to the wealthier schools around the world, and we go to partner schools, and ask them if they would like to join a large family where children can help children, student can support student.”

“So schools have raised money to not only build schools, and provide the money for those schools to be run for 3, 4, 5 years. But also the students from those schools, the teachers from those schools have come to Ratanakiri and worked in the schools that they provided the money to build.”

“We believe that the education process is a 2 way thing, that the schools in the west, in the richer parts of the world can learn from schools and children here.”

“These young people that come here are learning about themselves, and learning about working as a group, working as a team, they’re learning about how to help other people when it’s tough, when it’s hot, when its muddy, when it’s raining.”

“They’re learning so much more about themselves and providing the useful service to other people.”

“I don’t know any other organisation that does similar. That’s what makes us that little bit different. “

“As a former partner school pupil, it was fantastic to have such a relevant project integrated into the school’s culture. The simple idea of pupils raising money for other students in less developed nations was something that was easy to get behind and certainly helped to instill a better awareness of my standing in the world.”

“As a teenager it may be unlikely that a global conscience is at the forefront of your mind, yet now as an undergraduate aiming to pursue a career in International Development, I was perhaps more influenced by programmes like UWS than I realised.”

“This is a trend I’ve noticed amongst my fellow alumni, with PGS pupils keen to travel sustainably, work abroad and generally more ethically aware than other students.”

Alun Cledwyn

Student, Portsmouth Grammar School

“My belief in the importance of gender equality in education stems, to some extent, from the fact that the secondary school I have just left is an all-girls school, as well as being a strong partner school to UWS.”

“Working with UWS has proved to me that the contrast between my educational experience and the daily lives of the women of Ratanakiri cannot be understated.”

“We must recognise that there is still a long way to go in narrowing this global divide.”

Milly Loveday

Student and UWS Volunteer, Red Maids' School

United World Schools Global Citizenship Badges

The UWS Global Citizenship badge is just one way we recognise and reward active Global Citizens who believe in making a difference and who support the UWS movement.

How do the badges work?

There are 4 badges available:

  • Bronze  – All ages, 5-10 hours over one term.
  • Silver – Typically for 11-16 year olds, 15-30 hours over 6+ months.
  • Gold – 14 years +, typically achieved over 12 months or more.
  • Platinum – For the ultimate UWS ambassadors and champions. 16 years +, links to career and higher education pathways

Pupils work with their teacher and:

  • Set goals and select a badge. Start at bronze level and work up, or go straight for gold!
  • Plan activities and what evidence to collect, based on the Learn, Share & Act framework.
  • Share, compare and improve ideas by working with classmates, teachers and others completing the badge.
  • Self-assess evidence against the criteria provided.
  • Present evidence to the teachers when all criteria are met. If the teacher agrees, send it off to the UWS team.
  • If successful, receive a certificate and badge! If there are areas to develop, review progress with teachers and friends, then re-submit updated evidence.

“My name is Jo, I’m 10, and I have been working for my Bronze Award. Our teacher showed us a video from the UWS website about what life is like in a village in Cambodia. Then we learned about the school that we are linked with –UWS Chai Dor School.”

“The children are very poor but now they can read and write. We did a project about life in the village. We wanted to help them so we told our parents and friends about the school and did a sponsored hop around the football pitch called “Leg Up for UWS” to raise money for the children at Chai Dor. Our target was to each raise £5. I raised £11.40. We had our picture from the day in the local newspaper too.”

Jo, 10

Join the UWS Global Citizenship Badge Scheme

The UWS Global Citizenship badge is just one way we recognise and reward active Global Citizens who believe in making a difference and who support the UWS movement.

If you would like to learn more about the UWS Global Citizenship Badge scheme contact Jack at [email protected].

For a sample of materials included, download the Student Guide to the UWS Global Citizenship Badge scheme.

Download the Sample Student Guide

Sample Student Guide to the UWS Global Citizenship Badge Thumbnail

Our Global Citizens

Here are a just a few examples of the wonderful work young people are doing to integrate UWS values and case studies into the curriculum.

Cora Edwards

Cora Edwards

Cora visited Cambodia as part of the Red Maids’ school expedition in 2013.  As well as volunteering in the UWS schools Cora interviewed staff and pupils. Cora used this material for the extended essay component of her International Baccalaureate course.

  • IB Extended Essay. Pupils can pick any subject, any topic but it is a compulsory part of getting the qualification.
  • This is one of the new multi-discipline IB subject areas available for EE.
  • This is a good example of how to integrate in the curriculum and a pupil being a global citizen.

Read Cora’s extended essay in all its glory here (44 pages). It received an A (top grade for the EE) so well done Cora and thanks.

“A critical analysis of the work done in Ratanakiri province Cambodia by United World Schools, with reference to the philosophy of Paulo Freire” (PDF, 3.5MB)

Cora will be returning to Cambodia as a volunteer during her gap year, continuing her ongoing global citizenship.

Milly Loveday

Milly Loveday is our pioneering volunteer from Red Maids’ School and has developed her own music teaching programme for UWS. Milly had particularly great success teaching the recorder in both UWS Blai and UWS Roy – not at all easy as the rains arrived! We look forward to hearing more music drifting through the jungle soon.

Milly also helped write a fabulous article “#GirlsEducation, Why it Matters” for the UWS web site.

Milly playing the guitar in Cambodia
Will training for the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race

Will Carp

Will, a student at Marlborough College, first became involved with the work of UWS through our founder, Chris Howarth.

After hearing about the progress made in Cambodia, Will decided to support the expansion of UWS through fundraising. Will completed the 2013 Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race in aid of UWS, raising over £2500. The race covered 125 miles (201 kilometres) over a period of 4 days and involved kayaking for 6-7 hours per day in icy conditions.

Renaissance College Hong Kong

Pupils from RCHK produced this video on a visit to Padol village. It took two weeks of preparation, 63 cast and crew and resulted in 2 minutes of actual filming.  That’s commitment!

Captured in this continuous shot are the smiles, hopes and dreams of every student from the UWS school in Padol (Ratanakiri, Cambodia).

Gold Creek School, Australia

Every so often we receive emails – such as the one below from an eight year old in Gold Creek School, Australia.

“Since we last talked I convinced my year 3 group to help fundraise.”

“We came up with the idea of a mini-market. We asked our parents for donations of items and we sold haircolour, icy poles, popcorn, lollies, cakes and we threw cream pies at one of our teachers. All of these things were for a coin donation.”

“Our goal was to be able to send a child to school for one year $52, but instead we were able to send a kid to school for 28 years! As we raised $1494.90.”

Saing School under construction

Contact us to find out more


Arrange a conversation with our School Partnership Director, Jack Clark, by contacting [email protected]

Learn more about the benefits of UWS partnership:

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