Minister of International Development hands over the reins to fifteen-year-old Arina Aamir

‘I believe it is crucial to fight for the right of girls to get an education. As ‘Minister of International Development’ for a day, I want to use my voice to support the children, and especially the girls, who are not otherwise heard,’ said Arina Aamir.

Arina Aamir will be "Minister of International Development" for a day. Credit: Private
Arina Aamir will be "Minister of International Development" for a day. Credit: Private

She will ‘take over’ the minister’s job on 13 October in connection with Plan International’s #GirlsTakeover project. Held in connection with the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October, this is an annual event in which teenage girls assume leadership of companies, organisations and countries for a day. The aim is to highlight UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, which is to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls.

‘When we announced our participation in #GirlsTakeover2020, we were looking for a girl who wanted to stand up for girls’ rights, and who was involved and motivated to solve challenges. Arina has already shown a deep commitment to girls’ issues, and she is an excellent candidate,’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein.

Despite her young age, Arina has already achieved a great deal. In 2017, at the age of 12, she published a book called A Norwegian Muslim Story. She is a member of the Young Conservatives and the Oslo City Government’s central youth Council. She hopes that her day in the role of Minister of International Development will produce results.

‘On my day on the job, I will target my efforts towards ensuring that more girls are given access to schooling. I think it’s important for Norway to help developing countries to help themselves. The development aid we provide must enable people to become self-sufficient. One example of this is to support projects that help women obtain sewing machines, so that they can sew clothing and earn their own income. This will not only promote gender equality globally, it will also help to combat poverty,’ Arina said.

Plan International Norway has assisted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in finding the right candidate.

‘If we are to achieve the goal of global gender equality then we must include young people. We must make sure that girls have the same opportunities as boys to take on influential roles and positions in society, to be listened to and to take centre stage. Norway is a pioneer in this respect, and that makes it even more exciting that the Minister of International Development is going to give a teenage girl his chair during this year’s Girls Takeover,’ said Kari Helene Partapuoli, National Director of Plan International Norway.

‘We are in the middle of a pandemic that is hitting girls especially hard. I believe it is important that we politicians don’t just talk about girls’ situations, but that we also take the time to listen, learn and, not least, ensure that they have a central role in the public debate. I’m looking forward to following Arina’s efforts as “Minister of International Development”,’ Mr Ulstein said.

Press contact for Arina Aamir and Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein: Tuva Raanes Bogsnes, [email protected], mobile telephone:+47 93 23 18 83. 

Press contact for Kari Helene Partapuoli, National Director of Plan International Norway: Nina Høie [email protected], mobile telephone:+47 46 35 53 14.