Rihanna’s already an artist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, and now she’s just added another string to her bow — Guardian columnist.
The R&B star has published an op-ed in the newspaper all about her mission to get every child in school, and her role as an ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
“Education is a lifelong journey,” she wrote. “We never know everything, but we constantly evolve as we learn more about our communities, this ever-changing world, and ourselves.”
“I’m not ashamed to say I’m still learning,” she added. “I’ve grown tremendously as an individual through my formal education as well as the global education I have received by travelling the world through music.”
It’s the latest step in RiRi’s now two-year campaigning journey to make sure that none of the world’s 264 million out-of-school children are left behind.
Rihanna also took to Twitter on Tuesday, calling on a fresh new batch of world leaders to commit funding to support worldwide education.
Over the past two years, Rihanna has tweeted world leaders from the UK, France, and Australia, as well as from Norway, Canada, Argentina, and Germany. And now Japan, and Finland are on her radar — along with an additional call to Germany.
Hellooo @BMZ_Bund Minister Müller @RegSprecher Chancellor Merkel. I’m thrilled to see 🇩🇪 is prioritizing education. Will you increase your @GPforEducation pledge to 50M€ per year @GCMandela100? Please help us keep it up, danke! @claralionelfdnhttps://t.co/pQsqivFgMU— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 18, 2018
Konnichiwa @AbeShinzo@konotarogomame & @konotaromp! I love that Japan committed $180M to girls' education @G7.— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 18, 2018
🇯🇵Will you allocate new funds from that commitment to @GPforEducation@GCMandela100? 全ての女の子のためによろしくお願いします @claralionelfdnhttps://t.co/pQsqivFgMU
🇫🇮 @juhasipila I was hoping to see Finland at the @GPforEducation financing conference in #Senegal in Feb, but there’s still time to join @GCMandela100! Hope to hear you go and pledge new € from @FinGovernment? Kiitos! @claralionelfdnhttps://t.co/pQsqivFgMU— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 18, 2018
Her ask, should world leaders choose to accept it, is for additional funding for GPE — which exists because the scale of the education deficit around the world needs an immense collective response.
GPE is an international collaboration among donor and developing countries, international organizations, civil society, teacher organizations, the private sector, and foundations, working on the frontlines to get education to the hardest-to-reach places.
The movement has already had extraordinary success. Between 2002 and 2015, GPE got 70 million children into school, and trained hundreds of thousands of teachers.
And Global Citizens played a huge part in the global efforts. Since April 2017, Global Citizens have taken more than 263,000 actions calling on world leaders to help every child get a quality education.
That momentum culminated in a GPE financing conference in Senegal, on Feb. 2 this year. The conference, co-hosted by the French and Senegalese governments, saw $2.3 billion pledged towards global education, for the years 2018-2020.
But that’s not quite enough to achieve the GPE goal of improving education for 870 million children in 89 countries. The fund needs $3.1 billion — which is why Rihanna’s and Global Citizens’ work isn’t over yet.
Education can transform individuals, families, communities, countries, and the world. pic.twitter.com/ppRTFyTgdJ— GPE (@GPforEducation) April 15, 2018
Rihanna said that the world is grateful for the “generous contributions” of those like the EU and France, as well as countries that have doubled their contributions, like Canada and Ireland.
But she’s calling now for additional contributions from Germany and Japan, and for contributions from those who didn’t make pledges at the financing conference in February, including the Netherlands, Finland, and New Zealand.
“I hope you all join me on social media in calling on world leaders to step up to the global education challenge,” continued Rihanna in the op-ed.
.@GlblCtzn CEO @Hughcevans at @GPforEducation Financing Conference:— Global Citizen Impact (@GlblCtznImpact) February 2, 2018
"We need to have authentic conversations with world leaders who say that the key to fighting extremism is education, and yet when they have the perfect opportunity to invest in education they fail to do so." pic.twitter.com/jFona6Bnev
“Every voice counts, and limited knowledge is no reason to stay silent,” she continued. “We all have a stake in this. Imagine a world where millions of children, previously left to fend for themselves, are given the chance to learn.”
“When it comes to helping the world’s poorest children, as well as the communities and societies in which they live, I’m still learning — and I need others to join me on the journey and use their voices alongside mine,” she wrote. “If we can overcome the education deficit in the developing world, everybody wins.”