As 500 staff around the world start back up not just for a new year but the beginning of our new global strategy, Nik Hartley, our CEO, dropped us all an inspiring note as he landed back from the Directors Conference in Nepal.  The abridged version below is worth a read if you have any connection to the world of Restless Development. 

To all our staff (nearly 500 now globally) a Happy 2017!

And in case you have not read our version of the happy 2016 that is closing, please do: 16 Things to Celebrate.  It relates power and joy and success, where so much and so many in 2016 were conspiring to do the opposite.  Please just take a moment sometime between now and the first week in January, when most offices around the globe are back up at full tilt, to enjoy the glimpse those stories give us; just a glimpse of the depth of what we know took place across the restless world.

Because this is it.  We have a new strategy.  And to sum it up simply to the depth of the past five years we are about to add truly global scale – in what we support young people to deliver, to influence and to inform on in our world.

We are going to achieve scale collectively – together as Hubs, and with thousands of partners.  It is right there on the back page of our new strategy:

By the end of 2021 we will have:

Delivered on a set of specific targets against the four goals set out by young people: a voice , a living, sexual rights and leadership, through 20,000 volunteers mobilising 2.5 million young people across the world.

Shared our Restless Model through our Youth Collective – a driving force for youth-led change set up by us, but powered and led by the 2.5 million young changemakers who we have mobilised, 500 local youth-led organisations and 50 international organisations and companies who will make up the collective, across 35 countries.

Restructured our own agency to reflect the Restless Model, putting our leadership and direction within the hands of our hubs across the world (initially in ten countries).

Built a body of evidence for the power and impact of youth-led development.

​Learn all those numbers.  They are our combined ambition to which we will all be contributors.  It is no small task but, as I predicted five years ago when our last strategy seemed unreachable – it is eminently achievable.  Indeed I would imagine we will over deliver yet again.

The real challenge is not the scale, but to change.  We are going to have to change – to metamorphise from ​skillful operators to an agency filled with experts ready to offer access and ideas to those who want and need it.

We are the go-to in our field now; and so now we have to offer our expertise – opening up the doors to our agency to all who need us.

Not least those 2.5 million young people. From January, Directors fresh from the Conference, are committed to building that change with you all; committed to changing our centre of gravity right from the moment volunteers walk through our doors.  No longer will we reach beneficiaries but we will mobilise change makers – 2.5 million people like Eva, Soniya and Alaro who will not be a log frame target, but the people we are headed into the field to mobilise to lead all of our efforts for scale.

They, not we, will take up our model – to inform, influence and deliver change for their countries.  We will just be there to help them and our 500 partners to make movements on national and global platforms, to develop expertise and research in open-source labs and ultimately a coalition of the very best organisations, small and large, to achieve young people’s goals as they expressed them to us.

2017 is just the beginning.  See you there.

What do you think?

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