Thinking globally, acting locally
International Youth Day in August is always a busy time of year for us. It’s also a time for reflection, for looking back at the incredible work we do. Here’s a round-up of the work we do globally with young people. We’re immensely proud of them and the change they’re driving.
Join us as we celebrate the work each of our ten hubs does globally to drive change. Here’s a brief whistle stop tour of the work that passionate young people do. From fighting child marriage in Nepal, to influencing politicians to take climate change seriously in rural Uganda, we’re immensely proud of the work that they do.
Following the success of the UN’s High Level Political Forum, Restless India released a video celebrating Omang Agarwal, a young leader working with Restless Development India who visited the United Nations this summer.
In this interview, filmed before the forum, he talks about his hope for the event, the importance of including young people in decision-making, and much more.
Our India team also gave praise to Ritu Jain, a Restless Youth Accountability Advocate who has been challenging prevailing, negative narratives young people in her community.
Our Nepal hub celebrated International Youth Day by showcasing the brilliant work they do to end Chhaupadi in rural areas of the country. Chhaupadi is a practice whereby young girls on their periods are sent out of the village. Considered impure they are sent to animal huts during the duration of their period.
Across Nepal, Restless is working towards the elimination of the practice in rural parts of the country by challenging pervasive and prevailing narrative around Chhaupadi.
Durga Bist has led on the issue in her community, helping many women and young girls to leave behind their huts and inspiring them to become gender champions within their communities. Durga’s story was featured in Dazed and Confused last year.
Nepal also chose to celebrate Bipana Nepali and Ranjita Sharma, two Youth Power advocates fighting against gender-based violence in their communities across Nepal.
By challenging deeply held views on child marriage, Bipana has stopped four child marriages in her community, allowing these young girls to continue their education.
Ranjita continues to challenge gender based violence and child marriage at her school and community level.
Sierra Leone celebrated Youth Day with the Ministry for Youth Affairs. We work with government stakeholders to ensure that young people’s concerns are prioritised in decision-making processes.
This year’s Youth Day theme was around safe spaces. Restless youth advocates discussed how government partners can create safe spaces for young people to contribute to decision and policy-making.
Restless Sierra Leone also took a moment to celebrate the work young people are doing with Comic Relief to combat malaria, a leading cause of death in many communities.
In Sierra Leone we are working with Comic Relief to train 50 young people so that they can provide youth-friendly malaria awareness sessions in their communities.
The aim is to empower young people to become young leaders, and give them the confidence to use this information to influence decision makers. While they’re fighting malaria, they are also learning new skills and gaining valuable work experience, which is vital as youth unemployment is also a major challenge in Sierra Leone.
With support from the Big Lottery Fund, the programme ‘Youth Leaders Today for Tomorrow’ supports improved access to sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services, and addresses sexual and gender based violence, increasing the number of young people reporting incidents of gender-based violence. A year into the project, 60% of young people have developed safe sex negotiation skills and 70% of both sexes were able to identify three forms of abuse.
Our South Africa hub celebrated the project and the young leaders who tirelessly drive for change on sexual rights in their community. Recently, Restless South Africa released a three part series on national FM radio station Inkonjane.
Focused on consent and safe sex negotiation skills, ‘Secrets and Lies’ aims to bust stigma around consent and HIV transmission.
Following on from Restless UK’s focus on Period Poverty, South Africa’s second show ‘Pure Intentions’ demystifies common misconceptions around menstruation and encourages young women and girls to be period positive.
Our Tanzania hub welcomed Penny Mourdant, the Secretary of State for International Development. Alongside health ministers, she visited our DFID-funded Mwanamke Tunu programme.
Restless Development is working in partnership with PSI Tanzania and Intra-Health on to improve poor, rural women’s access to family planning (FP), comprehensive post-abortion care (CPAC), and gender-based violence (GBV) services, with a focus on reaching adolescent girls and survivors of GBV.
Tanzania celebrated the big day by celebrating one of their accountability advocates, Alfred Kihwily. Kijana Wajibika (Youth be Responsible) is a ground-breaking initiative that builds a movement of youth and women who are well informed on civic rights and actively engaged in political processes.
Our Tanzania project use proven and successful youth-led, data-driven accountability model that places young people at the centre of development and governance processes and provides a platform to empower youth and women in Tanzania to hold their government to account on their commitments.
Our Uganda hub was proud to release our latest video on Franco, a youth activist in Karamoja, in the north of the country.
Affected by climate change, Franco. Following his involvement in youth-led research with Restless, he has set up a project focusing on climate smart agriculture, training members of his community and lobbying local government to get water irrigation systems in communities.
You can watch his story below as well as read our behind-the-scenes blog with Franco.
Following Tanzania’s example, youth advocates marched past President Yoweri Museveni, carrying banners that told their leaders that their voices must be heard.
Elsewhere, our Uganda hub, following on from the UK’s period poverty event, broadcast a live sanitary pad making tutorial. In expanding access to sanitary pads, young girls will be able to got to school during their periods.
Our UK hub ran a successful period poverty event, hosted in London. An issue decided by our Youth Decide network, the event featured speeches by period stigma campaigns in the UK.
The event was featured fascinating discussions about the stigma around periods that still exist, in the UK and abroad, as our recent blog shows. It also encouraged women and young girls to be #PeriodPositive and attendees to pledge to speak more openly about periods so that we can smash the stigma together.
For International Youth Day, our US hub spoke about work it does creating safe spaces around gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Following on from the success of high-level summits like UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF,) we celebrated young people’s roles at high level UN summits and the voice they have within these spaces.
This year we supported two youth accountability advocates, Judith from Tanzania and Omang from India, at this year’s HLPF. Both Judith and Omang brought powerful insights and recommendations on youth-led accountability for gender equality. At HLPF they called on governments to increase implementation of policies relating to family planning commitments and gender equality.
As part of Ezekial’s King-Phillips internship, he took part in UN HLPF by helping to run events and has been working on Restless USA’s social media presence. He wrote a blog for our website on why summits are important, but not as much as the young voices that make up and drive them.
Restless Zambia celebrated Charles, a Tusunge Lubono youth advocate working to raise financial literacy among young people. The programme works on diversifying sources of income and supporting young people, especially girls and young women to access financial and entrepreneurial skills and training, to facilitating access to government schemes and grant start up initiatives by young people.
On the day, our Zambia hub ran a youth festival run by youth advocates. The event invited local leaders as well as politicians and showcased the work that young people do to drive change in their community.
Youth advocates in Zimbabwe are active in using data to pursue good governance and promoting youth friendly services.
Our projects mobilise communities, local civil society organisations and public authorities to collectively develop solutions to health, livelihoods and migration issues affecting young women and girls, as well as collecting data on gender-based violence in rural Zimbabwe. This data helps to provide effective, localised support systems and services for gender-based violecnce survivors in Matabeleland, southern Zimbabwe.