We are very proud of Our Values here at Restless Development. Developed by our staff in a global participatory process and embedded in the way we do everything (from recruitment and induction of staff to ethical fundraising and campaigning to how we tell our story), our values are far more than posters on the wall. I’ve heard Restless Development called the “Google of NGOs” and have been asked countless times how we get such a great group of young people, have such a cool culture and deliver the audacious achievements that we do. The answer is easy; it all starts with Values.
And so I want to start this post with Values. One of our core values at Restless Development is “Hands – We are in it together.” In that spirit , I want to introduce the 10 members of “Team Nepal” who are taking the Live Below the Line Challenge together:
5 Restless Development staff including Beth Charles, Declan Murphy, Hazel Beckett and Rhys Prosser. They form the core of our International Citizen Service team, leading the recruitment, training and preparation of the 400 brilliant young people from the UK who will join 3000 young African and Asian volunteers this year to lead our programmes globally. As the first faces that many young people meet when they start their journey with us, not only are these 4 brilliant young leaders themselves, but 2 also worked as volunteers on our programmes overseas before joining the staff team (Hazel in India and Rhys in Nepal).
David Trow from KPMG, our biggest corporate partner. We’ve been in a strategic partnership with KPMG for 5 years now that has seen them donate over £1.3 million in pro-bono hours to accelerate our strategy and growth at Restless Development. As part of this partnership, David traveled to Nepal where he worked on a ‘BRIGHT’ placement – working with our Finance team in Nepal to build their skills, new tools and systems, and to generally build an even stronger finance function in our Country Programme there. David now sits on the team within KPMG that manages our partnership globally.
Samantha Peraino is a high school student here in the UK. We met at Career Day at her school last year, after which she took the initiative to start a new club to take the Live Below the Line Challenge in her school – all unbeknownst to me until I returned this year – and on her own hard efforts (as it is no small thing to set up a fundraising club!) the team will be taking the challenge next week.
Mandie & Paul Nichols and Donna & Roy Maddox. Even our parents are taking the challenge, with Beth’s folks here in the UK and my folks in the USA not just supporting us to take the challenge but also taking the challenge themselves.
Think about this group and the range it represents. We are proud to lead the way for you youth-led development in everything we do here at Restless Development, but we don’t go it alone. A wide range of partners – from students to seasoned grassroots development workers, from corporate partners to parents – are what makes us go.
Speaking of making us go, I got to thinking today about calorie content and how I’m doing under the line. Last year I wrote in one of my updates that the problem wasn’t getting enough calories but rather enough nutrition on £5, but as my current mental fog and persistent headache seem here to stay, I decided to check just how many calories I’m getting as I Live Below the Line. It turns out I was very wrong. All of my food adds up to ~6300 calories. For 5 days, I ought to be getting 12500 calories, so I’m eating about 50% of what I need this week. For reference, this is only ~67% of the recommended levels for dieters. And while Tuesday is early in the challenge, I’m beginning to feel it.
But the work doesn’t stop. Nor does it for the 1.2 billion who live in extreme poverty globally. The cruel irony is that the further one lives below the real line, the harder they have to work to just to make ends meet. The notion of a 5-day work week is a dream in most parts of the world with endemic poverty; they are often working 6 and 7 days just to piece together the income needed to get by. And we’re not talking white-collar work here, we’re talking farming, labouring, on-your feet trading and the type of work that tires to the bone. Now imagine doing that on 50% or 67% of the energy you need. And then remember that these calories aren’t giving you the nutrients you need.
It’s not hard to see how insidious extreme poverty is and how the cycle of under-nutrition perpetuates itself. But like everything we do here at Restless Development, while we recognise the severity of the problems out there, we focus on the solutions in the same breath. We don’t see young people as victims (you’ll never see one of our photos with the sad-eyed children asking for money) but as the best solutions to these very serious problems. That’s why I’d like to ask you to read this quick one pager about a young woman facing many similar problems (in this case about water), how she became a volunteer with Restless Development, and how she’s leading the change her community needs. This is a very small scale, but when you add it up to include the 3000 volunteers we’ve got leading programmes that reach 500,000 people across the world, daily, I hope you get a sense of he change that young people can and do lead on the most important problems facing the world.
And that brings me to another of our values: “Voice – we generate leaders and are proud to carry the banner for youth-led development”.
Thank you for helping us to carry this banner.