Building a Youth-led Movement for Gender Equality

06 Feb 18

Social change and gender equality begins with young people in their communities.

Restless Development is excited to announce a new initiative to build a youth-led movement for gender equality, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The 18-month long pilot project commenced in November 2017 and will train, mobilize and connect young leaders in Tanzania and India. These young leaders will be supported to build initiatives which hold their governments to account for Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls) and their formal commitments made to Family Planning 2020 (a global partnership that aims to enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020.) In the process the young leaders will engage their peers, communities, and local and national governments to build a movement that drives progress towards these commitments.

Gender inequality is pervasive and entrenched throughout the world. According to World Bank data, women aged 15-44 are more likely to be affected by rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria. Strong policy is needed to dissolve the economic and social barriers to ending gender inequality.

Recent global commitments such as Sustainable Development Goal 5 and Family Planning 2020 promise to achieve gender equality and to empower women and girls to decide freely, and for themselves, whether, when and how many children they want to have. However, these recommendations must be translated into actions.

The globe is also witnessing the largest youth population of all time.The Sustainable Development Goals and FP2020 commitments will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of this Peak Youth generation. It’s imperative that we use this moment to catalyze a youth-led movement of advocacy and accountability to make these promises a reality.

This initiative will help to drive progress and accountability for these commitments at local and national levels in India and Tanzania. Restless Development will train and support 32 young Accountability Advocates from these countries to collect and share evidence, data and qualitative experience to inform youth-led advocacy efforts, together with at least 180 young changemakers to collaborate and drive change. We will also amplify the Accountability Advocates’ voices through the Youth Collective - a movement Restless Development is building in support of youth-led change - engaging young changemakers and coalitions of youth-led organizations and partners. Through the Youth Collective, Restless Development will also work closely with, as well as advocate to, key government and aid-agency leaders for the achievement of local, national and global commitments made through FP2020 and SDG 5.

Restless Development works with young people on dynamic, data-driven accountability programs which have shown real policy outcomes and social change in their communities. This pilot project will take the best of that experience to design and pilot a replicable, scalable model to hold governments to account on the most pertinent commitments related to gender equality in a given community - all identified and driven by young people.

“Evidence-based data is vitally important to all of us working to improve access to sexual and reproductive health rights for youth and adolescents. It plays a crucial role in bringing issues around family planning to the attention of policy-makers and influencers."

Franklin Paul, Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Manager, Restless Development India

“We know that to achieve progress on providing voluntary rights-based family planning information and services to all who want and need them, countries must lead the way—and young people are playing a critical role. They are stepping forward to take charge of their lives and their futures, advocating for meaningful and lasting action to expand contraceptive access for all women and girls. FP2020 is proud to support efforts that bolster young people who are a remarkable force for change, within countries and on the global stage.”

Beth Schlachter, Executive Director, FP2020

We are the Youth Collective. If you believe in the power of young people, join our movement.