As we leave 2023 behind, the incredible stories of resilience and the impact of Youth Power shine bright.
This year was not without disruptions and challenges, yet young people continued to advocate and act to demand a better future. Whether it’s holding governments accountable for Climate Change or campaigning for accessible Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), young people continued to reshape the conversation and demand action in critical areas.
Before we step into 2024, let’s celebrate the impactful moments of Youth Power and thank our young leaders, activists, donors and supporters worldwide.
Here are some major highlights from Restless Development globally:
You helped us raise £50,000 through our Youth for Climate Action Appeal through which we can train young climate activists like Parvati, Devika, Mayur and Akash to mitigate climate change and its effects.
The UK Schools Triathlon Series was back for the 8th year, and even bigger and better than before! With a total of 8 event locations, the events saw 7,488 children from 100 schools coming together to swim, run and cycle, raising a total of £963,941.60 for Restless Development and over 90 other charities – a true testament to Youth Power!
The Schools Triathlon is now proudly the largest UK Sports Fundraising Event for children! Plans for the 2024 Schools Triathlon Series are well underway, with 2 new event locations added, we are hoping to smash our £1 million fundraising target!
OUR GLOBAL BOARD
We proudly announced our new Global Chair Jenny Wilson and Deputy Chair Mafipe Chunga along with Pooja Singh, Nicola Dean, Francesca Bowen, Justin Derbyshire and Eshban Kwesiga joining us as Trustees of our Global Board. We now have one of the youngest, most diverse charity boards in the UK.
STATE OF YOUTH CIVIL SOCIETY REPORT 2023
We released our latest State of Youth Civil Society report “Young, Feminist, and Fearless: Holding the line” which incorporates findings from feminist activists based in 82 countries and spotlights stories of resilience, #YouthPower and feminist activism from across the world.
OUR AGENCY PLAN
We released a new Agency Plan this year in line with our Global Strategy launched in March 2022. Our agency plan explains how we shall operate to deliver our strategy to the fullest – while modelling new ways of operating to shift power internally.
YOUTH POWER AT COP 28
We took Youth Power to the UN Climate Change Summit in Dubai this year. Our youth delegation was part of many impactful discussions and events, connecting with young changemakers from all over the world. Together, we exchanged ideas and approaches to climate justice, including the link between climate change and education, shared experiences, and strategized on how to build a sustainable future.
RESTLESS DEVELOPMENT HUBS:
Youth power is the heartbeat of change, resonating even in the remotest corners of India.Saumya Singh, 20, Youth Advocate
Restless Development India is championing youth leadership across multiple fronts. “Girl Adda” by ChhaaJaa, a collaboration with young change-makers from the Delhi Learning Lab helped break taboos on women’s health, while the Youth Climate Conclave showcased young leadership in tackling environmental challenges with research and a dedicated Youth Fund.
The “We Listen” series provided a platform for over 200 young people from across India to address pressing issues, sharing their perspectives, experiences, and aspirations. In total, the hub reached over 38,000 young people and fostered a 21,000-strong virtual community.
I utilised my vacation to collect and report 200 landslide incidents as a digital volunteer.Dorna Raj BudThapa, 23, Digital Volunteer
In Nepal, an environmental assessment led by Restless Development in Karnali exposed gaps in existing programs. The assessment highlighted its inefficiency in dealing with the growing landslides concerns. Our digital volunteers stepped in, targeting youth via academic events and gathered 1500+ crucial landslide data.
A total of 1,998 young people were directly reached through our digital campaign and financial literacy project. The hub worked with a total 35 young leaders, 9 digital advocates and 26 Youth Sounding Board members.
Shifting power to young people unlocks our potential, creates a sense of belonging and an enabling environment for us to thrive.Marie Tholley, Positive Parenting Field Officer
Restless Development’s Sierra Leone hub focus in 2023 was empowering youth and building stronger communities. In September, 12 youth-led groups tackled local education challenges through the “Catalyzing Youth Leadership” project, demonstrating ingenuity and resilience.
Across Sierra Leone, the “Every Adolescent Girl Empowered and Resilient” project reached over 7,800 girls, equipping them with essential skills and resources to build brighter futures. Meanwhile, the “Positive Parenting Education Project” trained over 5,400 parents and caregivers in fostering nurturing family environments, impacting generations to come. With over 1,447 young leaders spearheading change and reaching 92,400 individuals, our Sierra Leone hub has solidified its commitment to creating a world where young voices ignite positive change and communities thrive together.
Restless Development instils in young people the belief that they can reach great heights by being confident.Fatima Said Abdallah, 29, Finance Volunteer
Restless Development Tanzania made waves at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi and COP28 2023 in Dubai.
Our Youth Climate delegates from Tanzania met with the Minister of State for the Office of the Vice President (Union and Environment), Hon. Selemani Jafo during the Africa Climate Summit. There were discussions around the government’s role in investing in young climate champions for effective climate action in Tanzania. The conversations continued after the summit. As a result, Minister Jafo, in collaboration with Dr. Richard Muyungi, Adviser to the President of the United Republic of Tanzania on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, convened young people and launched a platform supporting youth-led climate initiatives in Tanzania, named ‘GreenSamia’. Seven young individuals were funded through this initiative to participate in COP28.
Young people from the hub took centre stage in discussions around youth climate action and their presence at the “Unite, Act, and Deliver” summit at COP 28 highlighted our unwavering commitment to climate justice.
The hub also launched the Hungry for Action Campaign. 15 passionate young Tanzanian activists have stepped up to advocate against the global hunger crisis. Our Tanzania hub welcomed the delegations from the Embassy of Sweden to delve into the organization’s youth programs, focusing on areas like sexual reproductive health and rights, women’s empowerment, and governance. The hub reached 23,699 young people in Tanzania.
To me, Youth Power is young people’s ability to defend their rights. In my case, I can speak up against early marriage, boldly pursue further studies and seek employment opportunities.Eyotaru Lucky, 26, Intergenerational Dialogue Mentor
In 2023, Restless Development’s Uganda hub reached 3,404,816 young people. The hub implemented four key programs with the help of 237 dedicated volunteers. On the Day of the African Child, the hub organised a children’s parliament aimed at empowering children to debate and voice the key issues affecting them. Our SHE SOARS youth researchers utilised this avenue to present a petition to the partners, gatekeepers and duty-bearers on the challenges faced by young people in accessing SRHR services. Restless Development Uganda also hosted a “Youth as key agents of change” breakout session at the Civil Society in Uganda Convention.
Thanks to the SHE-SOARS programme, young people can now freely access SRHR services and information.Maryner, 19, SHE-SOARS Volunteer
Restless Development Zambia participated in the 5th African SDGs summit held in Lusaka. The forum unified young but brilliant minds, experts, governments, UN bodies, NGOs, and the private sector and provided a platform for networking, connecting, and knowledge exchange to better the African continent.
Together with Marie Stopes Zambia, the hub also spearheaded Youth for Health project Zambia. Additionally, a plenary session was held on Inclusive Approaches on the Importance of Involving Marginalised Groups to improve SRHR. The side event provided an opportunity for young people to engage in fruitful discussions and promote meaningful action towards inclusive approaches in improving Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services across Africa.
I am proud to be part of the peak youth generation pulling their weight tackling SRHR and HIV issues affecting communities and the globe.Pellagia Banda, Peak Youth THRIVE Young Leader
Restless Development Zimbabwe led three key programs in 2023. Through PEAK Youth THRIVE, young leaders shattered menstrual stigma and poverty reaching over 876 young people.
The hub’s Citizen Engagement for Accountability Activity (CEAA) project armed young people with leadership skills, boosting their voices in community decisions and empowering them to lead the charge against local challenges. Young Changemakers on Climate and Health has empowered 4 young leaders, who researched the impact of climate change on health, engaging 307 peers in 8 districts.
A total of 1,829 young people in Hopely and Ishewekunze, Zimbabwe have gained knowledge in Comprehensive Sexual Education which resulted in 40% (723) of young people accessing Family planning information and services, cervical cancer screening and HIV testing and Counselling services through outreaches.
In 2023, young people were not just voices, but architects of change. We marched, we spoke and we wrote – to speak up and take action in all corners of the world. As we move forward to welcome a new year, we plan to keep our learnings close and continue to drive progress.
Young people are no longer just cheering from the sidelines, they are driving youth-led change. Stay tuned to learn more about #YouthPower and inspiring youth-led actions, projects and research