“Shifting the power: what will it take to do development differently?” is a research series into Youth Civil Society, led by young people in Iraq, Lebanon, Madagascar and Uganda.
The research covers four major areas of concern; Funding & Resourcing, Leadership, Organisational Capacity, Connection & Collaboration.
After our 2019 report revealed Youth Civil Society was only surviving, not thriving, we set out to find out why and what could be done about it. This research was designed and led by young researchers, allowing them to ask the right questions based on their priorities, collect stronger data through a deeper rapport, and generate better insights.
Who knows about young people, if notMialy, Youth Researcher from Madagascar
Organisations want more (not less) interaction with donors.
Organisations want funding structures to better value (and compensate) the expertise of national organisations.
Organisations want more flexible funding streams that enable organisational growth in strategic areas.
“Try to reach those small youth-led CSOs, who are totally youth-led and are in touch with the reality in the field, by simplifying the administrative procedure for any grants.
“Simultaneously we need capacity building for grassroots organisations, on how to apply to a call for application, how to write a good proposal, or how to make a good financial report.”
Mialy, Youth Researcher
We must address prevalent one-dimensional notions of “who gets to be a leader?” and “what does it mean to be a leader?”
We must address the negative impact of working through external spaces and top-down capacity development on growing leadership.
We must building leadership journeys into organisations and programmes.
“Engagement of youth at every level of leadership is key to development.
“This can help to improve the relationship between the youth and the community, increase accountability of development actors and also creates a space for new solutions and various development ideas.”
Emmanuel, Youth Researcher
We need to reprioritise and move away from “one size fits all”, donor-mandated capacity strengthening.
We need to be more transformative (and not compliance-focused) and enable CSOs to have an equal voice.
We need to move away from notions of capacity support as external opportunities.
Donors and INGOs must co-develop partnership standards at the outset of programme design.
Decisions on partnerships should also be mutually beneficial and agreed jointly with donors.
We need to do more than add new spaces by revisiting how spaces are structured for accessibility and relevance.
“It is very important to connect to others, internal or external. This is the first way to start development. You can exchange ideas, skills and materials to make a change.“
Mikanto, Youth Researcher
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