Towards a Feminist Restless Development 

We are committed to breaking down barriers and systems of oppression that disproportionately impact on young women and non-binary people, compounded by race, class, sexuality, ethnicity and other factors.  We do this by taking a power shifting approach in all that we do:  We prioritise collaboration, well-being and joy – and aim to build a nurturing and supportive environment for everyone, especially young women, to thrive. We support and celebrate diversity and strive for a world where there is no discrimination and everyone has power and agency over their bodies and lives.

Taking a feminist approach in our work is an ongoing journey at Restless Development. We recognize that collectively we are in the process of learning and unlearning towards becoming a Feminist Restless, however that looks like in our different contexts. Words have different meanings to different people in different contexts and at Restless Development we want to actively de-mystify and uncomplicate the way we communicate by not using jargon. This is our attempt at sharing the principles that guide us whilst acknowledging that this is a learning process and a journey of collective self reflection that will continue to change as we work to improve and shift power. 

Why Feminism Matters? 

We believe in the collective power of young people to lead change. As part of our Power Shifting commitment, we are feminist, inclusive and anti-racist in our approach. The world is currently facing various inequalities that systematically disadvantage those in the majority world and marginalised communities. We believe in a feminist approach rooted in equality for all, feminist leadership principles, dismantling oppression, sharing power, taking care of each other is the way to deliver the work that we do. 


We are a global agency that works in diverse contexts. This makes our experiences of how we navigate race, culture, and economic status different. This makes us unique and our diversity is our strength. Restless Development takes an intentional approach to recognise our different experiences and actively dismantle our biases. Restless Development takes a community led approach ensuring that those in the frontlines of experiencing inequalities are able to shape the solutions and collaborate with us towards sustainable progress. 

Gender Equality

We believe that in order to achieve sustainable development we have to achieve Gender Equality. We know that bodies, identities, gender and sexualities are subject to discrimination and violation. We empower young people to change attitudes and behaviours to advance and uphold gender equality. Our programs currently include an impact priority area specifically on Gender and Sexual Reproductive Health. Our Diversity, Equality and Inclusion data is monitored quarterly to ensure gender balance in our demographics. We are inclusive and non-discriminatory in our systems and policies especially regarding gender identity. 

Women and Girls in Leadership

We believe that the value of leadership knows no gender bounds. We demonstrate our commitment to fostering Women in Leadership by prioritising women for opportunities of growth. We monitor our commitment and the comparative advantage for Women at Restless Development through International matrices such as the FAIR SHARE index of women leaders. Restless Development currently ranks as number 19 out of 73 organisations with 57% of women in leadership positions. Restless Development has a Co- Leadership model with two CEO’s sharing power collectively and demonstrating Feminist Leadership in practice.

Self Care and Wellbeing

We take the Safety, Wellbeing and Happiness of our people very seriously. As part of our Power Shifting Checklist we are committed to our responsibility of providing and fulfilling a reasonable standard of care to those driving our impact. We recognise the importance of ownership and we incorporate wellbeing goals into our performance goals. We conduct a quarterly Wellbeing Survey to track the overall happiness of our people and constantly work to improve on this. As a global agency working in some instances virtually,  we value connections and creating a sense of belonging for all. We prioritise breaks and a culture of  rest. 

Feminist Youth Civil Society

We believe in Youth Power and a thriving Youth Civil Society where young people are leading change in their communities. More than ever the world needs young people’s power and leadership to solve its greatest challenges. By collaborating with young people and intentionally sharing  power and not taking up space we believe this will truly create the space for listening to the needs of young people to support youth civil society to thrive. As part of our commitment to actively listen and learn through our Youth Led Research we will activate our 2023 State of the Youth Civil Society (Young, Feminist and Fearless: Holding the Line) findings to create change where required. We are committed to not actively competing with youth civil society for resources and advocating for unrestricted grant making. Our Youth Collective is everywhere – taking an intersectional approach to inequality across the world which is inclusive of the different contexts that young people are found.  

This has been written by Yande Kalengo on behalf of the Global Leadership Group. With the introduction of our new programmes focusing on Feminist Foreign Policy, We Lead and Walking the Talk and our latest Annual Leadership Conference taking a Feminist approach. We wanted to develop a position that clearly states our intention to become a Feminist Restless Development. This is an ongoing journey of learning and unlearning.