Youth-led Research

Young people using insights to drive change

Through our youth-led research approach, we partner with young people to capture key insights on the issues that matter most to them. We strive to make research accessible to diverse young people and actionable for decision-makers.

For us, youth-led research is not just about ensuring meaningful youth engagement in everything we do. It is not just about ensuring youth insights are captured by those best positioned to do so – their peers. It is also fundamentally about shifting power, posing: Who is an ‘expert’? Who owns knowledge? Who gets to generate knowledge?

Youth Think Tank young researchers

We listen to young people

Through our growing investment in research, we value listening to lived experience and needs of the young people we support. Through our youth-led research approach, we listen to the expertise and insight of their peers, whom we engage as partner researchers. Our approach seeks to maximise their leadership at every stage of the research process.

Supporting young people to conduct research is about more than just the leadership journey it affords them. Meaningfully engaging young people in research enhances the relevance and accuracy of the insights we generate. We believe that youth leadership in research means we:

Ask better questions.

Because we ensure that we ask the right questions – those that are relevant to young people’s priorities.

Capture better data.

Because young researchers can develop a deeper rapport with their peers, gaining richer access to their lived experience.

Generate better insights.

Because young people can identify findings where we have ‘blind spots’ and miss nuance in our data.

200
young researchers
9
current projects

Meet the researchers

We work with hundreds of young researchers on a variety of projects across Africa and Asia. Here is what some of them have to say about their experiences in research, and why it is important that youth research be led by young people.

Investigating my generation’s issues as a young researcher has enabled me to become a leader, inspiring others

Ziyad, 25, Iraq

No one else knows more about youth issues and how to solve them than young people ourselves. We are the experts.

Mialy, 24, Madagascar

Youth-led research has a special value because we’re interacting with our fellow young people – we know how to interact

Emmanuel, 23, Uganda

Participating in research on young people’s employment has given me the confidence to see myself as a contributor to job creation, not just as a job-seeker

Dzidzor, 23, Ghana

Leading research has fueled an interest in me to broaden policy-maker’s lenses, to build thriving youthful communities

Isaac, 22, Kenya

By involving young people in research, we can bring out different perspectives on the issues that matter to us

Grace, 24, Zambia

These are the countries where we have long-term investments, working with multiple researchers. However, we also have current researchers and alumni in over 10 additional countries. 

What are they working on? 

We don’t conduct just any research. We are guided by the priorities of young people and by the unanswered questions that arise from the previous work we’ve done. In doing so, we are curating a growing evidence base, constantly driven by digging deeper into the issues we are investigating and generating more detailed insights. 

With a rich portfolio, we can’t capture all of our insights here. However, these are the questions that our researchers are asking now: 

Growing Youth-Led Businesses: 

What support do African youth-led small businesses need to expand such that they can employ others?

What barriers do they face to optimizing their businesses, and what solutions have they identified to get around these barriers?

Strengthening Youth Civil Society:

What support do youth-led civil society organisations need to achieve their strategic ambitions?

What is the long-term impact of the crisis on youth civil society’s resilience?

Capturing the Local Impact of Climate Change:

How have the livelihoods of young people in peri-urban and rural areas of Uganda been impacted by climate change? What aspects of their experience are missing from the global conversation?

Supporting Young People’s Resilience to COVID-19: 

How are diverse groups of young people being uniquely affected by COVID-19 and its ongoing, realtime impacts? How are individual young people coping, adapting, and responding to these impacts?

Watch this space and see what they learn!

Through our youth-led research, we are establishing a generation of thought leaders

At Restless Development, we do not conduct research for intellectual curiosity. We judge the success of our research on how well our findings are used. We use the evidence we generate in 3 ways: to inform the programmes we design; to influence development policy and practice; and to broaden perspectives on the role young people can play in local, national, regional, and international decision-making spaces.

“Our research on young people’s adoption of agricultural technology identified those in rural communities lack information on available technologies because it is shared on the wrong channels. We are working with an agribusiness incubator in Uganda on a plan to change that.”  Winnie 24, Uganda

We support our young researchers to use the transferable skills they learn through research through their careers. We use their findings to influence our programmes and others work. We convene our network of alumni researchers to share news and opportunities.

Our research projects & reports

These are just some of the projects our young researchers are working on around the world.

Let’s talk

Want to find out more? Interested to know how you can work with talented young researchers? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us at research@restlessdevelopment.org