DSA2016: Politics in Development
- Myles Wickstead (King's College London) email
- Edward Francis email
- Carron Basu Ray (Restless Development) email
Youth are a key target for development and a crucial resource in delivering progress towards the SDGs. They can also provide an effective platform to generate research, and with their ability to grasp new ideas and technology they can generate research that appeals to and engages other young people.
Young people, particularly the increased numbers of youth in countries across Africa, represent a key target for the sustainable development goals but also an important resource in delivering progress towards development. In this time of increasing youth populations and unrest across parts of Africa and the Middle East there is a pressing need to find out about the lives of young people and their opinions about the situations they face, both to understand this context better as well as to programme more effectively. Research led by young people can provide an effective space to collect information from and about youth. Young people have particular capacities; local networks, an appreciation of information and mobile technology, willingness to try new ideas, that can generate more dynamic and participatory approaches to doing research, which in themselves appeal to other young people. This, alongside a peer approach to research can lead to in-depth and insightful research results. This panel will share experiences of different research projects that have worked with youth to conduct research in a range of settings, including but not limited to, the Karamojong people in Northern Uganda, globally on conditions of youth policy through the Case4Space project and virtually through skype/whats app to inform a story telling project about the lives of young Zambians. The panel will discuss whether findings have been enhanced by working with young people and to what extent this approach has been able to inform policy and practice
Reflections on young people in Karamoja, Uganda sharing their strength, creativity and livelihoods
In 2011 a group of young Karimojong men and women researched the lives of youth in areas of Karamoja sub-region, Uganda. Restless Development worked with the Pastoralist Communication Initiative and the UK Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on this research. This paper reflects on this work.
"Our research catches people's own voices. We want it to be useful to our people. We researchers come from the community and we ask our own questions and find our own answers. We will take the book back to the community so people can use it. We will call our brothers and sisters, to strengthen our friendship and encourage them that there is something to be done." In late 2011 a group of young Karimojong men and women researched the lives of young people living in Moroto and Napak Districts of Karamoja sub-region, Uganda. The team then shared their findings in an illustrated book "Strength, Creativity and Livelihoods of Karimojong Youth". Ninety young people volunteered and 13 were selected and spent time learning about the principles of action research before designing their own research process. After conducting 378 interviews with over 500 people and taking hundreds of photographs, the research team analysed their findings and developed their book.
The book uncovers the harshness of the work many young people are doing in Karamoja and highlights the great strength of the young Karimojong.
For Restless Development, it offers knowledge that can strengthen our programming and advocacy work in Karamoja and beyond. This paper reflects on this further.
Restless Development worked with the Pastoralist Communication Initiative (PCI) and the UK Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on this research. PCI trained the research team and facilitated the process with advisory support from IDS. UNFPA and DFID funded the research.
Young people in the lead: Global Young Researchers designing, implementing, and analysing their own research in local contexts, as part of a global research project
Young people in the lead: Global Young Researchers designing, implementing, and analysing their own research in local contexts, as part of a global advocacy-oriented research project on the enabling environment for child and youth development in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
From Rhetoric to Action: Towards an Enabling Environment for Child and Youth Development in the Sustainable Development Goals is a report that investigates current conditions for young people at the beginning of the new global development agenda, including "Considerations for Action". The research aimed to achieve a balance between understanding global trends in child and youth development, and capturing the experiences and voices of young people and those who work with them at the local level. It did this by using a youth-led participatory approach as the centerpiece of the research, alongside a global survey, and case studies on children and youth organisations.
18 Global Young Researchers took the lead in designing, undertaking and analysing a research topic of their choice relating to the thematic focuses of participation, protection or livelihoods. This paper explores this youth-led participatory research process within the context of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and its conceptualisations in recent literature. It critically reflects on the youth-led research component of From Rhetoric to Action, providing lessons learned for future projects, and provides insights on the PAR methodology when scaled up for the purposes of global research.
Using participatory group workshops to explore structural processes of poverty with rural youth in Malawi and Lesotho
This paper examines research into the impacts of social cash transfers on rural youth in Malawi and Lesotho which involves young people directly in analysing the processes that produce and perpetuate poverty in their communities, and the role of such research in informing policy and practice.
This paper is based upon plans for research that will be undertaken as part of a project exploring the impacts of social cash transfers (such as child grants and old age pensions) on relations of age, gender and generation, focusing in particular on the effects on young adults in rural Malawi and Lesotho. The research begins with interviews with young people who participated in a previous project, to explore how their lives have changed over the intervening eight years. The second stage - the focus of this paper - will involve the same young people in participatory workshops in which they explore the processes that produce and perpetuate poverty in their communities, and how social cash transfers intervene in these. The workshop activities will be based on Freirean pedagogy and developed in discussion between the researchers and the participants. Techniques such as drawing, diagramming, drama and participatory video will involve young people in the identification and analysis of structural relations, stimulating critical analysis and active co-learning. The workshops will develop messages to put to policy makers with a view to communicating not only young people's experiences of poverty and social policy, but also their analyses of their situations. The paper will focus on the rationale for this approach, how it has been developed from previous efforts at enabling young research participants' voices to be heard in policy arenas, and the anticipated challenges.
The Story Project; sharing experiences of youth-centred research
The Story Project focuses on the lives of eight Zambians - all of whom are in their mid twenties to early thirties - to look back with them at the period of their lives when they were considered to be a youth and provide space for them to tell their story using a combination of methods and approaches.
This is a study of the stories of eight Zambians - all in their mid twenties to early thirties - reflecting back on their experiences as a young person. The research represents an engaging platform to learn about the lives of young people and it also provides the opportunity to learn more about doing research with young people and designing research that appeals to them. The study was in-depth and centred around story telling and participatory methods such as timelines, network and livelihood mapping and self-directed photography. Underpinning the implementation of the research was technology and social media. The aim was to provide a foundation for people to tell the stories of their youth; the key events and things in their lives, how their livelihoods and careers developed, who the key people are, the decisions they have made and what change they want to see in their community and their role in that. The research will be disseminated to organisations working in the youth sector - both internationally and in Zambia. Strategies for knowledge dissemination were part of the thinking and planning for this research from the start to try and ensure uptake of the lessons learnt from doing the research as well as the outcomes of the research.