Our team has welcomed being funded by the joint ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation as it supports academics to work with national NGOs and universities, facilitating partnerships that help feed research evidence into changing policy and practice. Our Youth Uncertainty Rights Research – YOUR World Research – has co-constructed a youth-centred qualitative methodology with national researchers and the young people we work with. By carrying out 250 detailed case studies in each country and working with over 1000 youth overall, we are gaining a better understanding of youth complex experiences of poverty and marginalisation and how informal community and peer networks, non-government and government organisation can support them towards better futures.
In Nepal the YOUR World Research works in partnership with ActionAid Nepal, who are already adopting innovative intervention strategies based on new findings from the research and plan to build up their youth programmes across Nepal using evidence from the project. The research team presented findings at an ActionAid `Program Reflection and Learning Meeting’ (PRLM) in July 2017. Commitment to contined partnership and influence of research into policy and practice has been confirmed by the first female Executive Director of ActionAid Nepal (April 2018). They are continuing to meet the national team to develop and revise pro-poor policies to support marginalised young people to access quality public services include vocational and technical education, girl’s education programs, youth information centres, local employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Community based partnerships include: the Community Self Reliance Center (CSRC) in Sindhupalchwok; Sahaj Nepal in Kapilvastu; HomeNet Nepal (HNN), Nepal Mahila Ekata Samaj (NMES), Child Watawaran Centre Nepal (CWCN), Nepal Disabled Association (NDA) and Blue Diamond Society (BDS) in Kathmandu.
These partnerships were established during construction of research methodology, and to enable data collection. This engagement with organisations has had multiple effects on their policies and programs. For example, HomeNet Nepal changed their organisational strategy to include youth related targets and programs. It is now supporting youth to access public services: for example, young people who live and work in street situations in Kathmandu organised themselves into child/youth clubs and demanded services from local governments. Similarly, CSRC, NDA and NMES now want to work with marginalised communities to address problems raised through the research.
National partnerships are also being developed with national policy makers such as the under-secretary of Ministry of Youth and Sports and with the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB). Research team members have been requested to support the CCWB, for example in technical assistance provided to CCWB to monitor implementation of a project related to building resilience of children and family. Support has also been provided to regional government policy makers; for example the chair of Helambu Rural Municipality in Sindhupalchwok and Mayor of Shivaraj Municipality in Kapilvastu, providing information on young people's situations.
The partnership established with Tribhuvan University has also benefitted both sides. The university has provided academic advice to the project team. Our university partner there, the Research Centre for Educational Innovation and Development (CERID) of Tribhuvan University, is working with the team and ActionAid Nepal to create a forum for academics and practitioners to meet and discuss issues related to youth uncertainty rights. The seminar series will create and enhance a network for exchange of information and experience among academics, practitioners, policy makers and thinkers on youth and uncertainty.
In Ethiopia, YOUR World Research is carrying out our research in partnership the national children’s charity, CHADET, working to improve the livelihoods of children in the country since 1995. This partnership has mutual benefit. YOUR World researchers get support from CHADET in selecting research sites and accessing the most fragile areas and marginalised young people. CHADET staff not only facilitate the team to work with local administrators and the community members, but also provide as part of our ethical protocols, signposting of particularly vulnerable participants to appropriate youth friendly support services. CHADET is also utilising emerging findings in their ongoing DFID funded programme of intervention to increase access to education for thousands of girls living in poverty, and is planning to develop a new youth programme of intervention based on the findings. Rather than only finding formal education solutions for the most marginalised youth, YOUR World Research is gaining a better understanding of youth strategies at times of uncertainty, to address risky migration and support different forms of learning and enterprise activities.
In addition, the YOUR World Research team works in collaboration with Addis Ababa University, Ministry of Youth and Sport, Ministry of Women and Children, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) agency, Retrack Ethiopia and Mothers Children Multispectral Development Organization (MCMDO). YOUR World Research team are collaborating with Addis Ababa University to follow national as well as international research protocols for working with children and youth and the National Lead for YOUR World Research, linked the Department of Social Work and working closely with the Department of Anthropology is organising postgraduate workshops on the ethnographic and participatory research methods employed in YOUR World Research. The team are not only participating in forums to feed research into policy and practice, but are also planning new platforms and initiatives, including a national youth seminar and an ongoing research into practice seminar series with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and TVET. These will link up academics, practitioners, policy makers and researchers to meet and discuss their experiences and findings to support marginalised youth to find pathways out of poverty.