Repeat after me: We need equitable partnerships for youth-friendly funding!
By Hilal Tekmen, Resource Mobilization Officer
International Youth Day (IYD) 2022 calls for intergenerational solidarity to strengthen and leverage every generations’ strengths and knowledge. On this IYD, we celebrate youth-adult partnerships which offer young people and adults the opportunity to share knowledge, collaborate, and share decisions!
Age-based bias and discrimination manifest in various aspects of the development field, as young people are usually seen as too incompetent to be taken as equal partners by adult-led organizations (donors & iNGOs). Partnerships among youth-led organizations or youth groups, donors and iNGOs therefore remain unequal, reinforcing power imbalances. One of the major spaces where we observe these imbalances is the funding ecosystem for youth work – especially when it comes to resourcing young feminists!
Young people around the world don’t have access to donor funds, let alone working in partnership with donors on how grants would be spent, how partnership agreements would look like, how reporting templates are formed, and more. What we need is a drastic shift in the funding streams of donors – transforming how decisions on funds are made, how funds are distributed, and how relationships between youth and adult-led funders are shaped. Donors (and iNGOs as intermediaries) are disconnected from youth’s realities and what they actually do on the ground. We want truly collaborative partnerships where donors practice intentional and responsive grantmaking to youth needs and experiences.
CHOICE is committed to amplifying youth voices in advocating for increased and accessible funding for youth-led organizations, groups and movements. This is how we define ‘youth-friendly funding’. We published our Investing in Youth Impact Toolkit on funding for youth-led organizations in 2019, which has been used widely by both youth-led organizations and donors to better understand the challenges and needs youth face. In addition, CHOICE currently serves as one of the co-leads of the We Trust You(th) Initiative with four other youth-led organizations (Copper Rose Zambia, ¿Y Yo Por Qué No?, Green Girls Platform, IYAFP) with the startup funds by FP2030/United Nations Foundation. We challenge and support youth-focused donors and iNGOs to partner and fund young people more intentionally and equitably. Check out our resources on capacity building, models of partnership, and collaborative relationships between youth and adult-led organizations!
1) Read more about youth-adult partnerships on YOU(TH) DO IT!: https://www.youthdoit.org/themes/meaningful-youth-participation/young-adult-partnership/