“If we unleash the power of young people to change our world, every generation will benefit. There are more young people in the world than ever before, their time to lead is now.”
We work with and up-skill young people around the world so they can solve some of the biggest challenges they face. Whether that means ending child marriage or preventing HIV, we work with young people to change their lives and the lives of people in their communities.
Crucially we listen to young people, and trust them as leaders in any situation.
We support young people in the UK to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in order to take action on the issues that are most important to them. We also do a lot of fundraising, communications and policy work to support our other countries and projects around the world.
My work changes every day, which is what keeps it so interesting. As my role is global, I typically have at least one Skype call per day with one of my colleagues overseas. It’s my job to support our countries to communicate to their audiences well. So on a typical day I could be working on a communications strategy, training staff around the world in something like design, creating briefs for story gathering trips, and on a really good day getting to travel to our projects myself to gather photos, video content and stories about the amazing young people we work with.
Young people must have a voice in the decisions that affect them. Too often they are overlooked in decision making, when they are the ones who will inherit a world shaped by those decisions. In the UK we have definitely seen this happen in the last year, and it’s the same story everywhere.
At Restless Development we believe young people are already mature and ready to lead. They have the professionalism and the passion to really make a difference in their communities. We have seen this tackling child marriage in Nepal, or Ebola in Sierra, and many other cases. Our role is to connect young people with each other, provide skills-based training and support them to influence communities and decision makers around the world.
International Citizen Service ICS is a development programme that brings together young people from the UK and the global south to volunteer in some of the poorest communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. For three months UK volunteers work side-by-side with local volunteers in developing countries, staying with host families in the local community. It’s totally free for the young volunteers who take part. We have been running this programme for many years, but currently it is being reviewed by the UK government so we aren’t selecting any new volunteers at the moment.
There’s a lot for people in the UK to get involved with. We encourage people in the UK to join our Youth Stop AIDS campaign, which is a movement campaigning for a world without AIDS. We have strong partnerships with organisations like the National Citizen Service (the national version of ICS) who offer seasonal staff roles. People can also sign up to our UK newsletter or join our Facebook group for updates and opportunities. Finally, we are always looking for more people to contribute to our We Are Restless blog.
Come to the next Youth Decide event, for updates follow us on @restlessdevUK or follow ourUK Facebook page. Youth Decide is a series of workshops and networking spaces our young volunteers run every couple of months. The theme this time is all about UK AID – what is it and why does it matter? We also have a music gig coming up in September, so follow us on social media or sign up to our newsletter for more on that.
For me music has a lot of different purposes, sometimes I use it for background music when I’m working or at a party. Other times I like to listen to albums all the way through, paying attention the lyrics.
I also like to sing, and have been involved in singing groups in the past. I find it therapeutic to get together with a group of people and sing, it’s a real community feel and you understand music in a totally different way.
I definitely agree – London has everything, but cities like Bristol and Birmingham have their own scenes which are really fun. I try to see live music when I can, from my local pub which has live jazz every Sunday to seeing my favourite artists live. My most recent gig was Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals at Brixton Academy. It was a free gig, so you had to sign up online quickly to get a ticket, Dr. Dre even came out as a surprise act.
I have seen some amazing music coming from the youth cultures in countries where we work. For example India has such a distinct music scene and South Africa has a big hip hop and grime scene. In the UK we draw influence from a lot of these countries for new sounds.
Do you think music is becoming homogenised globally – in other words would you expect to hear the likes of Justin Bieber all over the world – or do you think music is still heavily influenced by the community you’re in?
I live in South London and in my city we have seen the grime scene go mainstream in recent years. It’s a genre led by young people that has been underground for a long time. But now have the likes of Dizzee Rascal, who changed his style to pop to make it big, now switching back to grime. It shows there are always new sounds breaking through from youth culture, even into the mainstream.
There’s a lot of new soulful music coming out too, especially from female vocalists with their own sounds. In London we are are seeing more women taking up leadership roles in the industry which is so important.
Records or CDs? Records – my dad has an impressive collection so they make me feel nostalgic
Downloads or streaming? Streaming
Albums or Singles? Albums
Human or algorithmic curation? Human
Host or Listener? Listener
Play in order or shuffle? Shuffle (unless listening to an album)
Headphones or speakers? Speakers
The Beatles or the Stones, Tupac or Biggie? Tupac
Lead singer, guitarist or drummer? Lead singer
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