The Education We Want: An Advocacy Toolkit – inspiring young people to effect change through research

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April 19, 2014 by Leigh-Anne Perryman

Some years ago, following a trip to Cambodia, I shared my travel photos with my niece, aged 8 at the time. The photos included one of a little boy living in a cardboard box – a picture that was to have a lasting impact on my niece, who immediately wanted to give away her own bed, full of passion and emotion about the the difference between her comfortable lifestyle and the life of the Cambodian child in the photo.

My niece is now in her mid-teens and has begun studying for her GCSEs – a process that seems to have dulled her spirit. She is disillusioned about her future on leaving school and readily admits that she lacks focus. She finds her studies largely uninspiring. However, I’ve just found something I hope will capture her imagination and revive her flagging motivation – the Education We Want Youth Advocacy Toolkit, developed by the Global Education First Initiative’s Youth Advocacy Group, A World at School and Plan International, with support from UNICEF and UNGEI.

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The Toolkit guides young people through the process of conducting research for change, with a particular emphasis on girls’ education. It combines inspirational stories of young people who have led research for education advocacy with step-by-step guidance on how to put such research into action. Topics covered include:

  • Choosing an area to research;
  • Drafting a research plan;
  • Selecting suitable research methods;
  • Carrying out the research;
  • Lobbying;
  • Campaigning;
  • Mobilising;
  • Disseminating research findings.

The Toolkit is accessible and engaging, giving templates and tools that researchers of any age would find useful. It’s also available as a PDF download if you sign into the host site. It’s not currently CC licensed but I’ve asked the Toolkit developers whether this would be possible.

This video of the launch of the Toolkit gives some sense of its reach and potential impact:

A recent Google Hangout with some of the writers of the Toolkit gives further insight into its development and power as a framework and inspiration for youth advocacy.  Here’s the recording of the Hangout.

Finally, to get a sense of the reactions to the Youth Advocacy Toolkit around the globe, check out the #youthtoolkit hashtag and take a look at the Twitter feeds from some of the people contributing to the discussion.


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Blogging on open educational resources (OER), open educational practices (OEP), educational research methods and online practices in the developing world, and in the voluntary sector.

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