Taksvärkki’s development cooperation programme aims at meaningful youth participation for a sustainable and equitable world
The objective of Taksvärkki’s (ODW Finland) development cooperation programme is to promote youth rights and the participation of youth in society as well as active citizenship in Finland and the countries involved in the programme. During the programme period 2022–2025, Taksvärkki will operate in Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and Zambia. In Taksvärkki’s programme, among other things, more than 2000 vulnerable youth are trained in human rights, life-skills and livelihoods each year.
The common objective of all programme partners is to empower youth, promote youth participation in society and defend youth rights. Direct support to non-governmental organizations in developing countries strengthens the local civil society and increases the space for civil society actors to participate in decision making that affects them.
Global citizenship education and development communications are also key elements of the Taksvärkki’s development cooperation programme. The programme aims to increase the capabilities of Finnish youth to take action in the global framework, and to promote solidarity. In Finland, global citizenship education and development communications are being carried out nationally and both in Finnish and Swedish.
The development cooperation programme 2022–2025 describes more specifically the principals and goals of Taksvärkki’s activities. Programme is funded by programme support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Child clubs, youth councils and youth groups. ODW Finland (Taksvärkki) has 6 development cooperation projects and partner organizations.
The objective of all of Taksvärkki’s (ODW Finland) program partners is to defend the human rights of young people and to strengthen their social inclusion. Youth should be seen as active changemakers in their communities and in their own lives. In all of Taksvärkki’s program countries, more than half of the population is made up of children and youth. The work of Taksvärkki and its partners focuses on the most vulnerable youth so that their dreams for the future can come true. The youth at the heart of the projects, who face the most challenges in their lives, are girls who have dropped out of school, youth living on the streets and schoolchildren in remote villages.
There is a lot of potential in youth. Taksvärkki’s projects train youth on human rights, advocacy, life management skills and livelihoods, while developing the youth’s self-confidence and argumentation skills. Central to this is the ability and motivation of youth to demand the realization of human rights. As talents and skills accumulate, youth themselves organize events to develop their communities and act as peer educators and role models.
Gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women are key objectives in Taksvärkki ry’s development cooperation programme. More than half of the young people who have participated in the programme’s activities and of the youth who are active in project activities are girls or young women.
The work to improve disability inclusion focuses on the expertise, capacity, tools and operating methods of Taksvärkki and its partners. The staff and key stakeholders of Taksvärkki and all its partner organizations have been trained in disability issues. The trainers are activists in local disability organizations. The expertise of local disability organizations has been utilized in the preparation and monitoring of new projects and in the development of disability inclusion development plans or equality strategies by partner organizations.
Development Cooperation Projects
Taksvärkki has implemented development cooperation projects since 1967. The funds required have come from our own fundraising efforts and from project support granted by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
We currently have projects in Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Zambia. Below you can find descriptions of each project.
Our earlier projects have included e.g. supporting street children in Kenya, improving the status of young indigenous people in Bolivia, providing vocational training for youth in Mozambique, teaching young people to read and write in Madagascar, preventing child sexual abuse in Guatemala, and supporting the victims of trafficking in children in Cambodia.
In Guatemala, Taksvärkki and its partner Programa de Atención, Movilización e Incidencia por la Niñez y Adolescencia PAMI promote the inclusion and opportunities of young people.
The project will increase young people’s knowledge and skills related to human rights and civic engagement, as well as young people’s participation in municipal decision-making. In the project locations, the channels of influence of youth in schools and communities are increased. At the same time, the human rights basis of local government programs, especially youth policy, will be strengthened. The aim is to get youth and adults to work together for the rights of children and young people. Taksvärkki’s project creates a society that is open and non-discriminatory for everyone.
In Kenya our project is being implemented by Undugu Society of Kenya. The aim is to promote socio-economic empowerment of vulnerable children and youth living on the streets. Undugu has created a method that aims at transforming the existing groupings of street children and youth into responsible individuals and organize their groups into formal structures. In the associations, individuals can get peer support, learn a profession and earn money with their work.
The final evaluation for the Kenya project was completed in autumn 2019.
In Malawi, Taksvärkki promotes the empowerment of young women and girls and their right to education. Our partner in Malawi is Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education CYECE. The project is being implemented in the Salima area of Malawi and specifically targets girls and young women aged 10–24.
The overall goal of the project is to increase girls’ decision-making power in matters related to education, sexuality, sexual and reproductive rights and health. In addition, the project is working to eliminate harmful traditional and cultural practices in communities. In this way, the rights of girls can be realized holistically. The project will also strengthen the expertise of the stakeholders for girls’ rights and support for schooling.
In Nepal, Taksvärkki develops village schools by supporting student council activities and strengthening cooperation between student councils and other school actors to improve learning environments. Our partner in Nepal is Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness ECCA. The aim is to increase opportunities for young people to participate in the development of their own school environment and communities.
Through the trainings young people learn important skills in student council activities and advocacy, as well as knowledge about the importance of clean water, hygiene and the environment for one’s well-being. Youth promote equality in their communities. They share information and break taboos.
The mid-term evaluation of the Nepal project was completed in autumn 2018.
Our project in Sierra Leone aims to give youth a stronger voice by developing their communities and society in general. The project launched in 2019 will continue to work to promote the realization of human rights and social inclusion of Sierra Leonean youth. Our partner in Sierra Leone is Centre for Coordination of Youth Activities CCYA.
The project empowers and encourages members of youth groups and young female farmers’ groups, as well as young people with disabilities, to demand the realization of human rights, especially in matters of decision-making, education, integrity and livelihoods. The project also aims to influence decision-making at a national level on youth, education, gender and disability issues.
The mid-term evaluation of the Sierra Leone project was completed in November 2021.
Our aim is to give youth in Zambia a stronger voice in developing their communities and society in general. Our local partner organization Barefeet Theatre in is in charge of the practical implementation of the project in Zambia.
The project focuses on improving the self-esteem of children and youth and providing them with training in life management and citizenship skills. Barefeet Children’s Council provides a support network for youth through which they can make a broad impact on the challenges facing children and young people in Zambia. Central to the work is the focus on the most vulnerable, such as girls, people with disabilities and children and young people living on the streets.