Last year was the first operational year of Taksvärkki’s new four-year program period. We supported the projects of our partner organizations in Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Zambia and Sierra Leone. In Finland, the activities included the Taksvärkki fundraising campaign, global education workshops in schools, Global Citizen’s School activities, the Lukuralli Readathon and the youth advocacy group Challengers.
Taksvärkki’s development cooperation program 2022–2025 promotes meaningful participation of young people in sustainable development. The year 2022 was the first year of the new program period, when the rights of young people, social participation of young people and active citizenship were supported in the program countries and in Finland.
In 2022, Taksvärkki supported the youth work of local SCOs in Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Zambia and Sierra Leone. In addition, preparations for a new project in Mozambique began.
Taksvärkki’s development objectives included deepening the skills of disability inclusion and establishing program-level monitoring, evaluation and learning, as well as risk management for Taksvärkki and its partners. Taksvärkki’s work to promote the inclusion of Persons with Disabilities was recognized in December with the Disability and Development award granted by Disability Partnership Finland.
Development Cooperation in Numbers
In 2022, 3,473 active young people took part in the program, working in their communities through 127 youth groups. Half of the active young people were girls or young women. Of these active young people, 217 or 6% were Persons with Disabilities. 57% of them were girls or young women. At the program level, 8% of the active youth belonged to indigenous peoples or Dalits.
Peer trainings, events and advocacy work carried out by active young people increased other young people’s knowledge and capabilities to promote young people’s rights. A total of 16,510 young people were reached by the activities of active youth. These people were reached through public events and events. Visibility was also gained through radio, television and social media.
A total of 3,814 adults, who were parents and guardians, community leaders, teachers and authorities, participated in the program’s development cooperation projects.
Young people organized 1,343 peer educations or events for other young people in 2022.
The themes of the training were e.g. the rights of girls, the people with disabilities and young people, sexual rights, leadership and advocacy skills. In addition, young people organized a total of 247 campaigns or other activities aimed at communities.
Examples of results from Taksvärkki’s partner countries
In Taksvärkki’s project environments, multi-level changes are brought about, which advance the positive development of the communities’ attitudes and operating models.
“The youth groups have made surveys and considered the problems encountered in the communities, related to the well-being of young people, based on which they have made initiatives for municipal decision-makers or community committees,” says Taksvärkki’s program officer Veera Blomster.
For example, in Guatemala, representatives of the youth group have participated in the working group preparing the municipality’s youth work program and have made various initiatives for local decision-makers and heads of educational institutions. One youth initiative that went through was to organize environmental education and tree planting campaigns in nine local educational institutions. The young people themselves prepared the environmental education workshops organized in schools, and the municipality sponsored the tree seedlings planted in connection with the workshops.
In Kenya, many young people living and working on the street have reduced or stopped using drugs. The safety of several areas has improved through the social change of young people. Young people with disabilities have registered with the authorities and have been eligible for support. Young people have negotiated free access to health services, and more and more young people have received an official identity card.
In Malawi, teenage mothers have continued to study after giving birth. Several school dropouts, such as girls who left child marriages, returned to school. Young persons with disabilities have also returned to school. Young people with disabilities have started farming to support themselves and their families. The accessibility of sexual and reproductive health services for young people has improved. Changes in attitudes have encouraged young people to use the services of the traveling clinics.
In Nepal, young people are campaigning e.g. for menstrual health and against child marriage. The student council of one of the project schools organized a campaign against gender-based violence in cooperation with the police, informing about support and services for victims of violence. The student councils and teachers of the project schools coordinate with the local health authorities and health sector organizations various health counseling themed days and health checks for the schools.
In Sierra Leone, young people organized a campaign in their communities and neighboring villages also for the rights of girls and young women, against teenage pregnancies, child marriages, gender-based violence and genital mutilation. They organized community meetings, theater performances, radio programs, and spoke boldly to parents of teenagers, encouraging them to talk about these issues openly with their children. The young people received encouraging feedback from their parents because they felt the topics were important and learned a new way to think and deal with them instead of keeping silent.
In Zambia, street theater was used to campaign against the discrimination experienced by people with disabilities and to promote the rights of children with disabilities to education. Young people with disabilities played a central role in presentations and information, sharing their experiences with communities, which was an empowering experience for them.
Results of global education
The purpose of Taksvärkki’s global citizenship education is to promote the realization of equality, the basic rights of young people and the sustainable development goals. Taksvärkki’s global citizenship education focuses on critical thinking and examining power structures, as well as the participation and advocacy of young people as active citizens of the world.
In 2022, there was a wide variety of global citizenship education activities in different parts of Finland. A total of 102 workshops were facilitated and 1900 children and young people participated in them. There were 27 volunteer global citizenship educators.
The themes of the workshops were equality and the rights of Persons with Disabilities, children’s rights, advocacy and influencing of young people and critical media education. The workshops schools were able to order were the “Equality – tackle discrimination against the persons with disabilities!” -workshop, Children’s rights workshops, ”Voices of the World” -workshop and “Make a Difference!” -workshop. Both a printed and an online version of the revised Oikeesti! -guidebook on children’s rights were published.
Five schools participated in the Global Citizen School activity last year. During the school year, schools implemented school-specific global education plans, which included projects implemented by students. During the year, Taksvärkki offered workshops, trainings, material and counseling to the Global Citizen Schools in addition to joint meetings.
A total of around 2,000 young people participated in Taksvärkki’s global citizenship education activities and Taksvärkki’s campaigns reached more than 8,000 students. 450 educators participated in Taksvärkki’s global citizenship education trainings.
The schools participated in the Taksvärkki campaign through fundraising and workshops. During the academic year 2021–2022, in the “What is stopping you?” -campaign, young persons with disabilities and non-disabled influencers from Nepal, Malawi, Zambia and Finland shared their opinions on influence and barriers to participation and encouraged young people to intervene in the discrimination faced by Persons with Disabilities.
In the “Who cares?” – campaign for the academic year 2022–2023, young people from Guatemala, Zambia, Nepal and Finland shared their thoughts on making a difference. The campaign encouraged experimenting and finding unique ways to influence things that are important to you.
Young people’s participation and advocacy skills were promoted in the Challengers advocacy group for young people aged 13–18, where the young people planned and implemented two different advocacy projects. In the spring, the theme of migration was discussed through the means of art.