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EMpower and Dasra Announce Partnership to Advance Youth Protagonism in India

Posted 01 April 2022 in EMpower News   |   Share

Moving the Needle: Making A Case For Youth Protagonism | An Overview


COVID-19 has brought into sharper focus the inequalities that confront young people living in underserved communities. Even so, the voices of young people—especially girls—remain absent from conversations that directly affect them—and more importantly in policy and programming dialogues aimed at improving their lives and unlocking their true potential. We believe this is a pivotal moment to build a case for participatory methodologies that are anchored in the wisdom of young people, centring their voices and choices in programme strategy and decision-making.

Upcoming Report

Later this year, EMpower and Dasra will release a report “Moving The Needle: Making the Case for Youth Protagonism,” which will underscore the importance of centring young people. The report will focus on this key question: Why and how should we engage young people in designing the programmes that will impact their lives? This report will be the first of its kind in India and will prominently feature the wisdom and insights of young people, and girls in particular.

What to Expect 

  • Learnings from EMpower, Dasra, and our partners illustrating the benefits and value of participatory approaches, as well as the challenges and possible solutions to mitigate these challenges
  • A description of the current landscape for investing in young people and how we can collaborate to catalyse more resources for participatory methodologies
  • A deep dive into how young voices can be nurtured so they have a “seat at the table” and are in a position to make decisions about programmes that will affect them
  • Suggestions for a way forward to further youth engagement and leadership

About the Dasra-EMpower Partnership

EMpower is one of the co-founders of the With And For Girls collective, a unique collaboration between 11 global funders united by a common belief that girls are agents of change.

Highlights of our work with girls include:

  • The first Adolescent Girls Learning Community, started in Mumbai in 2012, was anchored in the principles of girls’ agency and collective action. Today, the model is being replicated, adapted, and scaled up in other emerging market countries around the world.
  • One of the first initiatives of its kind in India, the Girls Advisory Council comprises 16 girl leaders who represent EMpower grantee partner organisations and advise EMpower on its programmatic work.
  • The COVID: In Her Voice initiative was an entirely girl-led research endeavour that captured the real-time impact of COVID-19 on the lives of adolescent girls in India and included actionable recommendations proposed by them to ensure an inclusive recovery.

EMpower believes there are no greater experts on girls’ lives than girls themselves, which is why we seek to amplify the voices, experiences, and lived realities of girls as protagonists, role models, and future leaders in a manner that is bold, disruptive, and powerful. We bring over 15 years of first-hand experience and technical expertise in successfully conceptualising and implementing youth-led participatory methodologies from the ground up.

Dasra, a strategic philanthropic foundation, has a proven track record in demonstrating participatory approaches through adolescent-focused and -led initiatives.

The 10to19: Dasra Adolescents Collaborative is a multi-stakeholder platform that accelerates participatory feminist approaches by bringing together funders, civil society, and the government to enable adolescents and young people to achieve their full potential. They mobilise private resources and public programmes to drive more equitable practice within existing Indian policies and amplify youth voices and leadership to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Dasra creates sustainable, inclusive pathways for young Indians to share their needs and recommendations with decision-makers and, in turn, receive access to improved public health and other services for a better quality of life.
  • 10to19 is committed to four goals for young people’s holistic wellbeing: completing secondary education, delaying the age of marriage and first pregnancy, and building agency and employability.
  • All of these efforts led 10to19 to develop an adaptable and replicable approach, called the Adolescents-First model, which identifies and adequately involves stakeholders to build demand for and use of adolescent-centric services. 
  • Learn more about Dasra's Ab Meri Baari campaign.

Through this initiative, Dasra and EMpower are issuing a call-to-action to strengthen collaboration among organisations and funders and to raise awareness of the important role that participatory methodologies can play in youth programmes. Together, we can achieve real and lasting positive outcomes for young people, especially girls, in India and beyond.

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