Youth Excel: Using Feedback to Foster Equity and Collaboration

Dinah SandovalReimagining Projects

The USAID-funded Youth Excel program officially launched last week! Youth Excel will support young leaders and youth-led and youth-serving organizations to conduct implementation research to improve youth programming, build youth networking skills, and generate dialogue between young people and adult decision-makers to shape better policies, programs, and development agendas.

To do this well, Youth Excel aims to foster a safe and equitable space for open dialogue and genuine collaboration. This can be a challenge for a global consortium, made up of local youth-led organizations from the Global South and international youth-serving NGOS from the Global North. This mix can result in power differentials that can be detrimental to honest, equitable, and meaningful collaboration. Youth Excel is determined to mitigate and address power differentials by putting into practice its own system of checks and balances. The Pando Localization Learning System (LLS) will be used to measure equity across leadership, connectivity, mutuality, and finance within the Youth Excel consortium and through its work with Issue-based Collaboration Networks (ICONs) in countries such as Kenya. 

Pando LLS uses feedback surveys and network maps to understand perceptions of programmatic involvement and decision making and visualize relationships, resources, and the flow of information and knowledge within Youth Excel. This data will be analyzed together with consortium members and ICON participants to identify challenges and co-create solutions. Learn more about the Pando LLS approach here. 

The First Feedback Loop

We’re excited to kick off the first Constituent Voice feedback loop with the Youth Excel global consortium the week of May 11 – 14! The Constituent Voice methodology consists of five steps: Design, Collect, Analyze, Dialogue, and Course Correct. 

  • Design: The feedback design was created in consultation with the program lead, IREX, using input from the global consortium.
  • Collect: Feedback will be collected using a short online survey featuring questions related to leadership, mutuality, connectivity, and finance, and demographic questions, which will help us understand how perceptions vary between youth-led and adult-led and local and international organizations.
  • Analysis: We will use the Net Promoter Score approach to analyze quantitative responses. Open text results will be analyzed for themes and key quotes.
  • Dialogue: Survey results will be shared back with participants during a virtual dialogue session on May 27, during which we’ll celebrate what’s working, identify areas for improvement, and begin to co-create solutions. 
  • Course Correct: We’ll work with IREX to identify concrete course corrections resulting from the dialogue and report back to consortium members in June. 

This is just the first in a series of feedback loops and network maps that will allow us to continuously take the pulse of the consortium and regularly evaluate the extent to which Youth Excel is honoring its commitment to working equitably and collaboratively and ensuring that each voice in the consortium feels valued and heard.