The World YWCA model for leadership & advocacy known as Rise Up! supports young women and their allies to build individual and collective capabilities to affect change in their communities and provide the platform for young women to connect and mobilise. Naomi Woyengu, our regional coordinator, gives you an overview on the process and where we are as of Jan 2020!

RiseUp! was developed with the support of the Australian government in Asia and Pacific. With the support, since 2011, RiseUp! has been implemented in a number of countries. Since April 2019 and until March 2020, the academic research and field learnings and findings to date have been used to:

  1. share Rise Up! as a tool and a practical implementation example that can be used widely across the YWCA movement for leadership development work.
  2. put in place regional coordination, and renew and refine the engagement of young women, YWCAs and allies to have fit-for-purpose and adaptive approaches that are jointly owned and implemented.
  3. develop the MEL (Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning) Framework to reflect 1 and 2 and work on the evolution of Rise Up! in a feminist participatory process.

Information and actions on point 1 and 2 were integrated and shared during the World Council. As we work on implementing the Strategic Framework and Work Plan approved during the World Council, further updates will follow. However, on point 3, below are the recent updates.

The RiseUp! programme has generated a breadth of experience and knowledge around young women’s leadership. The former young women coordinators of the World YWCA’s Young Women’s Leadership-RiseUp! programme and research partners from the Monash University made several recommendations for the next RiseUp! stages. Building on these recommendations, a MEL co-design workshop was held in Thailand in September of 2019 to review the previous Young Women’s Leadership-RiseUp! MEL toolkit and to create a new and revised Feminist MEL Framework.

The team that reviewed and co-designed the Feminist MEL includes; 7 former young women coordinators of the Asia and Pacific implementing countries from Phase 3 , two external MEL experts and the World YWCA staff.  Through a consultative process, the team, with the former young women coordinators reviewed and developed:

  1. A new MEL Framework.
  2. Identified and incorporated 12 feminist principles to guide the MEL.
  3. A refined and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based) impact statement.
  4. Four (4) new but SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based) pillars to track progress.
  5. Identified 10 new research tools that are easy and adaptable in various country contexts.
  6. Progress markers to enable users of the MEL toolkit to track against the four impact areas.

As a part of the consultative process, after the workshop there was an ongoing discussion from September to November between the consultants and the young women to ensure that the MEL Framework is reflective and relevant to the young women and their country contexts. The young women were also given a survey of the 10 research tools to see which were more relevant, inclusive and easy to adapt and contextualize.
These discussions led to an in person workshop held in South Africa the day after World Council with the Presidents, General Secretaries and young women of the implementing countries that were part of the 2015-2018  DFAT funded phase of work. In that workshop the progress of the draft MEL Framework was reviewed with inputs being provided by the respective countries. All the feedback from that workshop was collated and incorporated into the MEL Framework.

In order to make this process of co-design inclusive and collaborative, all stakeholders in the design were engaged and consulted, from the former young women coordinators to the Presidents and General Secretaries of the member associations of the implementing countries, until a final meeting with the World YWCA.

In the last week of December 2019, there was a final workshop with the World YWCA Global Programming and Impact Team. The purpose was do a final review of the draft MEL Framework and to go through every aspect of the Framework, taking into consideration the feedback given by the former young women coordinators from their workshop in September and that of the Presidents and General Secretaries and other key representatives of the implementing countries in Asia and Pacific who were engaged in the November workshop right after Council.

During the December workshop in Geneva, a full review of the framework also allowed World YWCA to provide input.

The entire process showed the importance of collaboration and consultation with young women that have been in the field through their member associations. This includes facilitating interactions and spaces for young women to work as peers and contribute both as individuals and as a group. This process acknowledged from the beginning that young women are the knowledge holders of RiseUp! and their experiences and learnings are key to growth of the programme. When consultative processes start from bottom up and are inclusive and collective the results are astounding and truly reflective of the reality of the situation.


For more pictures click here.


Naomi Woyengu, World YWCA Rise Up! Regional Coordinator

Connect with her :


Twitter : @WoyenguNaomi