Women Deliver: An Unwavering Advocate for Youth Engagement

Equitable Youth Engagement and Co-Leadership: A guide and call for youth partnership and investment Produced with Women Deliver, February to April 2023

Back in early 2023, Book Sprints joined Women Deliver in a months-long remote Book Sprint process to create Equitable Youth Engagement and Co-Leadership: A guide and call for youth partnership and investment. Over the course of February to April 2023, Women Deliver invited 15 youth leaders from across the globe, including representation from countries across the Global South, to collaboratively write a handbook on youth participation. This handbook was eventually presented at the Women Deliver 2023 Conference in July 2023. Under the facilitation of Karina Piersig, these youth leaders were able to overcome the challenges of remote collaboration and create a piece of work that embodies the very spirit of their collaborative process – an inclusive, participative effort of making youth voices heard in the spaces where they matter. 

Representation in Collaborative Efforts

The goal of the Sprint organizers over at Women Deliver was to ensure that youth voices were well-represented in the creation of this guidebook. They were adamant about taking a step back from the writing and decision-making process to allow the invited authors to take ownership of the work and write about what they, in their experiences as youth leaders, believe was important. It is this admirable effort that enabled the piece to represent not only in content but also in form the spirit of equitable youth engagement and youth empowerment. 

A Unique Sprint Process

This Book Sprint was not your classic Sprint Process. Under the Sprint Lab, Book Sprints constantly works with organizations to find ways to innovate the process to meet their needs. In the case of Women Deliver, the process was adapted to take over a period of roughly a month and a half in a remote setting. 

Working remotely brought its own set of challenges. While most of the authors were either past or current participants of a mentorship program at Women Deliver, they were from all across the globe. These authors were working in different timezones while balancing their commitments as key youth leaders in their communities. There were also frequent connectivity issues, with authors dropping in and out of set collaboration calls mid-sentence. Fortunately, the authors had significant patience and understanding with the remote issues they were all facing and took it in stride. 

For this Sprint, there were three major phases. The first phase was focused on building consensus as a community, characterized by lengthy discussions on the structure, terms to be used, and detailed points of the chapter outlines. The group was excellent at discussion – their leadership backgrounds all afforded them a high awareness of how collaboration works and allowed them to share ownership of the work with everyone participating. They were aware that they had to practice what they preach with writing the book in order for its contents to be truthful and go-to material for youth leaders everywhere. 

The second phase was focused on fleshing out the content and creating a full draft of the manuscript. There was one participant who chose to take ownership of this task and used the detailed bullet points from the productive discussions in phase 1 to write out the manuscript. Check-ins with the group over this month of independent work were a space for this participant to receive constructive feedback, guidance, and consensus on the draft manuscript. 

The third and final phase was focused on collaborative editing and feedback, bringing the group together once again for a final review of the completed manuscript. 

Launch at Women Deliver 2023

The book was launched at the Women Deliver 2023 Conference held in-person in Kigali, Rwanda, as well as virtually, last 17-20 July 2023. As one of the largest multi-sectoral convenings to advance gender equality, WD2023 had the goal of inclusive and co-created spaces that foster solidarity for sustainable solutions on gender equality. The book is also currently housed in a book website created by Book Sprints for Women Deliver, and is available for reading and download here

Keep an eye out for more Sprint updates in the future! Never miss an update with us by following us at the links below. 


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