Non-formal education for youth-led change



Partners and collaborators

British Council

Postgraduate students

Iman Federico-Awi


This AHRC Follow-on-Funding project will develop new pathways to impact by directly shaping the development of new and future Non-Formal Education (NFE) programmes, working in particular with the British Council and their Youth Connect programmes. Ultimately, this project will enhance understanding of the importance of different forms of learning for youth empowerment, and in the long term, seeks to contribute to creating effective spaces for the expression of youth voice and youth-led social change.

NFE for youth-led change will incorporate insights and knowledge gained from the AHRC-funded project 'Changing the Story' (CTS) into a fresh set of NFE programmes being developed by the British Council. CTS ran 30 projects, in 12 conflict-affected contexts, with the aim of CTS evaluating present and informing future practice of civil society organisations working with young people in these settings to build strong institutions that could support communities to deliver sustained social justice. The project demonstrated the role that NFE can play in promoting transrational and affective learning, which takes into consideration the emotional, the embodied and the affective. This opened the potential to politically empower young people to contribute to societal change and peacebuilding.


Non-formal education for youth-led change aims to build on the research findings from CTS, by creatively and systematically engaging with new projects and audiences. It seeks to promote stakeholder engagement in educating youth by collaborating with researchers, colleagues from the British Council, and partner organizations to enhance educational programming for new NFE initiatives led by the British Council. This project aims to establish an evidence base regarding the role of NFE in contributing to youth-led social change. The findings will inform the creation of a project report for future international NFE programming. Furthermore, the project aims to impact programming and policy through knowledge exchange workshops and feasibility studies that examine the potential of diverse pedagogical approaches in non-formal education in contributing to civil society building and promoting youth-led social change.

Outline of project

  1. Two knowledge exchange workshops will be held for this project. The first workshop will assess teaching methods and outcomes in pilot projects with YSLPP programs, while the second workshop will focus on discussing NFE's potential for empowering youth-led change through varied learning approaches with a larger group. Insights gathered from these workshops will contribute to the development of a manual and guide future programming by the British Council beyond the project timeline. Following these workshops, participants will fill out a feedback form aimed at assessing their effectiveness in facilitating knowledge exchange and engagement for tracking impact as well as informing stakeholder conferences.
  2. Feasibility studies will be conducted in Bangladesh and Ethiopia to explore the representation of various forms of learning and their impact on youth empowerment, peacebuilding, and social change. In-country researchers will perform the studies by observing programme activities and conducting interviews with young participants and programme teams over a two-week period. The results from these feasibility studies will guide future NFE programming by the British Council.
  3. The "NFE for youth-led change" report will be developed based on the knowledge exchange workshops and feasibility studies. It will explore the role of NFE in empowering youth, contributing to peacebuilding, and promoting youth-led social change. The report will also address the challenges and potential drawbacks of NFE with young people in various contexts. This resource is intended for use by the British Council to inform their future programming, share with partners working in NFE, and make it available online through both the British Council website and the University of Leeds platform
  4. An online stakeholder conference is scheduled for November 2024 to share the project's findings and explore their broader significance. The conference will be attended by colleagues involved in British Council NFE programming, program partners, as well as policymakers from various organizations. This event aims to promote wider engagement with the project outcomes within and outside of the British Council to ensure sustained impact beyond the project's duration. Attendees will be requested to complete a feedback survey assessing the conference's effectiveness in achieving its objectives and identifying potential long-term impacts of the project.
  5. To impact policy by demonstrating the importance of various forms of learning for youth empowerment and youth-led social change, as well as to build organizations' capacity to realize the potential of NFE and enhance the research capacity of the team.


  • Programmatic - integrating the original project’s research findings into the development of new programmes with young people;
  • Community - creating spaces and opportunities for youth-centred approaches to civil society building, and youth-led change for socially just societies;
  • Organisational - integrating understandings of the different forms of learning enabled by NFE into future British Council programmes; and
  • Policy - furthering the evidence base for the role of NFE in peacebuilding and engaging with policymakers at the local, national and regional level.