Strengthening Youth-Led Movements

The Youth Action Lab is a one year co-creation lab for grassroots youth activists based in the global south which works to support their movements to become more resilient and sustainable in their pursuit of a more equitable world. The Lab is an innovative, safe, active, inclusive, collective, representative and connected space, online and physical for grassroots activists, which thoughtfully considers diverse contexts and ecosystems to better resource them to flourish with their communities.

Participants in the Lab work to build political solidarity and networks, strengthen capacities in engaging with policy processes, and access resources to support their movement. The Lab will act as a hub for testing new ways of working within civil society and mobilizing learnings from across sectors in support of youth-led movements

The Youth Action Lab is a pilot project supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). This initiative is part of CIVICUS Youth and Civil Society Resourcing workstreams to build a more resilient, effective, safe and diverse civil society in the 21st Century

The 2021 Participants

11 young activists from the Global South have been selected to participate in the Youth Action Lab in 2021-2022. The application process is currently closed. Learn more about them below.












Sri Lanka







The 2020 Participants

Collective Care

A big part of how young adults create meaning and safety actions within their activism is related to collective care. This practice acknowledges the importance of creating a balance between the impact you want to generate in the world, your well-being and mental health and how you are part of a larger community. With the support of Keri Caring for Activists, we have developed a library of resources for youth movements to implement in their path to build resilient societies and more robust democracies.

The Challenge

Young people are facing increasing barriers and threats to their activism. Youth-led movements are unable to access sustainable resourcing, lack the technical capacity and networks to engage with political systems, and continue to work in silos, separated from other movements and activists across geographies, movements, and causes.

Often times, these barriers and existing hierarchies in civil society often position youth as foot soldiers and not as change agents. Through extensive research and consultation with stakeholders, CIVICUS has come to understand that designing an alternative resourcing mechanism that centers meaningful youth participation is imperative to achieve a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive civil society. Our solution to the aforementioned problems is launching a Youth Action Lab, an experimentation lab for ten young activists based in the Global South (Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Pacific) that would support them in being more sustainable and resilient in their activism.

How It Works

1. Accessing Resources

The Lab will provide participants with an unrestricted award of up to $5000 USD, access to in-kind support, training and other non-financial resources, as well as capacity strengthening in order to support more sustainable and resilient movements.

2. Developing Strategy

The Lab will provide opportunities for capacity strengthening through peer-to-peer learning, coaching, and skill-building workshops with the aim of supporting youth activists to be more strategic and targeted in their campaigning.

3. Building Alliances

The Lab, through online and regular peer learning sessions, will create spaces for movements and collectives of young people to connect, share experiences, and heal together, in order to build stronger alliances and more connected movements.

Still have questions? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions

Co-designing Solutions

The Youth Co-Design Team, in partnership with CIVICUS Youth, is responsible for designing the Youth Action Lab. It is comprised of nine youth activists from the Global South who started working together in August 2019 following a design thinking methodology and testing different ways of working between individual activists and established international civil society organisations.

The co-design process concluded as of March 2020, after eight months of joint work. Throughout the journey, CIVICUS Youth collected a variety of data about the co-design experience through surveys, reflection discussions, and other means. The report below examines the experiences of  participants  and  staff  throughout  the  co-design journey and aims to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and potential of utilizing co-design methodologies for more inclusive and effective solutions.

YAL Reports

The two cohorts of the Youth Action Lab have been a space for co-creation, rapid iteration and learning. The program insights are valuable for organizations wanting to empower young changemakers. Below are some lessons that organizations can apply to make the youth thrive and empower them to be effective social trailblazers in their communities.

Advisory Group

Our Advisory group leverages their expertise to support the participants of the Youth Action Lab.
The Youth Action Lab is a pilot project supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation