Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

Barack Obama

Dr Brown, one of Chidi’s volunteers and a retired headmistress, spoke to Chidi after the cooking session. 

“The girls weren’t paying attention today. They weren’t interested at all. They were badly behaved and Malaika left half way through. Girls these days are just not respectful. I despair for their futures.”

Chidi agreed. They had been very difficult, and even rude. She suggested that they look at the girls’ evaluation forms together. Most of the girls hadn’t written much, but one girl, who hadn’t put her name, wrote:

“Today’s activity wasn’t very useful. We don’t have a refrigerator at home so we can’t make gelatine sets. Also, Malaika is a Muslim and the gelatine isn’t halal.” 

Suddenly it all made sense. Many of the girls were learning these recipes so they could make them at home and sell them. She had thought that they would be really excited to learn to make something unusual, like chocolate mousse made with gelatine. She had spent a long time finding gelatine as it wasn’t easily available. If she had only stuck to a better-known recipe she would have saved time and the girls would’ve been more enthusiastic. She had been a victim of her own enthusiasm!

However, we should always get feedback because it is always worthwhile. We might choose:

  • Evaluation forms, which could be paper or digital.
  • Oral feedback – for example asking girls what they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy, or what they learned, following a workshop. 
  • Workshop leaders writing up which activities worked well, and which worked less well, and sharing this with the team.
  • Anonymous feedback box. 
  • Termly reviews.

Making sure every young women and youth worker is heard

Not everyone feels confident speaking up in front of others or giving feedback directly. A young woman who respects her elders may have something important to say but might fear saying it because it could be disrespectful. Or she may be embarrassed to share an idea with her peers at the youth club. It is important to use various methods and to ensure that girls and team members know that their ideas are welcome. 

Another thing to consider is how to include feedback from women and girls with low literacy or disabilities. Anyone could have an idea to improve your work and make it more engaging.

Reflection Questions

  1. How do you currently collect feedback from young people and youth workers in your team (including volunteers?)
  2. How do you ensure everyone’s voice is heard in your youth work?
  3. How do you analyse what they tell you?
  4. How do you share learning from this feedback with the youth club’s team?
  5. What have you learnt recently from this feedback that has helped you to do things better and more easily?
  6. How can you improve this so that your youth programme achieves even more?

You might also be interested in 

Asking good questions | The Centre for Youth Impact (

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