Restless Development

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Restless Development, is a youth-led development agency, known previously as Students Partnership Worldwide (SPW.) It was founded in 1985, by Jim Cogan OBE. Its mission is to place young people at the forefront of change and development.

Restless Development currently works in India, Nepal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and also has offices in London and New York.

Restless Development works to bring young people to the decision-making table across three areas:

1. Civic participation

2. Livelihoods and Employment

3. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights


Restless Development (then Students Partnership Worldwide - SPW) was founded in 1985 by Jim Cogan OBE, the Deputy Head of Westminster School. It was originally a gap year programme for school leavers from Westminster School to work as supply teachers in India or Zimbabwe.

In 1992 SPW started recruiting local volunteers to make programmes more sustainable. This provided extremely effective and became a hallmark of SPW's work.

Between 1992-2000 new country programmes in Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa were launched and there was an increasing focus on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. From 2000 onwards SPW began to purely use local volunteers to deliver programmes.

Between 2000-2006 new country programmes in Zambia and Sierra Leone were launched. In 2010 SPW re-branded and became Restless Development.

Restless Development today[edit]

Restless Development is driven forward by young people and young professionals around the world. More than 1,000 young men and women, with an average age of 21 years, lead the direct delivery of the programmes in communities across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Around 87% of Restless Development's volunteers are national volunteers volunteering in their own countries.

Restless Development also sends volunteers from the UK abroad to work alongside national volunteers through its flagship International Citizen Service (ICS) programme. ICS is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Restless Development is also part of the Stop AIDS Campaign, and has responsibility for coordinating the Student Stop AIDS Campaign. A significant number of Student Stop AIDS campaigners are former Restless Development volunteers.

  • The agency trains, educates, supports, and inspires young people to lead development in their countries and communities.
  • It helps young people make responsible choices about their health and their livelihoods.
  • It gives young people the skills they need to contribute positively to society.
  • It creates the opportunity for young people to play active roles in policy and decision making.

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