A Network-Powered Happenstance For Feminist Futures

A world where gender equality is a reality is one part of the future that young people want to see. The full picture is laid out in Plan International’s recently published Girls’ Pact for the Future, which came from the minds of adolescent girls and young people from 35 countries, and offers concrete recommendations and requests to world leaders attending the UN Summit of the Future in September.

NGFP 2023 Fellow Thays Prado played an instrumental role in supporting the development of the Pact. She designed and conducted futures methods workshops with girls and young people to equip them to write it, suggest recommendations and create requests for policymakers.

Recently, Thays was able to accompany the Plan International team in Nairobi during the UN Civil Society Conference, where she met two of the participating girls in person. 

Thays came across this project thanks to a network-powered happenstance, when an NGFP and Dubai Future Foundation partnership sponsored 20 Next Generation Foresight Practitioners to attend the 2023 Dubai Future Forum. During a workshop run by UNICEF there, Thays showcased and brainstormed an idea to elevate the voices of adolescent girls and young people to influence the UN Summit of the Future. 

A couple of months later, Thays was approached to design and conduct futures methods workshops when Plan International and UNICEF became concerned that the Pact for the Future, the Declaration on Future Generations, and the Digital Global Compact didn’t mention adolescent girls’ specific needs and priorities. 

Thays leaned on the power of the collaborative NGFP network, seeking the expertise and support of her 2023 Fellowship cohort and beyond. For example, NGFPers Abril Chimal and Fisayo Oyewale co-facilitated the Plan International workshops with her.

“Not only was the opportunity to be in Dubai essential for me to secure this consultancy project, but I also counted on the wonderful expertise of my mentor, Ivana Milojévic, three members of the NGFP Sensing Network, and fellows from previous years—Abril Chimal, Finn Strivens, and Kushal Sohal—to get extremely useful feedback that helped me significantly strengthen my workshop design and facilitation.” 

“Our 2023 NGFP Cohort WhatsApp group was also an invaluable source to test some ideas and ask for last-minute advice on small challenges that emerged prior to the workshops.”

Thays’ work led to the publication of the Pact and a report titled Our Voices for Our Tomorrow, which lays out the process of creating the Pact. It included a survey of 100 adolescent girls and young people from all continents prior to the workshops. They were asked about the changes happening in their cities, countries, and the world that make them either worried or hopeful about the future of gender equality.

The most common responses were then used in Futures Wheels during the workshops so that participants could reflect on the implications of current changes for the future of gender equality and girls’ rights. These Futures Wheels were then transformed into two scenarios that reveal how much the world is at a crossroads when it comes to gender equality. 

Thays used one of her Feminist Futures guided meditations to help participants envision their most desirable future. They then produced beautiful visual boards with their hopes and dreams for 2054. Through Backcasting, they also created a series of actions that need to be done in the next 30 years for their desirable future to come true.  

Thays’ work beyond this Pact can be found through Feminist Futures’ website, LinkedIn and Instagram. To collaborate or support her work, contact her to join her monthly series of workshops titled “The Feminist Futures of.”