NAYO Participatory Methods (TOOLS)

Youth Development Model (YDM)

NAYO’s focus is to respond to the problems that Zimbabwean youth face on a day to day basis. NAYO takes the definition of Youth from the AU -African Youth Charter and the Zimbabwean Constitution, which defines this age group as between 15 and 35. In Zimbabwe, the youth constitute over 60% of the total population. The Youth Development approach (MODEL) is therefore necessarily broad, in order to promote various and diverse strategies to improve the daily life of the majority of Zimbabweans. Youth Development strategies are currently being implemented in different parts of the country through NAYO structures.

As an association, NAYO’s philosophy of Youth Development has led to the development of a three-pronged approach which has become the trademark of NAYO’s work:

NAYO's Youth Development Model (YDM)

Unlike other organisations who decide before hand what the communities’ agenda will be, NAYO emphasises participatory approaches so that

  • The communities’ priorities are clear and
  • The youth within the community can participate in the prioritisation which helps facilitate their constructive participation in the new vision for the community.


NAYO has expertise in an array of participatory methods, but specialises in three collective problem-solving methodologies. Open Space Technology (OST) and Future Search are methodologies which were first introduced in Zimbabwe by NAYO members. As such, the Member Organisations have formed an Association of Process Facilitators, whose members have the skills to lead these processes.



Open Space Technology

It is used as a diagnosis tool to capture, understand and prioritise the fundamental issues within a community. Open Space Technology  is a meeting methodology that enables individuals and groups to become effective in work environments that are rapidly and constantly changing by developing their skills as lifelong learners and collaborative problem solvers. It creates the conditions so that maximum potential of the individual and the organisation can be realised during the meeting. Open Space Technology captures the knowledge, experience and innovation in the organisation [or community] that is not captured through less open processes.

An OST Workshop in Goromonzi at St Peters Secondary School


Future Search

This is a planning meeting that helps people transform their capability for action very quickly. The meeting is task-focused. It brings together 60 to 80 people in one room or hundreds in parallel rooms. Future search brings people from all walks of life into the same conversation - those with resources, expertise, formal authority and need. They meet for 16 hours spread across three days. People tell stories about their past, present and desired future. Through dialogue they discover their common ground. Only then do they make concrete action plans.


REFLECT: Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques.

Reflect is a structured participatory learning process which facilitates people’s critical analysis of their own environment and issues, placing empowerment at the heart of sustainable development.  Reflect involves using participatory approaches within an extended educational and development process, self-managed by the community.  It also involves widening our understanding of literacy.  Literacy is an extended process involving a complex set of communicative practices – all of which have an impact on people’s ability to assert their rights or to actively engage with their external world (whether with the State, local markets, organisations, etc.).