It used to be that youth policy around participation was focused on bringing youth into the institutional forms of participation, is this still the case?
According to respondents in the Post2015 Development survey civic participation from their part means engaging in a secure and empowering environment, the ability and possibility to speak and to be heard, an agreed vision with the government of where to go and how, and being provided at least medium living standards. An honest and responsive government was perceived as a precondition for creating such an enabling environment. (source: Georgian preliminary Post2015 consultations report provided by UNDP)
In Edgeryders we are seeing how citizens – especially the younger ones – are active in creating their own initiatives and spaces that work with different kinds of procedures and practices than institutional politics. And that civic and political participation is not some activity or engagement separated from the rest of their lives: people can be involved as thoughtful consumers or boycotters; adopters of alternative currencies (sharing as opposed to buy-sell practices); users of particular digital tools (eg the free software movement) etc. These choices are in themselves political, yet they lie outside formalized, institutional spaces. That, too is civic participation (source).
We would like to know how you, your families, friends and acquaintances are dealing with this. We try to address the following challenges:
- Responsive government. When the government is deeply engaged in a many-to-many dialogue with the citizenry, good things happen. Decision makers have access to high-quality information about what goes on; citizens and businesses can help prevent crises by giving government officials early warning. However, many government agencies are focused on their internal process, and find it difficult to change course quickly when citizens bring new information to the table. How are you making your government (national or local) more responsive? Do you know of any initiative or project that is helping public sector agencies engage in open dialogue with citizens?
- Citizen-institution interaction. In many democracies, traditional forms of participation are in deep crisis. Elections turnout is decreasing, especially among younger citizens [need data to support this]. Meanwhile, committed individuals are inventing new forms of participation, from critical consumption to interrogating government data to make sense of what is going on (open data). How are you making your voice heard? Do you know of groups or initiatives that are exploring new way to be the citizen of a modern state?
Why join? You will be amazed to discover you’re not alone, and your peers across the world are facing similar challenges! By sharing your story you’re making a first step to connect with a community of support. We are seeing already how giving each other advice makes us stronger and much faster at fixing the Big problems our societies are faced with. If you don’t know where to start, simply read the posts below, they’re inspiring! Looking forward to read you.