Youth Influencing the Agenda: Youth Manifesto

Deepening Democracy pilot Deepening Democracy pilot

Youth from Brasil, Uganda and the Netherlands address their government on the issue of unemployment

Youth Influencing the Agenda: Youth Manifesto
Uganda, Brazil and the Netherlands have differences in demographics and economies but share unemployment a common priority problem. In all the three countries the youth (and especially socially marginalized youth) is the worst hit by unemployment. Common features of youth unemployment in the three countries include inequity in access to jobs, inadequate skills for the job market, and discrimination in the job market. This is aggravated by the fact that no specific tools and capacity have been cultivated in the civil society to address this. Further, the fact that youth unemployment is not adequately addressed is a challenge that the democracies need deepening as youth participation in decision making processes in the policy cycle is low, especially when it comes to agenda setting.

The project:
This project adds value to the existing interventions by Deepening Democracy platforms in Uganda, Brazil and Netherlands which tend to focus on policy and budget monitoring. It zooms in on the specific entry point in the policy cycle for agenda setting and on the particular theme of youth unemployment. This way it complements and fills a gap in the tools and methodologies that civil society actors can deploy to deepen democracy.

The project further develops the Youth Manifesto in Uganda by adding a focus on youth unemployment. This makes the tool more practically focused and more likely to appeal to the youth.

The Improved Youth Manifesto will then also be customized and applied in Brazil and the Netherlands, first in at least one municipality in each country. In each country the Youth Manifesto template will be used by CEW-IT, INESC and Netwerk Democratie/Movisie.

The tool generates the demands (asks) of young people towards youth unemployment. These demands are compiled into a formal document or social contract (Youth Manifesto). The Youth Manifesto is then used by youth activists and CSOs to engage with authorities responsible for setting the agenda on youth unemployment and change the respective implemented youth employment policies.

After this, Youth Employment Manifesto has been successfully used in influencing the agenda setting on youth unemployment, the Youth manifesto tool could potentially also be customized for other thematic areas such as for instance minority rights or education rights. Therefore, the added value is that the thematic youth manifesto is likely to be a prototype tool for future influencing of the agenda setting in other specific youth-relevant themes. Further, the tool will be applied across three diverse contexts and will thus be validated as a tool that can be replicated in various contexts across the world.

The Improved Youth Manifesto methodology / tool will be open source there by allowing several people to make use of it. Therefore, it will allow a larger public to engage in following and influencing the agenda setting of the youth employment policy. The tool to be developed and validated will allow young citizens to influence the employment policy agenda. It combines digital and physical platforms.Kwanda

In the long run, it is expected to be fully domesticated and up scaled in each of the three countries (and possibly elsewhere) and be widely used in setting the policy agenda. The added value here is that there will be mutual learning from three different contexts whose lessons will be used to enable the youth to set the agenda in the three countries and hence confront politicians, government staff and leading experts and find practical solutions to the question of youth unemployment. This type of learning is true to the ambition of the E-Motive going global which is “to support citizens and experts from different parts of the world working together in identifying alternative solutions to contemporary social and political problems around the world” (ToR Community Manager: E-Motive Digital Community Platform, OXFAM Novib 2014).

The process of developing the tool / methodology itself is an added value. It will involve a team of experts from the three countries – each with their own experiences and expertise – for instance: the Citizens Manifesto and ICT experience of CEW-IT, the Budget Monitoring experience of INESC and the policy monitoring experience of NetDem and MoVisie. They will be working together to develop one prototype/hybrid tool (the Improved Youth Manifesto) that encompasses the learned lessons from the three contexts into one tool. In other words each organisation will learn from the others.

The Improved Youth Manifesto tool will be piloted in each country in tandem. It will be expanded from one country to another with an interval of at least 6 weeks – during which the tool will be pre-tested in the specific country context. Added value will be obtained from the experience gained in each context and this will be used to enrich the tools and feed the next pilots. In other words the Improved Youth Manifesto tool will continuously be improved from one country to the next so that at the end of the pilot phase it has been enriched with experiences from the three countries and can easily be adopted in each of the countries (and other countries with similar contexts).

After this design / induction workshop each country is expected to adapt the tool and experience from this workshop to its own context, and use it to engage the young people in the agenda setting process. Each organization will make a plan for the identified locations and engage youth leaders.

Compiling Youths Asks into a Youth Manifesto in 3 Pilots:

Uganda, INESC and Movisie/ NetDem will undertake consultations with the youth in the selected location in Uganda, Brazil and The Netherlands and apply the improved YM tool and its respective modules and applications. This will enable 3,000 youth to compile their demands on youth employment into a Youth Manifesto. The consultations in all three countries will be both online (crowd sourcing) and offline (through consultative meetings).

Activating physical and Digital Platforms in the 3 pilots:

The digital platform provides an avenue for mobilization, information sharing and engagement with the respective youth leaders, for instance using the twitter hash tag #asktheyouthleader and customized facebook communities. In addition to the digital platform, physical platforms such as the Neighbourhood Assemblies will be employed where youth can debate of issues critical to youth employment policies, amongst themselves, and with relevant politicians, policy-makers and experts. The physical platforms allows youth to come together to discuss their challenges while identifying how they will set the agenda in the governance structure of the country. The discussion of the process can continue online through various online digital tools. To further the campaign, a creation of online and physical campaigns geared towards advocating for youth programs ought to be done. The physical campaigns could be embedded with a component of edutainment. The online strategy will also include a component of developing and sharing infographics on youth engagement in setting the agenda.

Popularize the Youth Manifesto in the 3 pilots:
The youth manifestos on unemployment in each of the three pilots will then be compiled and popularized to the rest of the youths and to the authorities through IEC materials, meetings and mobile applications. The target is to mobilize at least 1,000 youths (organized in groups) in each of the three countries, who will mobilize use the findings to petition parliament and local government councils on equitable employment opportunities.

Network Democracy is a Dutch organization involved in democratic renewal. Network Democracy has been advocating for actual influence for citizens on political decision-making. Developing IT-platforms that increase political participation, but also transparency and accountability in the political decision-making process.

Movisie is the Netherlands centre for social development. Our mission is to promote the participation and independence of citizens by supporting and advising professional organizations, volunteer organizations and government institutions. Five themes are central to Movisie’s work: effectiveness; professionalisation; participation; combating and preventing domestic and sexual violence; social care. Movisie is a member of several international networks in the field of social development a.o. the International Council on Social Welfare.

CEWIT-Citizens Watch-IT
Is a consortium of 6 NGOs in Uganda who have been involved in Democratic processes, Social Accountability, Human Rights, Good governance and Livelihoods. In 2013 CEWIT joined the emotive family and been active since then.

The Institute for Socioeconomic Studies – Inesc, is a public-purpose, non-partisan, democratic and pluralist non-profit organization. Its mission is to “Contribute toward improving representative and participatory democracy with the aim of ensuring human rights, by fostering links in civil society and strengthening it to influence domestic and international governance spaces.”