Our Citizens’ Voice programme creates digital communities where young people can come together to voice opinions, discuss sensitive subjects and engage in constructive dialogue – and take action in becoming the citizens they want to be, in the societies they want to live in.
Giving voice to the majority
In the countries where we work, young people are the vast majority of the population. Yet, they are typically blocked from spheres of influence, and their views and needs are largely ignored. Divisiveness, corruption, polarisation and conflict only worsen the situation, increasing fragility. That fragility makes it harder for young people’s needs to be recognised and addressed.
Currently, the programme is active in Burundi, DRC, Mali, China, Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Social cohesion and inclusive governance (SCIG)
Attuned to each local situation, the Citizens’ Voice programme creates digital communities that bring together voices from across the political and social spectrum.
These platforms are run by local networks of young journalists, bloggers, entrepreneurs and change-makers. We develop their capacity to create inclusive content that focuses on young people’s aspirations and emphasises what unite them, rather than what divides them. We also facilitate their ability to use state-of-the-art media strategies to initiate and moderate discussions that foster diversity of opinion.
Amplifying positive discourse
Based on our activities, we have developed a clear understanding of the online interventions needed to support social cohesion and resilience to manipulation. We continue to research how negative discourse (including hate speech) is amplified in the digital space, and are working to increase awareness among users and change-makers on how to create positive and inclusive discourse, in both the digital and real-life environments.
We do this all in close collaboration with global experts, partners and country teams, ensuring best practices are harvested and shared across platforms.
Taking the data to the streets
We are also scaling our data gathering across all Citizens’ Voice platforms to improve user experience and amplify young people’s voices. We work to further connect the community of change-makers with decision-makers, with the goal of influencing policies to better reflect young people’s needs.
‘Online spaces become a breeding ground for anger and divisiveness. Fake news, incitement of hatred, abuse, and harassment affect social media feeds. Increasingly, governments use online spaces to suppress dissent, polarised communities and manipulate public opinion’ – Freedom House