How can we draw on young people’s energy to revitalize democratic institutions and processes? In the age of all things digital, what tools apart from voting can we put in place to inspire youth participation and to increase democratic vitality?
FNF joined representatives from civil society and political leaders from over 100 countries to discuss these important questions at this year’s World Forum for Democracy organized by the Council of Europe.
Today, we witness among young people a rising abstention from electoral participation and distrust in party politics. In Thailand too, youth participation in politics is rather limited. Many young people do not have an interest in politics and do not see how it affects their lives. “Youth consider democracy as a boring topic”, says Dr. Pimrapaat Dusadeeisariyakul, FNF project manager for Thailand. Moreover, young people do not know through which channels they could participate in the community.
To tackle this challenge SIM-Democracy, a traditional board game, was put together by toy designers and democracy experts. The aim: to provide an interactive tool for young adults and first-time voters to gain a better understanding of the basic functioning of a democratic community and of public policy. Within less than an hour SIM democracy allows players to play different roles and actively perform tasks and responsibilities in a democratic society; such as the government that makes parliamentary and public decisions, plan budget, allocate resources, provide infrastructure and run the country, or ordinary citizens who generate income, pay taxes and actively participate in monitoring government administration. Dr. Rainer Adam, FNF Regional Director for Central, East and Southeast Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia emphasizes that “the aim is not so much to provide answers but to stimulate questions and further inquiry and thereby increase interest in public affairs.”
Participants from the audience applauded the FNF for this initiative and expressed their interest in replicating the game in their own countries, while at the same time recognizing the need to adjust it to their local context.
For more information:
FNF Asia: http://www.fnfasia.org/sim-democracy/
SIM democracy on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oMu8tw9NeI&sns=fb
Council of Europe: http://www.coe.int/en/web/world-forum-democracy/lab002_