PYCA’s Civic Participation program provides platforms to Pakistani youth that amplify their voices in public discourse.
Pakistan Youth Change Advocates initiated the project, “Fostering Citizen Journalism among Youth” in January 2016. This initiative aimed to enhance plurality and diversity of Pakistani media through strengthened capacity of university youth and establishment of citizen-led website, www.Bolojawan.com as an effective platform for information sharing with a wider audience.
PYCA formalized partnerships with 4 key institutes, i.e. University of Karachi, University of Gujrat, Hazara University and Institute of Policy Studies.
Resultantly, 845 students were capacitated on investigative and citizen journalism.
To ensure that the trained youth had a platform to put their newly acquired skills to practical use, student-led editorial boards were set-up in the partner institutes in Karachi, Gujrat and Mansehra. Students from Islamabad operated the editorial from PYCA’s premises.
Citizen website, www.BoloJawan.com was launched the same year, providing the student-led editorial boards with their very own space to flex their journalistic muscles.
While donor agreement with regard to this intervention concluded in December 2016, Bolo Jawan continues to serve as an alternate media platform for young Pakistanis.
Since, the portal was made live in October 2016, PYCA has received and published over 500 posts (written and video) from capacitated students and the general public. These diverse posts, among other things have touched upon tricky issues such as the violent extremism, democratic governance, gender discrimination, minority rights and Pakistan-India relations. Young Pakistanis have also come forward with investigative content on medical malpractices, environmental conservation and changing cultural practices in Pakistan. As of 2017, Bolo Jawan has also given free of cost space to young and emerging artists and local businesses to support the revival of cultural and entrepreneurial activities in the country.
In 2017 PYCA commenced the implementation of “Youth Volunteerism and ICT4Governance.” This intervention, which is still in its inception aims to capacitate and empower youth networks and local government officials on use of innovative, accessible and inclusive ICTs/mobile technologies’ enabled solutions for youth’s participation//volunteerism in promoting democratic governance values of efficient public services, transparency & accountability for their respective regions.
A detailed desk research is currently underway on the role of combining innovative ICTs/ mobile technologies tools and youth volunteerism to ensure enhanced citizen participation, efficient public services, transparency & accountability.
Upon the completion of the research, PYCA will capacitate 100 university youth in Islamabad and Peshawar districts on ICT/mobile technologies enabled innovative solutions to promote democratic governance.
Capacitated students will then be invited to submit ideas for technology based solutions to promote enhanced citizens’ participation, efficient public services, transparency & accountability.
Five best ICTs/mobile technologies enabled solutions proposed by the students will be provided seed funding for development and piloting. The groups will also be linked with local government officials and hedge fund investors to ensure their sustainability and up-scaling.
For more details about the project methodology, click here.