Crowdsourcing Ideas: International Youth Day TweetTalk on Youth and Political Parties

NDI’s Citizen Participation and Political Parties teams hosted an online discussion called a TweetTalk on International Youth Day last week. Participants shared ideas and examples of how political parties can support youth political participation through the hashtag “#YouthParty” on Twitter.

The goals of the TweetTalk were to connect the political party development community, academics, NDI Staff, political party members, and members of the democracy development and youth inclusion communities; and to give those communities a platform to share ideas, best practices, and lessons learned about how parties can support youth political participation.

Like women and other marginalized members of society, youth often face obstacles to participation in political parties. The discussion asked participants to brainstorm different ways to overcome these obstacles and to address both the demand side and supply side -- working with youth to enhance their advocacy skills and with party leaders to improve their understanding of how youth can contribute to their organization.

The @NDICitizens and @NDIParties Twitter handles led the discussion by posing a series of questions. Participants responded and asked questions of their own, which produced further ideas and conversation. For example, one participant asked for strategies on motivating youth to engage with political parties in developing states. NDI staff member Kristina Jeffers responded that parties should draw links between politics and everyday life and build platforms that address issues important to youth.

Other responses included:

One user mentioned a couple of the tools youth are using to push for accountability from politicians, BudgIT from Nigeria and Parliament Watch in Uganda.

Some themes that emerged during the discussion included the value of autonomous youth wings, understanding that efforts should be made to include young women and other marginalized groups, and the importance of creating pathways to decision-making and leadership positions within parties for youth and youth-wing members.

The event engaged over 150 Twitter users and reached almost 350,000 Twitter feeds. Twitter is an ideal platform for connecting different networks and can serve as launching pad for further engagement. While Twitter’s character limit can hinder conversation, the TweetTalk provided an opportunity for participants to connect, share resources and case studies, and use these initial connections to continue the conversation.  

Please see the transcript below from Storify for the full conversation.