Citizen Engagement Digital Policy

Youth Engagement for Citizen Engagement

There’s no doubt about young people wanting to change their societies. Social media has transformed the nature of political and democratic movements. Street protestors, these days, are more likely to be armed with a mobile phone and twitter. And the young tend to be at the front of the pack in terms of utilizing technology for social change.

But not all change has to have street protests or civil disobedience at the heart of it. Technology is as much about incremental change as revolutionary change. Sometimes the relationship between citizens and governments can be made just a little bit better if smart (and young) technologists can understand the problem and be challenged to come up with a solution.

A neat example of this is Code4Bulgaria. The goal of this initiative – inspired by the World Bank – is to engage youth in governance through technology. (See, also, our interview with Tiago Peixoto of the Bank).

“The project tackles challenges such as increasing the levels of citizen engagement and building more effective government institutions. Code4Bulgaria consists of four components: 1) market research, 2) stakeholder roundtable, 3) Hackathon and 4) internship, leading to the creation of a mobile app which improves the communication between citizens and institutions in Bulgaria.”

The video, below, explains the program and the outcomes.