Small voices, Small victories: A pathway to amplify the voice of youth civic engagement
Throughout the developing world, young men and women are facing high unemployment coupled with strong feelings of dissatisfaction with their quality of life in contexts of weak governance and institutions, increased political instability, and growing state authoritarianism — factors that render societies vulnerable and play a role in radicalization.
Current strategies to counter these phenomena remain state-centered, with limited participation of civil society stakeholders. Populations who suffer most from this violence, insecurity, and lack of civic engagement, such as young men and women, continue to be largely excluded from participating in policy and governance-related decisions. But youth are active in an array of movements associated with emerging social, economic, cultural, and political issues.
To understand these processes, a closed call for proposals was launched in June 2017 to generate knowledge on how to promote civic engagement of youth through social innovation for positive social change.
Small Voices, Small Victories, a project by Yugantar, India, in collaboration with Youth Circle, a community based youth organization in Hyderabad, proposes to work with youth at risk of criminalization with the objective of achieving their social recovery through civic engagement in order to prevent a further worsening in their status. An overwhelming majority of these youth belong to the Muslim minority religious group. Many times, mere suspicion or apprehension that the individual would commit a crime is sufficient ground to warrant an entry into what is known as a “history sheet”. Present day policing methods use these colonial practices and as a result, thousands of young men are under police surveillance.
Yugantar and Youth Circle will work together to generate critical practice through participatory interventions for working towards getting the names of these young men removed from the suspect list and reduce the risk of criminalization. The project will document the learning from this intervention and share and disseminate this strategy widely to promote uptake beyond the city of Hyderabad.