Generation Democracy: Amplifying Youth-led Impact Stories

  • Adebayo Oluwafemi John, GenDem Member and Former GenDem Correspondent from Nigeria

To ensure a sustained dialogue on increasing youth political and civic participation globally, it is imperative to create a space where young people can tell their stories and the impacts of youth-led efforts. These types of platforms help counter long-standing negative social stereotypes and motivate young people to continue to make civic and political changes within their communities. 

With this in mind, Generation Democracy (GenDem), IRI’s flagship youth Network, turned over control of its external engagement to the network members, including a group of GenDem Correspondents whose objective is to make youth voices heard. 

Who are GenDem Correspondents? 

The responsibility of GenDem Correspondents is to amplify the impact of the GenDem Network and help elevate conversations on how young leaders are meaningfully contributing to building more resilient, responsive, and inclusive democracies. Correspondents are committed to spotlighting youth-led efforts in civic and political life, amplifying the impact of the GenDem Network and calling attention to issues affecting youth globally on the GenDem social media platforms.

Khadija Amahal (Morocco) – a member of the second cohort of GenDem Correspondents – sharing her story at the Tbilisi Leadership Lab in 2023.

What Do the Correspondents Do? 

Yearly, a group of GenDem members with experience in different aspects of public communication are selected through a highly competitive application process to help achieve the Network’s goal of elevating young people in the conversation about democracy around the world. 

For the first cohort of Correspondents, GenDem facilitated a retreat to kick off their tenure in this role. As part of this inception meeting, the correspondents learned about best practices and tools to meaningfully represent GenDem members’ voices. Also, the Correspondents connected with their peers, became one team ready to make positive changes within the network and their communities, and developed a year-long communication strategy. 

Over the last year, Correspondents have shared information on the work of GenDem members with their peers, government stakeholders and development practitioners through a public Generation Democracy Facebook page, Twitter/X and Instagram. Correspondents also designed and wrote the content themselves, ensuring it focuses on the Network’s priorities and highlighting key Network engagements like the Democracy in Action Lab in Malawi, the World Movement for Democracy Assembly and the 2022 Global Summit.  

The Impact of Being a Correspondent 

Reflecting on the GenDem Correspondent experience reveals invaluable lessons learned and underscores the impact of this transformative experience. Beyond the act of storytelling, this role encompassed broader aspects of intercontinental communication and digital media campaigns. 

Collaborating with fellow correspondents from diverse backgrounds and regions catalyzed a more comprehensive understanding of global issues and facilitated a dynamic exchange of ideas. The intercontinental nature of discussions enriched the Network’s narrative, making it more inclusive and representative of the varied perspectives within Generation Democracy. 

Coordinating efforts across different time zones and cultural contexts taught correspondents the importance of adaptability and flexibility. It was inspiring to witness how multiple individuals, each contributing their unique insights, collectively managed media platforms effectively. This collaborative approach not only amplified our collective impact but also reinforced the notion that the strength of a network lies in its diversity. 

About Generation Democracy 

In 2015, IRI launched Generation Democracy, an initiative that seeks to create a network of empowered young leaders involved with their communities and connected with youth around the world to share their experiences, expertise, and ideas around building resilient, democratic institutions and defending civic space. 

Through Generation Democracy, young people can access a complete set of tools to build the leadership skills needed to become the next generation of democratic actors in their communities and countries. Being part of Generation Democracy means being part of a movement of changemakers who evaluate and replicate good practices for youth participation in decision-making processes.   

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