Yes Youth Can: Champaign to Engage Youth in DRC
BILENGE NA MAPONAMI
Buswe Institute is an association founded and managed by young Congolese and led by Jean Felix Mwema Ngandu. This Congolese private think tank has been launched for a year now and is dedicated to parliamentary research, youth capacity building, promotion of ethical leadership, social justice etc.
In August, Buswe Institute launched a campaign BILENGE NA MAPONAMI (in English: the young people in the elections). This champaign intervenes within the framework one of Buswe programs, "Buswe Elections, Youth and Good Governance". The campaign was started in August 2018 with the support of NDI (National Democratic Institute) in a large campaign in four major provinces of the country: Kinshasa - the capital of the country -, North Kivu, Haut-Katanga and Tshopo. The goal of the campaign is to promote young candidates in the December 2018 election. In this section, Buswe aims to promote youth political participation, including the participation of young people in the power of attorney contest (elections) and the ethical management of public affairs
Nearly 65% of the Congolese population is made up of young people between the ages of 14 and 37 years old. 58 years of Independence later, despite its wealth, Congo remains one of the poorest countries in the world with more than half of its population living below the extreme poverty line. This situation, mainly due to poor governance characterized by corruption, mismanagement of public affairs, etc., imposes serious consequences on the young people who make up the vast majority of the population. Young people face critical education conditions that do not promote good training, and are often unemployed due to lack of jobs.
The large youth representation in the Congolese population demonstrates the importance of taking into account their needs and demands of in order to ensure socio-economic development of the country. Who other than the young people themselves to explain and reflect on the problems of their community? The debate remains open. Who else better than young people to bring energy, mobility, ambition to achieve great things for their country?
In a country like the Congo where many negative factors or stereotypes that curbs the momentum of young people who aspire to do something for their community. It has been necessary to conduct an awareness campaign to support the young people who developed leadership in their communities and think they can do more once they are elected.
How are we leading this campaign, what are we aiming at, and with whom are we working?
The BILENGE NA MAPONAMI campaign is mainly conducted on social networks where different themes are discussed in order to attract the attention of Congolese Internet users on the participation of young people in the elections of December 2018. Online discussions, publications of audiovisual content around youth applications to stimulate constructive exchanges are shared on the various Facebook pages (https://web.facebook.com/busweinstitute ), Twitter ( https://twitter.com/BusweR ), Instagram ( https: // www.instagram.com/busweinstitute8 ) from Buswe Institute as well as whatsapp statuses and groups.
But why social networks?
In a country where more than half of the population is young, and where there is an increasing use of new information and communication technologies via smartphones and computers, it turns out that social networks are a better way to convey information and reach many people. Also, in a context where we could observe the impact of social networks in the elections of several countries including the United States, France, and closer to us in Nigeria, Kenya, etc. Social networks act as an indispensable and effective communication tool in this second decade of the 21st century. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has not lagged behind this reality.
The social media campaign has the advantage of creating a direct bridge between the communicator and the public without the need for a filter (traditional media): social networks offer the possibility of reaching the public without there being any barrier. Social networks offer the opportunity to reach people's categories through systematic sorting methods: the possibility of targeting, making communication effective, and facilitating the achievement of goals. These significant social media benefits in the context of the campaign led us to devote most of this campaign online.
Every day on our various pages of social networks, we publish profiles of young people who are candidates - we talk about them and describe their background and their motivation to be elected - we organize webinars in lines where Internet users are invited on our Facebook page to discuss with an expert or a personality on themes that touch the youth and its participation in the management of the public thing. We offer a space for exchange and reflection to Internet users about the participation of young people in political life.
The campaign is not conducted only on social networks where we publish profiles of young candidates and their actions on the ground at their bases, organize webinars, publish online audiovisual content; the campaign is also conducted in person. Different activities are organized in physics and bring people together around themes that deal with the issue of youth participation in Congolese politics. This is the case, for example, with the launch activity of the BILENGE NA MAPONAMI campaign, which consisted in presenting to the public the purpose of the Campaign, the Buswe Institute vision and the actions that are being taken.
Our goal being to promote democracy while supporting young people, we organized on the 15th of September International Democracy Day, a conference with debate on the theme: "Congolese Democracy and its main challenges". We also organize film screenings: this activity takes place to present to the public and candidates the story of young people who have made history through their commitment and determination to change the world.
Our mission is to contribute to the establishment of a new revolution in Congolese society that will consist of electing more young people; to help break down negative stereotypes about young people, particularly young women, who want to make their voices heard. Our main contributors to this campaign are the young national and provincial MPs.
Our Vision is to give visibility to these young candidates who are not always in the spotlight, not always known but have developed some strong and sometimes silent leadership in their community, help them to be heard, to be accepted and elect.
The BILENGE NA MAPONAMI campaign aims to support and accompany young people in their efforts to be heard, to be elected. BILENGE NA MAPONAMI places young people as legitimate choices in a vision of promoting political inclusion.
Our goal is to accompany the applications of young people. Our goal is to work with young workers to build an inclusive and ethical governance system in the Democratic Republic of Congo.