Empowered youth leading social change in local communities

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Youth participation habits changes constantly. Efforts to keep up with new forms of political participation is seen in international organizations, national governments and the academic community. How do young people themselves regard their participation in these new forms? One alternative form of political participation is youth organizing. This study uses a multi-case research design by interviewing Kenyan and Swedish young people who have participated in one of two youth organizing programs, organized by the non-governmental organization Fryshuset. This study aimed to uncover what youth value with youth organizing as a participation form, what goals they have with their participation and how their self-organized initiatives reflect said goals, by applying theories on empowerment, delieration, agonistic pluralism and factors affecting political participation. What youth value with youth organizing is personal development, meeting new people and getting the opportunity to make a local impact. Furthermore the study found that the primary goal of their participation was to strengthen their local community. Finally the findings show how youth preferred deliberative means to achieve their goals.

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