Cambodia: TV production to boost youth civic participation

Aug 12, 2011

Young Cambodians participate in a radio transmission focussed on investing free time in community activities (Photo: UNDP Cambodia)

Phnom Penh – As the world celebrates International Youth Day on 12 August, Cambodians are producing a mass media campaign to empower young adults aged 15-24 and encourage them to get involved in community-level volunteerism and decision-making.

The campaign – to include a TV drama and discussion show, radio call-in programmes, public service announcements, and online and mobile phone messaging – will start in January 2012 and target five million youth, including three million of voting age, ahead of local elections next year and a national election in 2013.

“This campaign will feature young people making a difference in their communities and will help other youngsters realize their own potential,” said Gregory Lavender, Youth Advocacy Officer at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Cambodia.

“Youth are the key to strengthening democracy in Cambodia because two out of every three people in the country are under 25 years old.”

A small team of writers and researchers are scripting 32 TV drama episodes intended to increase basic civic awareness, promote participation in political and local decision-making processes and hold their elected leaders accountable.

Broadcasts, including by radio, will give young people information to take part in planning meetings at local commune councils and to become positive examples of citizens taking actions for wider public benefit. 

In partnership with the BBC World Service Trust, UNDP is providing funding and coordinating the three-year campaign with government and  non-governmental organizations that will also take part in outreach activities.

“Young people are gifted with open minds and a keen awareness of emerging trends, and are bringing their energy, ideas and courage to some of the most complex and important challenges facing the human family,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a message for International Youth Day.

International Youth Day was created by the UN in 1999 as an opportunity to draw attention to the needs of young men and women worldwide.

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