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Consolidating youth voice to counter new forms of violence through alternative communication tools

Throughout the developing world, young men and women are facing high unemployment coupled with strong feelings of dissatisfaction with 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. Predominant strategies that are in place 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 (“Giving youth a voice: promoting spaces for civic engagement, inclusion and violence reduction in South Asia and Latin America”), was launched in June 2017 to generate knowledge on how to promote civic engagement of youth through social innovation for positive social change.

Through these projects, IDRC seeks to make visible the positive stories and experiences of young women and men in strengthening their communities and societies as well as understanding the replicability conditions of them, examining experiences and processes that promote spaces for civic engagement, inclusion and violence reduction of and by young people in South Asia and Latin America. The participatory, action and learning oriented methodology common to all selected initiatives will shed light on youth’s role as agents of social transformation. Through knowledge exchange spaces and joint activities between projects, it will also lead to the identification elements that are not only effective at local level, but also potentially relevant to other contexts.

Consolidating Youth Voice to Counter New Forms of Violence through Alternative Communication Tools, Sri Lanka, project by the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) aims to counter new forms of violence using communication tools, giving voice to youth, including women and men from vulnerable groups and minorities. The mass participation of Sri Lanka’s youth in the 1970s and 1980s earned them an infamous association with violent struggles. Despite continued attempts at post-war reconciliation since the end to the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009 and the current government’s focus on reducing power imbalances, nepotism and authoritarianism that persisted through the previous government’s regime, long-standing grievances of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim youth are yet to be addressed. This project will look to create communications platforms and spaces, including through the use of social media platforms to generate dialogue between stakeholders and to jointly create research based interventions to counter youth violence and vulnerability in Sri Lanka. The project addresses a growing need for spaces for youth engagement to address the structural forms of violence in a post-war setting.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
24 months
IDRC Officer
Navsharan Singh
Total Funding
CA$ 239,000.00
South Asia
Sri Lanka
Governance and Justice
Institution Country
Sri Lanka
Project Leader
Krishan Siriwardhana
Centre for Poverty Analysis

Projects by Component Institution