Youth have energy, creativity, and awareness about issues faced by their communities – they can harness these traits to support improving the urban environment around them. By empowering young civil society leaders with data-driven advocacy skills and mentor support, we can begin to inspire a movement of active citizens who are capable of bringing about change. The Urban Citizenship Academy guides teams of participants through a process of analyzing an urban problem and developing a feasible, compelling, and impactful plan for a neighborhood scale intervention. It is a hands-on training exercise in which participants accumulate skills that advance their own ideas and agendas for improving their communities.
Participants practice the community mapping process and begin to understand urban problems. Subsequent fieldwork consists of data collection on a selected urban problem.
Participants are guided through analyzing the data they’ve collected, and use this a basis to formulate a plan for an intervention. Fieldwork consists of refining this proposal.
Participants learn to construct maps and infographics to communicate their findings and message to a wider audience, and to construct a compelling narrative to garner support. UCA concludes with a graduation ceremony in which they have a public platform to present these materials to stakeholders and local government representatives.
Through the Urban Citizenship Academy we hope to promote community activism and build the capacity of young leaders to launch further campaigns and engage with their local governments, eventually creating a broader movement of more active urban citizens. After two successful pilot sessions in Solo between May and December 2015, the program is expanding across Indonesia to reach a greater number of youth in different cities facing different problems. As these cohorts interact and share ideas, they will form a network of young urban activists with the skills to make concrete change, and together they plant the seed for a future generation of engaged and active Indonesian citizens.