Training IFES - Documentation 1

ASEAN Youth Organization Invites Young People to Speak Up the Value of Inclusiveness Through Digital Advocacy

Jakarta, Indonesia, March 26th, 2022 – The development of technology nowadays is rapidly changing and becoming part of our lives. It’s reflected by how we do our activities now, which can’t be denied that almost all of them depend on the use of technology, especially social media, to communicate and socialize with others. Even further, due to the pandemic, we have been forced to reduce direct communication and use digital communication tools instead. This usage of digital tools has both positive and negative impacts on our lives and gives more challenges to the youths, especially from the marginalized communities, such as persons with disabilities.

Many persons with disabilities in general face discrimination and restrictions to finding employment based on their skills and experiences. This is proven by only 30 percent of all persons with disabilities have enough income for self-support in the Asia-Pacific region. If we look at the facts, for example, in the Philippines, people with visual disabilities who already have a formal degree generally do not have access to training or a profession that matches their skill level, even generally the main job done by persons with visual disabilities is massage therapy. As for problems in the workplace, in Indonesia itself, there are survey results that show data of 83.6% of respondents stating that their workplace does not yet provide decent facilities and access for workers with disabilities, despite the fact that only 31.8% of respondents have understood these needs.

As a response to the case given and a follow up to the Bridge The Gap! Workshop, ASEAN Youth Organization (AYO), along with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA), believe that digital advocacy is one of the powerful and essential skills necessarily needed by youths to empowering them in increasing the awareness of inclusivity for sustainable changes, especially in this 4.0 era. That being said, on 26 March 2022, AYO was calling all ASEAN Youths to gather and dive more about digital advocacy and disability issues in collaboration with IFES and AGENDA through the “Inclusive Digital Advocacy Training.”

The training session was attended by 30 selected participants aged 15 – 35 from various backgrounds and countries across Southeast Asia. During the session, participants together with all experienced trainers from IFES, which are Rebecca Aaberg, Sarah Timreck, and Rachel Arnold, discussed appropriate and strategic advocacy activities in the digital world or social media, starting from basic information on the types of advocates, the importance of multi-stakeholder involvement, especially media in advocacy activities, using various platforms that we can use for digital advocacy, and how to do digital storytelling effectively.

“Advocacy campaign will have more impacts if your stakeholders engage the advocacy target on your behalf using the network approach rather than a direct approach. The more parties involved, the wider the target range of our advocacy activities. Furthermore, we can map out what social media will be used for our strategic plan and what is the right social media activation strategy. That is the basic essential that youth advocates need to be able to take advantage of the digital world as one of the tools to make the change.”, stated Rebecca Aaberg during the session.

This training activity is expected to provide opportunities and forms of empowering for youth to be able to solidify further strategies for making changes in order to achieve the expected goals and achieve sustainable positive change, especially in the issue of inclusivity. With the fun and interactive methods, 30 trainees were divided into five groups to discuss and share their ideas about the study case given by the trainers. At the end of the session, all the trainees that actively involved and participated were asked to test their knowledge by filling out the post-test quiz.

Jointly written by: Sarah Rauzana Putri and Citra Melati.

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