Youth as Agents of Democratic Change through Knowledge and Information Acquisition and Exchange in Laos
The project enhanced the technical capacity of youth group leaders to introduce rights-based development knowledge. It also supported leadership development, and therefore was a relevant effort to involve youth in democratic and participatory processes regarding the management and use of natural resources. In addition, trained teachers of 17 primary schools from 6 provinces developed locally relevant curricula introducing indigenous knowledge. Given the political and administrative realities, the identification of bio-diversity issues and general development challenges, rather than direct democracy issues, represented smart approaches to support participation in environmental policy formulation by youth.
The youth’s field-work identified about 30 different bio-diversity themes and general development challenges, and subsequently suggestions were made related to farming practices, but also to the need to preserve local culture and traditions. In view of the appreciation expressed by central and provincial representatives, evaluators are of the view that the project effectively contributed to improved consideration of local and biodiversity knowledge in local community development processes.