Youth: Open Space #9 : Youth Advocacy and Activism

Published by AYF Secretariat on

Youth and children are the majority subpopulation in ASEAN and they should be able to influence the dynamic in the region. However, not all youth are able to pinpoint their way maneuvering in mechanisms available in Southeast Asia.

On the 13th of December (Sunday), ASEAN Youth Forum conducted the ninth Youth: Open Space for youth to discuss youth activism and youth advocacy. Over 40 youth in Southeast Asia attended the session. The participating youth are coming from 8 countries, which are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Timor Leste and Vietnam.

It was an entirely youth-led discussion, co-hosted by Aya from Vietnam, Ela from Timor Leste, and Duc from Vietnam. The open space is also facilitated by Ninies from HiVOS SEA who gave sufficient presentation on the topic of youth advocacy and activism.

Black White Think Speak Typography Saying Poster-16

Here are some highlights from the session

Inside the advocacy work, it's actually full of questions that we should ask, such as: What needs to change, who has the power to make that change happen, what capacities that we can improve. we are sometimes getting distracted by tokenism or by the jargonistic approach that governments are using. For example, in the Indonesian context, there are so many politicians, so many government representatives that talk about millennial words, as if they understand a lot about how we are as young people, but they are just talking about millennials. They just keep mentioning  millennial word in every publication, but never really pay attention to our aspirations and to our dedication towards things that we are doing.

from the Prologue by Ninies

Regarding on the labor right violation, one reason is that employee are not aware of the rights they deserve. there are some similar situation in Myanmar; labor population don't have enough awareness of their rights. it can partially related to limitation of career opportunities; some labors know that their rights are violated but they just keep working in that work because they are not sure about their another career or they don't have job security.

Hayman, Myanmar

In my country, a lot of people unemployed. There is no job, what the young people actually do is advocating. Covid doesn’t always stop us to doing a lot of stuff. 

Ella, Timor Leste

I am not involve the big advocacy, but I am writing article, in Myanmar currently we’re facing like violence, not only in woman, LBGTQ or all of the people in important things.

Hey Mar, Myanmar

I think doing advocacy doesn’t mean you show everyone that you are doing advocacy. Anonymously to any organisation, also you shared the issue to your friend, your family, supporting an issue, environment, and human right. It’s starting from your heart and your spirit. 

Aya, Vietnam

If you have social media and you have nothing to do, the simple thing that you can do is you can like, share, or interact with social media post. Social media algorithm is a master of it all; the more people interact, like, and comment the post, some emoji, this really help the organisation. And to support social changes.

Rastra, Indonesia