“Young people in England simply don’t understand the basics of our specific systems of government and that’s why so many of them don’t vote”.
So say Georgina and Natalie, two young people from Woking Youth Council, who chose to take part in the Young Citizens programme earlier this year because they believe it’s not that young people don’t care about their communities, they just don’t know where to start.
“We think that one of the biggest challenges in getting young people to become more involved with democracy is the lack of education given to them in school. We think that schools should educate children in an engaging and fun way – even simple games that they could play in early years at school such as match the word to the definition could help educate them on the topic and encourage them to become more involved as they grow older.”
Understanding how our democracy works has never been more important than now – engaging young people in that process however can be tricky. The Democracy Ambassadors programme which finished in March this year gave young people aged 13 to 16 the skills and confidence not only to use the language of democracy but to share this with their friends. Over 1,000 young people undertook the training, delivered by teachers and youth workers determined to make ’talking democracy’ a natural part of growing up.
In their Democracy Ambassadors’ roles Georgina and Natalie created a Youtube video ‘Democracy: Everything you need to know in under 3 minutes’ which was viewed nearly 300 young people in the months that followed.
Georgina and Natalie go on:
“We think that democracy is very important for a nation to have because it provides people with an opportunity to voice their opinion and vote for what they believe in. It is a privilege that we live in a democratic country, and we believe that we shouldn’t take democracy for granted. We wanted to be Democracy Ambassadors because we thought that it was an excellent opportunity that would not only broaden our own knowledge of democracy but allow us to educate others as well.“
The Democracy Ambassadors resources are now available as free downloads for teachers and youth leaders wishing to give their young people the same opportunity as Georgina and Natalie. Engage and empower your children to learn more about how the country is run and get them to pass on their knowledge to their peers.