Sri Lanka: Promoting Active Participation and Engagement of Youth in Policy Making

Innovation Areas: CROWDSOURCING
Stage: Early stage

Promoting participation and engagement of youth in policy making through interactive web portal platform using NHDR as an advocacy tool

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The problem addressed

Poor participation rates. High interest about what is going on around them

88% of Sri Lanka’s youth populous stated that they are interested in the current affairs and socio-economic developments taking place around them. However, in a country with a youth population of 4.64 million people between the ages of 15–29, only a meagre 5% of them are actively engaged. 

The intervention

Social media engagement using Facebook as a platform. Physical youth meet up with young politicians and partners taking part. Improving youth participation in the political and civic dimensions. Starting up a youth and development themed blog, as requested by the youth themselves. 

The partners

The youth meet up was organized in partnership with the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Colombo Hub. In addition to that we had representation and support from the Young Political Leaders Forum, ICT Firms, British Council Sri Lanka and many youth groups. 


Overall we were able to reignite the conversation about the need for active youth participation in the political and civic engagement. We have taken the initial steps to link with young political leaders with the youth and engage in a conversation.  Fulfilling a request made by youth we started UNLOCKED a youth and development themed blog.

Overall initiative gave rise to many new ideas to follow up and take the agenda forward.

Seeing the interest and active engagement of young people in our initiatives, the SL Country Office will be piloting the Youth LEADs initiatives, a programme to integrate and strengthen our work on youth and innovations. 

Lessons identified

We did not proceed with the initial idea we had about developing a web platform following the advice we received from several ICT partners. We revisited the idea and now we have multiple interventions and fronts of engagement with youth. Social Media is one of the best tools we ought to use for engagement given the heavy presence of youth in that sphere. Another lessons learnt is the fact that although we attempted to drive the campaign in all three national languages, the participation rates were poor. We need to be more strategic in going trilingual.  

Contact person

Fadhil Bakeer Markar:

Related materials

Overview: Sri Lanka|Youth engagement in policymaking and implementation 


$19,600 USD

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