By: Abdullah Athayi, Manizha Ramizy and Abdul Naser Folad
Afghan youth participation in politics is limited in terms of opportunities for candidates to run for public offices. When young people get involved in politics, they often remain passive supporters rather than active decision-makers. There seems to be two main factors where young people are often unable to exercise its rights and fulfill its responsibilities regarding involvement in decision making. On one hand, youth may lack awareness, capabilities, knowledge, technical skills and experience required; on the other hand there are limited opportunities and less attention provided by central and local government institutions to involve young people in decision and policy making. As a result young people are either discouraged or excluded from policy making radars and become isolated from the realm of decision making. Thus, the needs and the perspectives of the younger generation, who constitutes over 60% of the populations, are not fully reflected in the national policies and programs
The upcoming parliamentary and district council’s elections provide a crucial opportunity for young voters and candidates to increase their participation and influence the decision and policy making either directly or through representative bodies. Participation of capable youth and educated figures are important against elder candidates to prove their leadership skills and ability and of commitment to serve the society. Because the sustainability of Afghan democracy will be guaranteed when young people are aware of their political role and fulfill their responsibility as active citizens of society. In order to succeed in election, young candidates need to understand the policy and legal frameworks, principles, conditions, electoral process, media representations, effective campaign instruments and monitoring the process as well as implementing certain skills, strategies and best practices which young candidates used in developing countries.
This self-learning guide would be a useful material which young candidates can learn, build and strengthen their legal and technical skills as well as lessons learned from other countries to promote young political participation in national processes. The self-learning guide not only reviews the legal and policy frameworks but it also provides campaign tool kits including how to reach young voters, representation in media and best practices and strategies pre-election period, election and post-election period.