There are numerous cities in this world and they are increasingly peopled by the young. Its believed that by 2030, about 60 of the urban population in the developing world will consist of people under the age of 18. Added to this youth bulge is the mobile miracle.
More than 75% of the world has been penetrated by mobile phones. With time, phone prices are coming down and their smartness is going up. However, the future is not about broadband access, phones, or penetration of mobile. It is about how mobile phones are being used and that too in the urban domain. Youth with mobile phones can also be governance game changers.
Additionally, with the youth bulge, the mobile miracle is also happening. More than 75% of this earth has been penetrated by mobile phones. And although the prices are coming down and phone smartness goes up, the future is not just about phone or broadband internet access, and not just about the penetration of mobile. It is now more about how mobile phones are being used and that too particularly in the urban domain.
Because of the post-millennial change, governments around the world are now compelled to address the youth. These governments need to be infused with a much stronger sense of youth: to be responsive to their concerns, account for their needs, harness their energies, etc. ICT is an increasingly powerful tool, governments all around the world need to open their eyes to a new reality of youth armed with mobile platforms cause youth bulge, mobile miracle, and cities go hand-in-hand.
What are Some Creative Applications Young People are Finding to Improve Governance?
These are a few examples of the creative applications young people are finding to improve governance-
- Huduma is a platform in Kenya that offers mobile-based communication avenues for citizens to SMS, voice, or email service their comments or needs to the service providers and the authorities. Similar services and platforms exist in Mexico and Peru.
- Young people now have new access to leaders and leadership positions. Electronic communications shortcut conventional modalities of citizen-municipal communication. It obviates the cumbersome and slow personal appointments and official meetings in municipal offices. The increased volume of traffic puts pressure on governments which is increasingly difficult to ignore.
- In mobile platforms, geo-referencing capabilities are increasingly becoming available. This has led to added dimensions in young people’s relationship with their local governments and communities. It has also been evidenced in programs like SeeClickFix and community mapping. Such programs draw the attention of wider constituencies and authorities to circumstances or problems that are overlooked by officials of local governments in urban communities.
- The most effective tool for reaching citizens en masse is still the radio. In Nepal, the Voices of Youth project enables teens to use text messages (SMS via a toll-free mobile phone number) for peer-to-peer support and self-expression broadcast on radio programs that are heard by millions of youth.
- In the Kyrgyz Republic, a website named Poltimer is used to track the promises made by politicians during elections once they are in office. In Yemen, the Ersod Project trained nearly 1,000 youth to monitor the February 2012 elections. It provided a means for reporting irregularities, suspicious activities, or election violations using SMS text messaging.
Also Read: Survey Says: General Population Lacks Awareness on Smart Cities
With this, you must have understood about youth bulge, mobile miracle, and cities.