Youth and Political Participation An Overview of Opportunities and Challenges

December 13, 2017

1. Executive Summary
With an estimated two thirds of the population below the age of 25, a significant proportion of Afghans has come of age in the past 14 years.1 This new generation of young Afghans arguably holds different perspectives than the old political class living n memories of the Jihad and fight against the Taliban. However, while Afghan youth between 18 and 30 arguably constitute the majority of voters and actively participated in the last presidential elections of 2014,2 their effective role in policy and decision-making processes remains minimal, and young adults face multiple challenges in actively participating in political processes. More generally, the aspirations of the youth in Afghanistan, the challenges they meet in participating in democratic processes, and means for their political mobilization have received little concerted attention.
Through its “Strengthening the Political Partnership of Youth in National Democratic Processes” (SPPY) project; Election Watch Organization of Afghanistan (EWA) attempts to address this issue. This study was undertaken as a first step in the project to inform advocacy for the mobilization of female and male Afghan youth by assessing their current aspirations and their conditions for participation in political processes. This is done through five objectives:
(i) To determine the priorities of Afghan youth,
(ii) To assess the challenges they face in participating in electoral processes and opportunities to overcome them,
(iii) To assess the extent to which they are involved in decision-making processes,
(iv) To evaluate the role of mobilizing institutions, such as political parties and civil society organizations (CSOs) in youth mobilization, and
(v) To assess the extent to which gender roles affect youth participation in decision-making and political processes.
In order to reach the above objectives, 34 consultative workshops with female and male youth were held in six provincial centers (Baghlan, Balkh, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar and Nangarhar) and 28 districts, with a total of 1300 female and male youth.

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