Research Brief - Youth Political Participation

Published by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Cambodia

The research brief was written by members of Politikoffee, with support of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Cambodia. Politikoffee is a group of media-savvy and political interested young Cambodians, who actively participate in political discussions. The research brief now aims at shedding light on the current status, mechanisms and barriers related to youth political participation in Cambodia: 1. What are the perceptions of Cambodian youth on political participation? 2. Why political participation matters? 3. What are the obstacles to political participation in Cambodia?

INTRODUCTION

Politikoffee, as a group of media-savvy youth interested in politics, have made the conscious choice of actively participating in political discussions. However, in our research – we found out that politics is not an activity you decide to participate in, or not. Indeed, it is “ingrained in the routines of making a living, raising families, coping with daily problems and interacting with others”.

Problem Statement Politikoffee attracted much attention over the years, for being “at odds with Khmer culture” or for being at the forefront of an “unexpected new trend”, as a rare youth group actively participating in politics through grassroots debates and discussions. These comments suggest that youth political participation in Cambodia may be the exception, rather than the norm.

We decided to find out more about this assumption by collecting data and findings on youth political participation, which we are presenting in this brief.

The main objectives of this research brief are to:

1. Identify key political participation trends among youth in Cambodia, 2. challenge the dominant, negative narrative according to which youth are not interested in participating politically, 3. draw on existing research to illustrate and reiterate the importance of youth political participation, 4. Research Questions.

There are three main research questions:

1. What are the perceptions of Cambodian youth on political participation? 2. Why political participation matters? 3. What are the obstacles to political participation in Cambodia?

Enjoy the reading!

published

Cambodia, June 21, 2017