New Research on Efficacy of Pro-Youth Laws and Policies Debuted


The report authors, Bret Barrowman, Lisa Reppell and Aaron Azelton, discuss their research during one of the event panels. © Kristen Dayton
Publication Date: 
15 Apr 2019

News Type:

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) debuted new research on the efficacy of pro-youth laws and policies at an event hosted by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG Center) on April 9, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The event was organized around the launch of the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) report Raising Their Voices: How effective are pro-youth laws and policies? and served as an opportunity for practitioners from across the DRG community to discuss the report’s significance for programming design and applied uses for the research.

The event was moderated by USAID Agency Youth Coordinator Mike McCabe and featured opening remarks by DRG Center Director Tim Meisberger. USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Kate Somvongsiri framed the event’s importance during an opening session, noting that there are “1.8 billion reasons” to care about youth engagement globally.

One of the event participants engages in conversation with panelists. © Kristen Dayton

IFES Senior Research Officer Lisa Reppell, lead author of two chapters of the report, represented IFES on the event’s researchers panel, along with fellow report authors International Republican Institute (IRI) Senior Researcher Bret Barrowman and the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) Director of Citizen Participation, Inclusion and Security programs Aaron Azelton. After providing an overview of key findings, panel moderator and CEPPS Technical Director Jerry Lavery focused the conversation on results, asking why practitioners should care about the report. Researchers highlighted key takeaways, including illustrative examples of implementation follow-through and the necessity of adequate analysis of political incentives and environments to support holistic approaches to youth engagement. Researchers also discussed areas for mutually reinforcing programming, such as consideration of where pro-youth laws and policy might be incorporated into decentralization programming to support youth engagement at the subnational level.

The day concluded with breakout sessions focused on each of the chapter topics, with Lisa Reppell co-facilitating a session on youth quotas and IFES Youth Technical Coordinator Ashley Law and Meridian International Center Program Associate Courtney Indart co-facilitating a session on minimum ages for voting and candidacy. Other discussion topics included national youth policies and strategies, political party youth wings, youth engagement and social media. The sessions provided an opportunity for participants to take a deep dive into the different topics and discuss programming implications with fellow practitioners.

Raising Their Voices: How effective are pro-youth laws and policies? is available in English, Arabic and Spanish, and a French translation is forthcoming.

Established in 1995, CEPPS pools the expertise of three international organizations dedicated to democratic development: IFES, IRI and NDI. CEPPS has a 20-year track record of collaboration and leadership in democracy, human rights and governance support, learning from experience, and adopting new approaches and tools based on the ever-evolving technological landscape.

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