FrontlineSMS-Radio used in edu-tainment initiative to engage Cambodian youth in civic responsibility

Emily Cholette | FrontlineSMS | December 21, 2012

I’ve been volunteering with the FrontlineSMS:Radio project and recently had the pleasure of speaking with Colin Spurway of BBC Media Action, an organization which helps people around the world to harness the media to promote change in their communities. Colin is the Project Director of Loy9 (pronounced ‘Loy Pram-booun’), a multimedia initiative in Cambodia geared towards encouraging youth participation in civic life through the use of a television series, phone-in radio shows, online discussions and roadshows. We had a great discussion about the significance of the Loy9 initiative in promoting youth engagement in civic society through mobile technology, as well as some of the challenges.

Colin kicked of our discussion by sharing shocking findings of a study carried out by BBC Media Action and UNDP in 2010 which looked into how young people in Cambodia contributed to civic life. It demonstrated extremely low levels of participation, revealing that many young people didn’t even know fundamental facts about how their country was governed and how they could participate with the government on local or national levels. Colin noted that around 2 out of 3 people in Cambodia are under the age of 30, meaning that this large youth population combined with extremely low levels of participation is worrisome.  “Young people’s voices are not being heard in decision making now,” he explained, “But also looking forward to the point they need to be the leaders of the country, few young people will have experience of significant decision making or responsibility.”

Loy9 was launched in January 2012 to fill knowledge gaps among the youth and promote participation for those who may feel alienated from decision making processes. Colin passionately explained the importance of Loy9’s branding: “Its got this positive sense of achievement, which is fun, successful and achievable. ‘Loy’ is used when someone does something well. It’s very Cambodian: it’s optimistic, yet realistic. The ‘9’ is not ’10’, it’s not saying 10 out of 10.“...