It’s no secret some young people get a bum deal when it comes to policy that affects that, everything from wages to education, it’s no wonder most of us old folks consider them to be apathetic when it comes to politics - but, we do not really feel that to be the case if you give young people a platform they will talk and they really do speak a lot of sense.
The thing is once you have given them the floor, they have so much to say, the only problem is they are used to facilitators coming in, asking all the questions and then disappearing, what #DemJam does is package everything up and releases it publically challenge the young people to do something with the evidence.
We’ve even put young people in front of MPs, West Midlands Mayoral Candidates and The West Midlands West Midlands Police and Crime to interview them on video and hold them accountable on issues that are important to young people.
We’ve designed Dem Jam as an open source toolkit, that means that that anybody can run the hackathons we have already developed for free, if you are interested in running a Dem Jam in your area just send us an email and we’ll send you everything you need alongside guidance notes, we only ask is that you share your findings with us.
The first Dem Jam hackathon was held in association with Dudley Council in Council House Chambers. During this structioned hackathon we set participants the task of putting together questions for their local MPs. We did this by having debate sections around crime, homeless, mental health and employment followed by whittling down all of the debate into 4 questions.
Following the event the young people then put these questions to the 3 Members of Parliament in the Dudley area. There were Ian Austin (Independant), Mike Wood (Conservative) and Pat McFadden (Labour) which you can watch by clicking on their names.
The second #DemJam took place at Sandwell College where we held an event to gauge what local young people think what is in store for them in regards to their future working opportunities and what industry would they like more of Sandwell - that has been put together as a toolkit so you can download run it yourself, you will find everything you need, here - you simply need to download the folder and in there you will find the presentation along with a manuscript so it is important to stress you do not need to be an expert to run this for yourself, anybody can do it.
The #DemJam platform builds upon our previous Civify work which was a place young people could campaign on issues that matter to them, giving young people to interview MPs & other elected officials - one campaign, for example, back in 2017 we ran a campaign that covered the Inaugural West Midlands Mayor election, we gave young people the platform to put their own questions to all of the candidates in video interviews alongside a dedicated show on a local station Black Country Radio. It had a social media reach of over 6 million, this included the public sending their own images in using the hashtag and receiving coverage from news outlets The Huffington Post, The Express & Star, Birmingham Mail and ITV Central News, if you are interested to learn more about that, check out the video report.
Civify also led on a range of other campaigns including the West Midlands Police & Commissioner and 3 General Elections giving young people the opportunity to hold their decision makers accountable in situations that may not always be presented to them. Our aim is to make youth activism tools more easily available to young people or those who work with youth groups instead of us leading on youth issue campaigns, we believe we can still support youth activists by designing one off tools to put the power into their hands, including upskilling those around them - you can visit the achieved Civify page here.
If you are looking to engage with the young people you support or you would like them get involved with democracy training, get in touch to see how holding your own #DemJam event.