The National Democratic Institute (NDI) seeks to build youth capacity to participate in and collectively act on accountability and transparency issues through its Anti-Corruption & Transparency Initiatives Engaging Youth in the Indo-Pacific (ACTIVE Youth) program. The ACTIVE Youth program is managed by NDI Taiwan and includes program activities across four target countries: Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea. Operating at both the national and regional level, ACTIVE Youth centers on competitively-bid, locally-led initiatives on select anti-corruption, transparency and open government issues in each target country. The initiatives, supported with technical and financial assistance by NDI and owned by 12 ACTIVE Youth partner organizations, have established clear partnerships and mechanisms for youth participation in the decision-making space.
As part of the ACTIVE Youth program and in partnership with the Agency Against Corruption (AAC) in Taiwan, NDI invited 13 youth activists to Taiwan for a two-week knowledge exchange in August 2022 and co-hosted the Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue on Anti-Corruption and Transparency Initiatives on September 2, 2022. NDI’s civil society partners, including 13 youth activists from the ACTIVE Youth program, representatives from the Open Culture Foundation (OCF), Transparency International Taiwan, Taiwan Association for Schools of Public Administration and Affairs (TASPAA), as well as staff from AAC and Ministry of Justice, came together and participated in critical conversations on strengthening democratic resilience through tackling corruption and transparency issues in the region.
During the visit, the youth activists had in-depth exchanges with the Taiwanese civil society on civic community building, human-centered design approaches to inclusive activism, cyber security practices, advocacy strategies and more. They also had the opportunity to engage meaningfully with civic and political leaders in Taiwan, including MPs, government officials, human rights activists and other decision makers.
Most notably, the youth activists participated in the international review of Taiwan’s second report under the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) as Youth Observers on August 30, 2022. The review panel conferred with legislators, government officials, judiciary agency delegates and civil society groups.
The UNCAC international review is one of Taiwan’s Summit for Democracy (S4D) commitments on anti-corruption and transparency. NDI is pleased that the ACTIVE Youth program is directly supporting Taiwan’s S4D commitment by mainstreaming youth participation and inclusivity into Taiwan’s efforts in combating corruption.
It Takes a Network to Defeat a Network
NDI’s efforts have created opportunities for cross-border, peer-to-peer collaboration among youth activists. Under ACTIVE Youth, young activists from Sri Lanka and Indonesia have expressed interest to further their collaboration in their respective anti-corruption interventions and campaigns. The cohort also exchanged ideas on how to engage with government authorities to advocate for open government initiatives under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) frameworks.
Moreover, AAC has expressed a strong interest to involve more diverse stakeholders in their mission to tackle corruption in the public sector. In their press release, AAC highlighted that they look forward to collaborating with local and international NGOs in the future.
NDI believes that a transnational network of youth actors devoted to entrenching democracy and rooting out corruption can effectively counter the trend of democratic decline. By providing youth activists with capacity-building opportunities and high-level engagement with well-established leaders in the decision-making space, youth activists can be empowered to more effectively engage in transparency and anti-corruption initiatives that yield long-term, tangible results. Utilizing Taiwan as a regional hub, NDI will continue to support the creation and strengthening of networks across sectors and borders in the Indo-Pacific region to contribute to a supportive environment for positive youth development.
2022 ACTIVE Youth Program Highlights
Author: Justin Huang, Project Assistant, NDI Taiwan team
NDI is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization that works in partnership around the world to strengthen and safeguard democratic institutions, processes, norms and values to secure a better quality of life for all. NDI envisions a world where democracy and freedom prevail, with dignity for all.