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In Focus: The Youth Coalition for Unity and Development

Cambodia has one of the youngest populations in the world. In fact two out of every three Cambodians are under the age of 25. Yet despite the overwhelming number of youth, Cambodia’s government is comprised of older leaders, effectively marginalizing the country’s youth in decision-making.  Some young leaders are overcoming societal hurdles to their meaningful participation in the political process. One such organization is the Youth Coalition for Unity and Development (YCUD), which is comprised of seven different youth organizations focused on:

  • Providing youth with the opportunity to review and discuss draft laws,
  • Educating youth on parliamentary procedure, and
  • Equipping youth to thoughtfully discuss issues pertinent to their demographic.

At the next mock Youth Parliament, participants will debate the Cybercrime Law, which could have significant implications for Cambodia.

YCUD actively engages youth throughout Cambodia through a variety of activities aimed at exciting and informing youth about the political process.  Though parliamentary procedure may not be the most riveting subject, in the context of hundreds of young Cambodians passionately debating the most pressing issues in their society, YCUD’s mock Youth Parliament meetings instill participants with invaluable skills and a better understanding of the legislative process.  YCUD does not only train young people on  how to debate, but also provides a space for youth  to act as National Assembly Members, tasked with either defending or opposing laws that are prioritized in the mock assembly.  YCUD draws upon its wide network for participants and partners with coalitions such as the Electoral Reform Alliance (ERA), Freedom House, and the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) to inform the process of educating youth on proposed laws as well as proper debate procedures.  In total, over 400 youth are expected to participate in the next round of the mock Youth Parliament. 

IRI is proud to support the excellent work of YCUD.  By training hundreds of youth in debate and parliamentary procedure, YCUD is providing young Cambodians with the tools necessary to take a larger role in the public debate on important issues in society such as freedom, governance and politics in Cambodia. 

If you’d like to learn more about the Youth Coalition for Unity and Development, you can follow all of their latest happenings on their facebook page. 

Posted by

Theodore Wilhite

Governance Specialist