Enhancing Youth Participation in the Development of Bandung City through Ushahidi Platform
Over a year, the Safe and Sound Cities (S2Cities) program has been implemented in Bandung City. This program aims to increase youth participation in building a safe and comfortable Bandung City for their future. With this concept, youth are actively involved, even influencing the decision-making processes for urban development policies. There are many ways in which youth can contribute to this process, ranging from small-scale initiatives to larger ones. Individual youth, as well as youth communities in Bandung, also can participate in this program.
The implementation process of S2Cities in Bandung City has undergone various stages and processes. It has engaged over 100 youths from Bandung City and several active youth communities. To attract youth’s attention and active involvement in every activity, many factors need to be considered in introducing the concept of S2Cities to them. Therefore, one of the intensive activities is to emphasize the importance of their role in city development and how a safe and comfortable city can support their participation in the sustainability of Bandung City.
Offline Training of Ushahidi for Youth-Driven Action in Community Development
In addition to the intensive awareness-raising efforts, youth are equipped with technical and analytical skills to enhance their sensitivity to essential issues in Bandung City, especially those related to safety and comfort. Building sensitivity is crucial because it quickly fosters youth awareness. For example, if youth are sensitive to their surroundings, they can observe, understand, and assess whether their living environment is safe and comfortable. Therefore, one of the technical skills provided is recognizing and observing issues, making assessments, and documenting them in an open platform for public viewing and consumption. The concept of open data plays a crucial role in this aspect. Hence, several free and open tools are introduced to support effectively delivering these technical skills.
When the youth of Bandung City have access to free and open technical skills and supporting tools, their potential for involvement in finding solutions related to the city’s issues will significantly increase. One of the free and open tools introduced is using Ushahidi as a platform for data provision, documentation, and sharing among the public and fellow youth. These tools not only assist in developing the technical skills of the youth but also raise their awareness about the importance of building a collective movement that is visible to the public, beneficial to the community, and can provide collective input for a better Bandung City.
Ushahidi has opened up insights for the youth and the local government of Bandung City regarding the potential for collaboration in urban development, both in terms of stakeholders and conceptual contexts such as data, facts, and issues. For over a year, Ushahidi has served as a platform for the youth of Bandung City involved in the S2Cities program to document and report issues related to the city’s safety and comfort based on field data or surveys. By categorizing the contextual issues, the youth can identify which issues are relevant to their observations in their local environments. Issues such as waste management, road safety, and criminal activities are popular topics reported by the youth on Ushahidi. Importantly, these issues are visualized neatly on the Ushahidi platform, allowing the data to be accessed and utilized by anyone with an interest in using the data.
The User-generated Reports of Ushahidi Platform in Bandung City and Its Surrounding Area
The issue findings reported by the youth on the Ushahidi platform have shed light on the gap between the general knowledge of the government through tabular data and the actual issues on the ground as identified by the youth through Ushahidi. This gap can significantly influence the decision-making process and policies related to specific issues. This shows the immense potential of the youth’s role if the reporting system using Ushahidi can be implemented in the S2Cities program and sustained and supported by stakeholders at the Bandung City government level. The youth possess a high level of initiative, unwavering spirit, and a great curiosity for contributing to meaningful causes. Ushahidi can accommodate and harness these youth initiatives.
The most exciting part is that Ushahidi accommodates group-level movements and individual youth who wish to contribute with small steps, enabling them to channel their findings through Ushahidi. At a more significant level, Ushahidi can serve as a negotiation tool for youth communities regarding the foundation and considerations of policies. Therefore, sustaining and expanding such initiatives sustainably is crucial for achieving a safe and comfortable Bandung City.
Results of Youth’s Contribution to Ushahidi. The Youth is Involved in Building a Safe City and Comfortable Bandung City by Actively Reporting the Safety Issues
More than 2,000 reports have been documented on the platform https://s2city-bandung.ushahidi.io/. The highest number of issue reports is related to road safety, making it an essential concern for the government in the future. More than 50 youths actively contribute to the Ushahidi S2Cities platform in Bandung City. Its continuity is essential to support the youth’s interventions in urban development. Several departments within the Bandung City Government consider Ushahidi highly effective due to its ability to accommodate citizen science. Citizen reports, particularly from the youth, are crucial in identifying issues on the ground, which the government sometimes struggles to recognize. While Bandung City already has numerous applications based on citizen reports, most could be more effective and sustainable due to various factors. The use of Ushahidi is a practical step towards reducing costs and energy expended by the Bandung City Government in the future while promoting youth engagement in finding innovative solutions for city development based on the latest issues documented on the Ushahidi S2Cities deployment in Bandung City.