Surakarta, October 10, 2023 – In an effort to enhance the skills and meaningful social participation of Indonesian youth in the digital era, Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (YCAB Foundation), in collaboration with Meta Indonesia, the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), and with support of the Do Something Indonesia (DSI) community, has launched “Asah Digital” with the theme “Building Proactive Youth in a Digital Society.” The Asah Digital program is a continuation of the Asah Digital initiative that has been initiated since 2020 by YCAB Foundation, Meta, and DSI to enhance the digital intelligence and participation of Indonesian youth, enabling them to make a real positive impact through digital technology instruments.
Asah Digital specifically focuses on increasing youth participation to mobilize them to be more active and engaged in shaping the future of democracy in Indonesia. The skills of young people in participating and interacting in the digital public space are of utmost importance, given the high internet usage among the Indonesian population. We Are Social reported that there are 191 million active social media users in Indonesia, which is a 12.35% increase compared to the previous year (We Are Social, 2022).
Considering that the youth population constitutes 40% of the total Indonesian population, youth participation in responsibly voicing their aspirations and ideas through digital connectivity becomes crucial to strengthen positive social change in Indonesia.
The Asah Digital program will be conducted from October 10 to November 2, 2023, in three cities: Solo, Banda Aceh, and Manado, in collaboration with the respective local governments. Various activities, such as panel discussions and group discussions, will be held in partnership with Do Something Indonesia, focusing on five main topics: Digital Citizens’ Rights and Responsibilities, Gender in Politics, Political Participation of Vulnerable Groups, Freedom of Expression and Digital Ethics, and Political Image and Technology.
Following these activities, Asah Digital will invite young people to participate in “Youth Digital Activism” to encourage them to advocate for their ideas and aspirations. This activity is expected to maximize digital tools as a means of meaningful participation for young people, urging them to be more active and engaged in shaping the future of democracy in Indonesia’s political processes. YCAB Foundation, Meta Indonesia, Perludem, and Do Something Indonesia will provide guidance to youth in taking their first steps towards digital media participation.
The first Asah Digital program began today in the city of Solo with the theme “Shaping Proactive Youth in a Digital Society.” The event featured speakers such as Dr. Argyo Dermatoto M.Si, Head of the Sociology Undergraduate Program at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Sebelas Maret University; Poppy Kusuma Nataliza, S.H, a member of the Surakarta Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu); Dessy Sukendar, Public Policy Program Manager at Meta in Indonesia; Nurul Amalia from PERLUDEM; Rezza Dian Akbar S.Ip, MSc, a lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Sebelas Maret University; and Amanda Kalangit, Head of the Program Management Division at YCAB Foundation.
Dr. Argyo Dermatoto M.Si, Head of the Sociology Undergraduate Program at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Sebelas Maret University, stated, “As members of the academic community, students must be intelligent and wise in accessing, sifting, and selecting various data and information required, including literacy related to the 2024 elections that will take place next year. In my opinion, the Asah Digital 3.0 Program initiated by YCAB Foundation, Do Something Indonesia, META in collaboration with the Sociology Study Program of FISIP UNS, serves as one of the learning spaces for UNS students to be digitally aware and wise in their political communication as we approach the 2024 elections.”
As part of the driving force behind the Asah Digital program, Veronica Colondam, Founder & CEO of YCAB Foundation, expressed her hope that Asah Digital would strengthen the role of youth in maximizing digital media channels as a form of active citizen participation for positive change in Indonesia.
The Asah Digital program will continue with the production and dissemination of creative content on social media as a tangible expression of digital activism, carried out by 500 youth community members from Solo, Banda Aceh, and Manado. Following this series of activities, participants are expected to manage the distribution of this content to reach and advocate for crucial issues related to democracy and elections.
“We hope that the Asah Digital program can continue to instill positive habits in the younger generation, enabling them to be more discerning and secure in their internet usage. With them knowing how to interact well in this digital era, they are already helping create a more comfortable online environment for many,” said Dessy Sukendar, Public Policy Program Manager at Meta in Indonesia. “The strategic role of the younger generation, combined with positive internet habits, can help promote responsible digital citizenship practices,” she concluded.