The Mike Manning Youth Democracy Camp is an annual activity of Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG). The Mike Manning Youth Democracy Camp (MMYDC) falls under the strategic goal of values which aims to contribute to instilling a higher level of integrity in our society as stated in our constitution. It is the view of TIPNG that citizens in our country have little and declining faith in democratic processes and Rule of Law due to rampant and unchecked corruption and poor governance. TIPNG believes that youth are essential to reducing corruption that is destroying Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, youth are not regarded as key players despite being a large proportion of the population.
The MMYDC concept was initiated by TIPNG in 2008 as a way of dealing with this problem. The MMYDC recruits and targets likely future national leaders and puts them through what is in essence a first year law, economics, political science and media degree in ten days through an intensive set of presentations, skill building sessions and leadership scenario simulations. These camps are expensive to run and would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors.
After attending the camp, it is our hope that the trained youth will be able to:
- Effectively participate in activities supporting integrity institutions such as the parliament, civil society organisations and the legal system
- Explain and teach others about how governments should work
- Better understand how the commercial sector works in a strong rule of law environment • Use and teach others the skill of advocacy as they relate to democracy and good governance in both rural and urban environments so as to press for change
- Explain and teach others they have common concerns shared across tribal groups
Demonstrate leadership and effective self-management skills
The camp targets students in grades 10 to 12 and between the ages of 16 and 21 to attend the camp. Out of school youth who fall within this age range are also eligible to attend. TIPNG will soon be advertising the nomination form in the daily newspapers and also on the Mike Manning Youth Democracy Camp page on Facebook. TIPNG also mails nomination forms to all high and secondary schools that have active postal addresses.
Selected participants can expect an intensive but fun-filled 10 days of various activities. The camp program is set up in such a way that it balances hands on activities, capacity and skills building exercises, simulations and presentations by guest speakers with a view to giving participants a wide ranging learning experience.
At the beginning of the camp, participants are informed that they are in a new independent country in crisis and that there will be an interim camp government which needs to make laws and govern the country. The first three days of the camp program is mainly based around simulations and hands on activities such as law making, constitution drafting, rule of man and rule of law, human rights, integrity institutions and types of government. The aim of this is to demonstrate to participants their rights and roles as citizens and leaders. The rest of the camp program will cover topics to do with capacity and skills building and cross-cutting issues such as; drama as a development tool, women leaders, role of the media and media skills workshop.
During the camp, guest speakers are also invited to attend the camp for a day or two to share their expert knowledge about certain topics and also inspire our participants to be agents of change.
Films are also an important part of the MMYDC program and one film is screened every evening to develop learner motivation and relate to the topic or focus of the day.
Since 2008, TIPNG has run the Mike Manning Youth Democracy Camp. A total of 402 young people have participated in the camp from 14 youth and community based organizations, 3 International organizations and 97 schools throughout PNG. The Mike Manning Youth Democracy Camp is an annual event of Transparency International PNG Inc. and will continue to be one of our biggest events in the years to come.
The running of these camps is a long term strategy. Hopefully in a few years we will be able to see some measurable long term results as a consequence of the civic actions and careers chosen by students who have attended the camp.