My greatest achievement as a student leader was the #GE15 campaign that we ran in our Students’ Union to encourage young people to force politicians to listen to them by registering to vote. That campaign gave me a taste for participatory campaigns that enable real people to tell their stories, influencing public policy.
When I first moved to London, I joined the inspirational campaigners Mike Sani and Kenny Imafidon in their work to empower young citizens through edutainment (educational entertainment) at their organisation Bite the Ballot. I managed a team of eight grassroots activists in conducting voter registration and engagement activities across England. We led two national campaigns, #TurnUp and #NVRD, which collectively registered hundreds of thousands of voters and showed how the trail-blazing combination of youth-facing online tools (we collaborated with Tinder and Deliveroo) could be used to complement offline engagement (the team I managed would talk to students in their communities and help them to take their first step into the democratic process.
In addition to the activism, I also wrote a short research note for the Cabinet Office before #TurnUp after conducting a number of focus groups on the messaging that was being used in the EU Referendum. I had found that the messages used by the unofficial Leave.EU organisation and the government’s official leaflet had been off-putting to a number of electors.
To see what Bite the Ballot are up to today, head to their site here!