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AN INVESTIGATION ON THE ROLE OF YOUTHS IN DRIVING POLITICAL CHANGE AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN CAMEROON

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AN INVESTIGATION ON THE ROLE OF YOUTHS  IN DRIVING POLITICAL CHANGE AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Cameroon, situated in Central Africa, has seen several political and social revolutions throughout the years. The involvement of young people has often sparked these movements. Youth involvement in instigating political change and social movements in Cameroon is crucial due to the country's varied socio-political environment and the growing impact of its youthful demographic (Abdullah, 2020). This background research seeks to provide understanding of the historical backdrop, root causes, and current trends influencing the participation of Cameroonian teenagers in political activity and social mobilisation. Cameroon's history is characterised by colonial domination, fights for independence, and political changes after gaining independence (Abebe, 2019). Cameroonians have experienced oppression, exploitation, and marginalisation from the pre-colonial period through German, French, and British colonisation. Youthful Cameroonians, disenchanted with colonial authority, actively participated in the fight for independence via nationalist groups like the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (UPC) (Agbiboa, 2015). 

After gaining independence in 1960 and the reunification of French and British Cameroons in 1961, the nation went through a series of governments known for their authoritarianism, political repression, and restricted democratic rights. Youth-led movements have arisen as significant catalysts for change, promoting political reform, social fairness, and human rights (Alcinda, 2015). Various reasons contribute to the active participation of Cameroonian teenagers in political activity and social movements: 

Young Cameroonians are significantly impacted by high unemployment rates, restricted access to excellent education, and economic inequalities, leading many to pursue opportunities for social and political transformation (Ayeni, 2016). The rise of social media and digital communication platforms has made it easier for young people to organise and mobilise movements, allowing them to overcome geographical limitations and increase their influence. Dissatisfaction with the current leadership, accusations of corruption, and the inability of governments to tackle important socio-economic issues have contributed to the discontent and mobilisation of young people. With a large percentage of the population being under 30 years old, young Cameroonians represent a powerful group capable of driving political and social transformation, as they possess the vigour, idealism, and resolve to challenge the existing state of affairs. Cameroon has seen a revival of youth-led activism and social mobilisation in reaction to political repression, human rights violations, and the Anglophone problem in the Northwest and Southwest regions. The "Bring Back Our Internet" movement, which opposed government-mandated internet shutdowns in Anglophone areas, demonstrates the youth's involvement in promoting civil liberties and democratic rights. Youth-led initiatives such as the "Not Too Young To Run" campaign aim to boost youth involvement in politics and governance by addressing age-related obstacles to political engagement and leadership. Youth involvement in influencing political change and social movements in Cameroon is a complex phenomena influenced by historical legacies, socio-economic conditions, and current dynamics (Bangura, 2018). It is essential to comprehend the motivations, problems, and goals of young activists to analyse the path of political and social change in Cameroon and establish policies for inclusive government and sustainable development. Therefore, the researcher sought to investigate the role of youths  in driving political change and social movements in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Cameroon has seen notable changes in its political environment, along with a rise in social groups pushing for reform in recent years. The youth's involvement in pushing political reform and social activity has become a crucial but little studied aspect in the middle of these changes (Tanja, 2017). This research aims to explore the many ways in which young people from Cameroon are engaged in initiating and maintaining political change and social movements in the country.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate the role of youths  in driving political change and social movements in Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows 

Investigate the extent of youth involvement in political activities and social movements in Cameroon.

Evaluate the influence of  youths in driving political change and social movements in Cameroon

Explore the strategies employed by youths to mobilize and organize for political action and social change in Cameroon

Investigate the challenges faced by youths in their efforts to drive political change and social movements in Cameroon

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

What is the extent of youth involvement in political activities and social movements in Cameroon?

What is the influence of  youths in driving political change and social movements in Cameroon?

What are the strategies employed by youths to mobilize and organize for political action and social change in Cameroon?

What are the challenges faced by youths in their efforts to drive political change and social movements in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to the following:

Political parties:Examining youth engagement sheds light on the extent to which young people are involved in the political process. This includes activities such as voting, participating in political campaigns, joining political parties, or engaging in advocacy and activism. 

Cameroon government: In many contexts, including Cameroon, youth engagement is essential for fostering democratic development. By understanding the factors that influence young people's political participation, researchers and policymakers can identify strategies to enhance youth inclusion in democratic processes and institutions.

Policy makers: Research on youth engagement can inform policymakers about the needs, concerns, and aspirations of young citizens. This understanding can guide the development of policies and programs.

Academia: the research findings will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on investigate the role of youths  in driving political change and social movements in Cameroon. Empirically,  the study investigate the extent of youth involvement in political activities and social movements in Cameroon,  evaluate the influence of  youths in driving political change and social movements in Cameroon, explore the strategies employed by youths to mobilize and organize for political action and social change in Cameroon and investigate the challenges faced by youths in their efforts to drive political change and social movements in Cameroon

1.7 Limitations of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced

1.8 Definition of terms

political change: occurs when a country's government or leader changes.

social movements: a collective action taken by a group of people to tackle social problems.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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