Democracy Unplugged

Navigating the Digital Frontier for Youth Political Participation

In an era where digital technologies shape the very fabric of our societies, the future of democracy hinges on our ability to harness the opportunities presented by these advancements while navigating the inherent risks. As affirmed by UN leaders in September 2022, placing human rights at the heart of tech governance is not just a necessity but a moral imperative.

Restless Development supports young people to ensure their voices are heard and to challenge increasing threats to democracy and civic space globally. Our State of Youth Civil Society report exposed the poignant challenges faced by activists, especially those perceived as “too political”, due to the constraints imposed by big tech companies. This censorship, subtly imposed on youth movements, particularly those led by young women, underscores a delicate balance between ensuring a safe digital space and upholding the democratic right to express dissent. 

In February 2024, Restless Development will publish a youth-led research project on the role and impact of civic tech tools in shaping the political participation, accountability, and transparency of young Nigerians. We aim to spotlight findings from these two pieces of work and ignite a global conversation on the future of democracy in the digital age focussing on the opportunities and risks that technology such as AI will have on young people’s participation in politics. Specifically, the panel will share their experiences and reflect on different case studies to show how human rights laws should and can apply to data and digital technologies.

This panel discussion aims to:

  • explore the pivotal role of digital technologies, including AI, in shaping the trajectory of democracy, with a specific focus on their impact on the political participation of young people. 
  • share insights from key global case studies, to illustrate the considerable, yet untapped, potential that civic tech holds for political participation.


Bartosz Kubiak

Bartosz Kubiak is the Chairman of the Academy of Civic Knowledge (AWO) and the Head of the Warsaw office at Aspen Institute Central Europe. Bartosz is currently leading an NGO focused on reforming civil service in Poland and building strong state institutions. He is also a member of the European Democracy Youth Network – an initiative for young public sector leaders. Bartosz is a former public affairs consultant who has worked for over 40 international companies advising them on domestic and EU regulatory issues. Bartosz completed a Transatlantic Future Leaders Forum scholarship at the US Congress in 2018. He interned with Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL). Bartosz is a graduate of Law with American Law at the University of East Anglia.


Tlamelo Cindy Melemo

Tlamelo Cindy Melemo has worked as a Technology for Development officer for UNICEF Rwanda. She is the CEO of SoftBerry Solutions, a company that specializes in technology solutions. She is also the CEO of a start-up called Sebaga Africa which exports African products to international markets. She is certified in SAP Terp10 and is the founder and president of WoTech Botswana (women in technology.)

Željko Vukša-Fejzić

Željko Vukša-Fejzić, a Sarajevo native with legal expertise and significant political experience, has held leadership roles in organizations like the European Law Students Association, the FBiH Youth Council and the Youth of the Party of democratic action (SDA). He is a Robert Schuman Institute and NDI alumnus. He currently holds delegate positions in the Council of Europe; and the FBiH Parliament’s Youth Commission where he provides guidance, advice, and recommendations for the development of youth policy in the Federation; and serves as Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the largest political party in BiH. As Chief of Staff, he influences decisions on all topics, including those related to digital governance and digital security.

Mwila Chriseddy Bwanga

Mwila Chriseddy Bwanga has eight years of experience in the leadership and governance development space across Africa. He is a social entrepreneur, an award-winning governance expert,  and Executive Director at BeRelevant Africa. Mwila has been listed as one of Zambia’s Best Governance Minds below 35 and was awarded a Governance Accomplishment Award during the 2020 National Youth Awards by the Government of the Republic of Zambia. Mwila was the youngest contesting Member of Parliament for Nchanga Constituency in Chingola and on the Copperbelt during Zambia’s 2021 General Elections and came out third in a race with five candidates.

Interested to learn more? For more information on this session, please get in touch with us at