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Interview for STEP - (France) is a French platform that aims to provide information and tools in order to help young people to get involved in public life. Voxe team accepted to answer some questions about their work, and about the future they see in youth participation.

What is and how does it work?

Voxe: is a media that allows young people (18-25 years-old) to get better information, for a better involvement. renders accessible the issues of today’s world.

This ambition takes place through the VoxeBot, a conversational intelligence that helps users to understand better the public life and to involve themselves more easily, but also through Voxe Academy’s workshops, a popular education program for civic and political topics.

Thanks to, youngsters form their own opinion and can impact the society by signing petitions, by contacting their representatives, by involving themselves in a positive initiative, or simply by debating with their peers.

Voxe is made up of 6 full-time workers, from 20 to 30-years-old. Léonore de Roquefeuil is the President, Charles Deffrennes is the head of Voxe Academy and Lucile Fauviaux orchestrates it, Laura Rouaux is in charge of Voxe’s contents, Clara-Douce Mc Grath is business developer, and Laurène Piron is the social media manager.

Any positive results so far?

V: For the election year 2016-2017 (primary, presidential and legislative elections in France), started a campaign called #hello2017. This online campaign allowed more than one million French people to feel like being actors of the election by enquiring about fundamental issues (thanks to videos like this one or this one), by comparing political programs, by questioning the candidates and by debating in real life. We got more than 500 written and video answers from the candidates, that can be partly found on our YouTube channel.

Because the debate must also happen out of internet, we organised a tour of France in order to meet the 18 to 24-years-olds: the VoxeTour. 30 youngsters from all around France went for a 3-week trip in order to debate with other young people on their concerns: health, education, employment, culture, gender equality… etc. At the end of this tour, we compiled more than 800 propositions, collected from the 5000 young people we met.

Today we ask a meeting with Macron (#RDVavecMacron) in order to represent them, and to make this mandate a recurring meeting between the French youths and the executive power.

Last success: the VoxeBot, that today gathers tens of thousands of users and that offers several subscriptions. It is possible to:
1/ receive a summary of the news of the week on Saturday morning
2/ access a set of files, for a better understanding of hot topics
3/ inform citizens on causes for which they could involve themselves, and help them to feel useful and to act in their daily life

Since this summer we offer as well a set of jokes and riddles that is enjoyed very much by our users and that offers a “relaxing” moment to VoxeBot’s friends.

Do you think that the development of e-participation tools can lead to a better inclusion of young people in political discussions?

V: Yes, we are convinced that it can! We notice that more and more people are interested in new forms of online commitment:  petition-signing, participation to online consultations (for example for the “Republique Numerique” law draft, or more recently, the consultation about the modernisation of our National Assembly), information-sharing on social networks,… etc.

Today, among youngsters who want to involve themselves, many of them do not know how to do so. We need to offer them some tools that are adapted to their way of life and that give them the possibility to activate the adequate “levers” of action in a quick and simple way.

Is e-participation a good lever in order to overcome environmental concerns on the local/national/European level?

V: Of course, for this domain as well as for other questions.

According to us, providing better information on these questions means allowing citizens to develop a better understanding of these matters. Informing is already a first step that can lead people to go further and to involve themselves more concretely. Soon, citizens will be able to question directly their MP during the law-voting process (for example, on the glyphosate ban), thanks to the VoxeBot. Through the bot, we will also offer them other forms of online participation: discovering a positive environmental initiative, relaying a campaign, or even donating.

The citizens, more informed and more involved, will be able to mobilise themselves more efficiently on causes that affect them, and to have more influence over decision-makers, in their street as well as on the European scale.