Ilona Dougherty

Ashoka Fellow
Montreal, QC, Canada
Fellow Since 2009


This profile was prepared when Ilona Dougherty was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Ilona is committed to getting apathetic youth involved with issues that impact their lives and their communities, thus increasing their civic engagement. She uses music, art, and technology as tools to connect with disengaged youth and spread democratic awareness and civic participation. Through concerts organized all over Canada, featuring popular Canadian musicians, young audiences gain awareness about community issues and volunteerism. Ilona also raises civic participation through democratic literacy workshops and an interactive web platform targeted at youth and citizen organizations (COs). The concerts and public events serve as “low risk entry points” to get large audiences to become aware of the importance of civic participation, while the workshops, website, and subsequent volunteering opportunities give youth tangible skills and avenues to get involved.

Ilona’s organization, Apathy is Boring (A is B), targets apathetic youth who remain outside the democratic process. These youth come from diverse backgrounds, including underserved as well as middle-class neighborhoods, and First Nations communities. She aims to increase youth voter turn out and increase youth community engagement.

Ilona is also bridging youth with Members of Parliament by providing a platform for dialogue. A is B sensitizes Members of Parliament and candidates about effective ways to connect with youth; increasing the key player’s awareness and understanding of the importance of youth issues.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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