Public service is not only the responsibility of governments. For-profit and nonprofit organizations are major providers of public goods and services, as are citizens in their respective different capacities. The community as co-producer or primary provider of public service is an increasing phenomenon. The concept of “Citizen Driven Government” describes this practice in public administration. Prevalent instances of citizen driven government are found in the areas of health, education, crime reduction and gender sensitization. This paper elaborates on the role of youth in the delivery of a community driven public service for the Thaba–Tseka district in Lesotho. It describes their participation in planning, designing and implementing of a drama project to enhance knowledge and change behavior surrounding the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Qualitative and quantitative results presented in this analysis reveal the impact of the community-youth-driven initiative. The active participation and discussion on issues, facilitated by their use of drama, improved openness, confidence, open communication between peers, youth and adults surrounding HIV/AIDS. This improvement in communication represents transformative behavior for a culture where silence and limited openness about sexual issues (HIV/AIDS in particular) are presumed to be protective of the youth and too embarrassing for adults. This level of public service in Lesotho by these young people was in essence an extension of what the Ministry of Health, Education and Youth Sports and Gender were tasked to do. In conclusion, this analysis argues for more youth driven activities in an era where governments have limited resources and are relying more on citizens as co-producers of public goods and services.