The National Youth Parliament is an important political and legislative space and creative advocacy vehicle that brings together the National Youth Council (NYC), the Uganda National Students Association – (UNSA), Activista Network, You Lead Network, ACDEG Chapter, and young people from civil society organizations, the private sector, and cultural institutions among others. Since its start in 2018, it has been held around the UN International Youth Day as part of the commemoration engagements that play a pivotal role in amplifying youth voices to legislators. Uganda has been a key stakeholder in ensuring that the young people’s issues are included in the National legislative agenda; although, in the 9th and 10th parliaments, it has been quite challenging to ensure community participation in passing various bills into law especially those related with young people. The National Youth Parliament, therefore, is key as it strongly contributes to the participation of such excluded community members.
The 3rd National Youth Parliament Sitting organized under the Platform for Youth Inclusion in Policy (PYIP) coordinated by Faraja Africa Foundation together with partners, the European Union, Democratic Governance Facility DGF and Parliament of Uganda, at Royal Suites Bugolobi on 14th August 2020 under the theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action” in commemoration of the International Youth Day. It was a safe place for youth inclusion in decision making and brought together over 900 voices of young leaders, professionals, and people to the Parliament of Uganda right from the regional level to the national level: leaving no voice unheard.
The 2020 National Youth Parliament was all-inclusive, as it started from the regional level covering Western, Northern, WestNile, Rwenzori, and Eastern Region, all the way to the national level. For each region, 20 young people attended physically and over 50 online. The climax was the National Youth Parliament sitting which convened 30 young people from across the country physically at a half-day event while over 200 attended the session digitally via zoom conferencing. The proceedings were also broadcasted live on NTV and PYIP Partners’ Social Media platforms.
The event commenced with young people holding a scientific election to select the speaker of the 3rd National Youth Parliament. The selection process saw two candidates; Hon. Abenawe Allan from the Western region and Hon. Olara Daniel from the Northern region, with Hon. Allan Abenawe emerging successful. The opening ceremony was graced by the State Minister for Youth Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, the European Union Head of Delegation Ambassador Attilio Pacifici And the Chairperson National Youth Council Hon. Lilian Aber.
The young honourable members debated on issues that are pertinent to young people in Uganda summarized in the order paper. Issues identified in the regional Youth Parliaments and consultative engagements/dialogues fed into the motions moved at the National Youth Parliament in Uganda and consequently, the East African Youth Parliament Sitting in November 2020. These motions included; Motion on matters of young people’s participation in the upcoming electoral process, Motion on the need for government interventions for young entrepreneurs and start-ups that have been affected by COVID 19 disruptions, Motion on matters relating to increased cases of sexual abuse against young people especially during the COVID19 lockdown, Motion on the fate of learners and students amidst the COVID19 pandemic. Notable in attendance was the outgoing 2019 Youth Parliament Speaker, Hon. Winnie Adur.
The chief guest, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, the speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, opened and commissioned the National Youth Parliament as a special sitting of the Ugandan Parliament.
“The past two National Youth Parliament have informed discussions on the floor of parliament that concern issues raised by you, like Sexual Offenses bill, the African Charter on Election democracy and good governance, among others. Our commitment to ensuring that issues discussed here are discussed on floor parliament followed up and resolved still stands…we look forward to continuing our partnership with Faraja Africa Foundation with PYIP partners to ensure more meaningful engagement.” ~Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga- Speaker of the Uganda Parliament
The National Youth Parliament draws the attention of key decision-makers to issues apposite to young people’s livelihood, creates a safe space for young people and allows the aggregation of young voices to collectively push back against non-youth friendly reforms, across the country. Faraja Africa Foundation will continue to