Youth have been urged to open their minds towards sustaining interventions and enterprises for young people.
The call was made by the State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Hon. Sarah Mateke, while addressing participants of the Sixth National Youth Parliament.
The sitting held in the Parliament Chambers on Friday, 11 August 2023 brought together 250 youth from across the country.
Mateke said government has put in place interventions that will support advocacy by young people, including addressing issues like school dropouts.
“As a ministry, other line ministries together with 13 UN agencies, we are coming up with a joint programme for adolescents and youth which I believe will go a long way in consolidating efforts towards youth empowerment,” she said.
Mateke urged the discussants at the annual youth Parliament to deliberate objectively, on the output of government programmes.
The Chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Youth Affairs, Hon. Phiona Nyamutoro commended the Youth Parliament for amplifying the voices of young people in Uganda.
“We do not just come here to posture for pictures but to have a feel of your knowledge from a local perspective. Your ideas help us as legislators to bridge the gap in community dispensation of legislation,” she said.
Nyamutoro, who is also the National Female Youth Representative, urged the day’s moot legislators to represent the issues of children in the country.
“Children do not have a budget and cannot speak or analyse situations for themselves. The pace that you set today determines the future of that child watching us,” she added.
The Action Aid Country Director, Xavier Ejoyi called on Parliament to increase the budget of the National Youth Council to ensure an effective agency of young people.
“It is the future of young people that is at stake when issues like climate change, economic justice and national debt start biting. It is important for us to place young people at the centre of everything we do,” Ejoyi said.
Jacob Eyeru, the Chairperson of the National Youth Council said the theme, ‘Green skills for youth: Towards a sustainable world’, should also speak to sustainability of youth ideas and programmes.
“If we are to sustain political representation and participation of young people, we must welcome every effort to increase that capacity,” Eyeru said.
The National Youth Parliament is organised and coordinated by Faraja Africa Foundation.
The Executive Director, Emmanuel Wabwire said that there are continued shrinking civic spaces in the country noting that the National Youth Parliament is a platform to amplify youth voices.
“It also a space for advocacy and mentorship of the young people,” Wabwire added.
The Speaker of the 2023 National Youth Parliament, Sam Okot Olaa presided over debate on a motion urging government to prioritise investment in climate smart initiatives to promote the development of green skills.
The afternoon sitting was chaired by Deputy Speaker, Miriam Nampeera, who presided over debate on two motions including one urging government to increase funding towards youth programmes.
The moot youth legislators also presented a petition to Parliament whose prayers included among others, consideration of tax incentives for youth in business and youth venture start-ups.
While closing the sitting, the Eastern Youth Representative in Parliament, Hon. Bernard Odoi urged youth leaders to actively advocate for their access to favourable conditions to run businesses and lay a foundation for their future.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.