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Youth parliament give young people a chance to be heard

The sittings shape the agenda on issues affecting young people. Once motions are passed they are taken to relevant authorities for implementation

Roy Lumbe @lumbe_roy

The debaters are articulate  about what they believe in. As the clock ticks, they stand up, one by one, each an elected representative from different wards within Nakuru county. They speak their mind with such gallantry you would think they are accomplished lawyers.

Some of the ceremonies they perform are as official as they are in the august House. The only difference is that the decision makers are young people.

The proceeds have been organised by  Nakuru youth who have established their own mobile parliament where they discuss issues before engaging the local leaders.

Unlike other parliaments, laughter was a part of serious education debate during this particular proceeding, which end in constructive conclusions.

The Nakuru county youth parliament is the second to be established, with Ugunja youth parliament being the first. The house provides a completely new way to make the voices of young people heard at the county and national level.

The parliament consists of a mixture of youth programmes and a simulation of the parliamentary proceedings of the national assembly for youth aged between 18 and 35 years.

It gives young people an insight into the workings of the national assembly and raises their awareness of how government operates.

Members meet after every two weeks to hold debates, make decisions that affect the youth and the marginalised persons within the community.

According to the house speaker, Martin Lunalo, the parliament empowers them to raise awareness and debate the issues important to young people in Nakuru.

“The model of parliament provides us with measures to be considered for effective governance and also raise awareness on important issues for young people within the community,” says Lunalo.

He notes that elected members of the youth parliament work with MPs, service providers, and decision makers in order to present the views of their constituents to them.

“Elected members work with local leaders to make sure what we pass here is implemented,” he adds. There is a quota of members allocated for every ward according to the youth population in the areas they represent.

The delegations are then spread out in different committees, each committee with a particular mandate. The committees include, the socio-economic; security, law and integrity; education and careers; as well as culture, sports, patriotism and integration.

Any successful resolutions are then forwarded to the relevant authorities be it the county or the MPs office in specific wards for considerations.

As a model parliament for young people, the youth Parliament of Nakuru has partnered with Amref Health Africa to mould them on leadership skills.

Jane Kyalo, a member of the house, said the youth parliament is not a place where they simply mimic leaders, but it’s rather a tool for the youth to exercise their constitutional rights.

 The first day of the youth parliament sitting concluded with four motions on Early Childhood Development being proposed and passed.

Speaker Lunalo challenged youth to be active in matters of social accountability as far as county projects are concerned in order to realise improved service delivery from elected leaders. He stated that the only way to improve governance is through involving young people.

The Nakuru youth parliament raised concern over the state of the Early Childhood Development centres in various parts of the county, which they said need to be addressed through a policy framework.

Robert Athewa from Amref Health Africa says youth parliaments are paramount in shaping governance agenda more so in matters  concerning youth.

“Youth parliament is one of the initiatives we believe will be a good platform for youth to engage the leaders on  policy matters.

As Amref Health Africa in Kenya we will continue to support such to ensure good policies in counties concerning health and youth” said Athewa.

Already the fruits of youth parliament are being felt in Ugunja, Siaya county as youths have deliberated on various issues affecting them and through such proceedings and  several bills are now in place.

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