Minister Mateke Urges Youth to Sustain Initiatives at National Youth Parliament

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Hon. Sarah Mateke, the State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, has called upon the youth to embrace a mindset that supports the continuity of interventions and initiatives for young people. She made this appeal while addressing participants at the Sixth National Youth Parliament, held in the Parliament Chambers on Friday, August 11, 2023. The event brought together 250 youth from diverse regions across the country.

Minister Mateke highlighted the government’s commitment to backing advocacy efforts by young individuals and tackling issues such as school dropouts through targeted interventions. She emphasized that the government, along with other ministries and 13 United Nations agencies, is collaborating on a joint program designed to empower adolescents and youth. This initiative aims to strengthen the ongoing endeavors toward youth empowerment.

In her address, Minister Mateke urged the attendees of the annual youth Parliament to engage in objective discussions regarding the outcomes of government programs.

Hon. Phiona Nyamutoro, Chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Youth Affairs and National Female Youth Representative, praised the Youth Parliament for its role in amplifying the voices of young Ugandans. She emphasized that the platform served a crucial purpose beyond mere photo opportunities, allowing legislators to better understand community perspectives and subsequently bridge gaps in legislative dispensation.

Nyamutoro stressed the significance of the youth representatives’ role in advocating for the concerns of children in the country, highlighting that children lack budgets and voices to analyze situations independently. She emphasized that the actions taken during the Youth Parliament set the trajectory for the future of the nation’s youth.

Xavier Ejoyi, Country Director of Action Aid, called on Parliament to allocate a larger budget to the National Youth Council to ensure the effectiveness of youth agency. Ejoyi underscored the importance of prioritizing young people’s involvement in addressing pressing issues like climate change, economic justice, and national debt.

Jacob Eyeru, Chairperson of the National Youth Council, noted that the event’s theme, “Green skills for youth: Towards a sustainable world,” should extend beyond environmental considerations. Eyeru urged sustained investment in political representation and participation of young people to strengthen their capacity and contributions.

The National Youth Parliament, organized by the Faraja Africa Foundation, serves as a vital platform to amplify the voices of youth. Emmanuel Wabwire, the Executive Director of the foundation, highlighted the shrinking civic spaces in the country and affirmed that the Youth Parliament offers an avenue for advocacy and mentorship.

During the session, Sam Okot Olaa, the Speaker of the 2023 National Youth Parliament, presided over discussions on a motion urging the government to prioritize investments in climate-smart initiatives and green skills development.

The afternoon session, led by Deputy Speaker Miriam Nampeera, addressed two motions, including one advocating for increased funding for youth programs.

The youth representatives also presented a petition to Parliament, seeking considerations such as tax incentives for youth in business and startups.

Hon. Bernard Odoi, Eastern Youth Representative in Parliament, concluded the session by urging youth leaders to proactively advocate for favorable conditions to run businesses and pave the way for their future endeavors.

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