A strategy to make children’s voices heard is the Youth Parliament, the successor to the Child Parliament which was established in 2002. The Youth Parliament coming under the umbrella of the National Assembly, supported by UNICEF, will continue to be a key forum through which children and young people will make their views and opinions known. Outcomes of the debates will be included in the reports of the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services for debate on the floor of the House.
The goal of the youth parliament is to ensure that young people play a constructive role in the development of the country. Children’s voices cannot be left out if meaningful democracy and development are to be achieved.
Malawi is a young country. Over half its population is aged under 18 years, and the young people aged 19 – 24 years swell the numbers to 60% of the total population. From 2002, Malawi held the Children’s Parliament annually. In 2011, the country decided to transition to a Youth Parliament in line with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s action plan. This move was also in line with the Malawi Parliament’s own strategic plan of 2010 – 2015. The key challenge faced by the Children’s Parliament was the lack of linkage with the Malawi Parliament. This institutionalisation of the Youth Parliament in the National Assembly is therefore key to ensuring that resolutions follow the proper legal processes and are implemented via the main Parliament. Through the Youth Parliament, young people from all 193 constituencies are given the opportunity to take part in the decision making of Malawi.
Strategies and Actions