Friday 18 June 2021
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Engage young people in the legislative process

Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi urged young parliamentarians to raise important issues during their sessions as their recommendations will be forwarded to the line ministries for consideration.
Held in Windhoek, the mission of the Namibian Children’s Parliament is to create a developing society with high sense of responsibility, of which children and the youth are part, with adults as partners.
A further goal of the Children’s Parliament is to lobby or advise government and its agencies responsible for law-making and their implementing machinery to fast track policies that would improve the rights and welfare of children and young persons. This is in accordance with national legal instruments and the international convention’s provisions.
Officially opened on Monday 19th August by Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Professor Peter Katjavivi. Ninety-eight young people from Namibia’s 14 regions are gathered for the event that seeks to both familiarise young people with the legislative process and adopt legislation and policies pertaining to the rights of children. The session ends today.
“The purpose of the Children Parliament is to inculcate or cultivate a democratic culture amongst our youth as they prepare to become leaders of tomorrow. It calls for the need to provide space for different views to be heard, including those views that you may not necessarily agree with as articulated in Articles 17 and 21 of the constitution of Namibia,” said Hon Katjavivi.
“The fourth session of the Children’s Parliament was held from 06th to 10th May 2013. Altogether we had 98 motions that were tabled and debated. Input from the fourth session were incorporated in the Child Care and Protection Act and Policy on the need to give a second chance to young pregnant girls to go back to school after delivery as well as those who fail Grade 10,” Katjavivi further noted.
The speaker said that in Namibia great importance is attached to the rights of its children, as Namibia has enacted and ratified domestic and international conventions aimed at protecting the rights of children.
“The National Assembly has over the years passed and adopted national laws and international instruments to protect the children and promote their rights such as UN Convention on the rights of the child, ILO Convention on prohibition of worsts forms of Child Labour, the Combating of Rape Act, Child Protection Act and National Orphans and Vulnerable Children Policy among others”, stated Katjavivi.
The learners underwent an induction programme and were sworn in on Monday for a two-year period as members of the Fifth Children’s Parliament with Speaker (Nevel Ndoli from the Zambezi Region) and Deputy Speaker (Josefina Ankonya from the Erongo Region). A number of Standing Committees were formed to tackle issues on education, ICT, rights of children, climate change, health and other social matters.
UNICEF’s Country Representative, Rachell Odede at the opening event said that the Children’s Parliament was an opportunity for young people to make their voices heard and address societal issues that continue to affect their welfare.
“This is an opportunity for children to engage lawmakers and show them their aspirations, hopes and fears and make sure that every right is realised for every child now and generations to come.
Decisions we take should be in the best interest of children because we would like them to inherit a better planet.
This is an opportunity for young people to be listened to. Too many young lives are cut short today because children are subjected to issues of discrimination, climate change, violence and conflict among others”, said Odede.
The theme for this session is the Children’s Parliament is “Engaging young people in the legislative process” and members were on Wednesday addressed by Edward Ndopu, an internationally acclaimed activist and humanitarian who is also physically disabled.
Ndopu has worked for many leading organisations including, RTW Investments, World Economic Forum, UN Women and Amnesty International.
He is soon expected to make history by being the first physically disabled person to travel into space, from where he aims to deliver a televised address to the United Nations to create awareness surrounding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Namibian-born Ndopu encouraged young parliamentarians and especially children with disabilities to overcome all odds and amplify the voices of young people in Namibia.
Calling the youth the “generation unlimited”, Ndopu said that perseverance should form part of the qualities of young people if change is to be realised.
“You may use my life as a reference point.
I was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy and told I wouldn’t live beyond the age of five but because of the enduring power of the human spirit here I am and I am an advocate for SDGs”, said Ndopu to loud applause.
“If it’s possible for a young disabled boy born in Windhoek, it’s also possible for you”, Ndopu concluded.

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