Mogadishu, 26 July 2016
Public Discussion on the Role of Somali Youth in Political Participation was held at Makka Mukarama Hotel in Mogadishu on 25 July 2016. Centre for Community Awareness (CCA) organized the event with the support of civil society organizations in Somalia.
Attendees of the event included senior politicians, leaders of political parties, representatives from civil society groups, traditional and religious leaders, women, youth and all segments of the society, senior officials from government institutions, and representatives from most of Somali media practitioners.
Participants of the event while praised current leaders for including in the cabinet a number of young people which is a first step forward, nevertheless expressed their serious concern regarding the lack of young people in all decision making bodies including the parliament and other institutions and called on all concerned parties and in particular for the leadership of the Government of Somalia, civil society groups and all segments of the society to advocate and promote the role of young people in political participation.
Stakeholders of the event noted that young people below the age of 35 years old constitute over 70% of the population in Somalia. Young people are not formally represented in national political institutions such as parliaments and many of them do not participate in elections. This can impact on the quality of democratic governance in the country. Therefore urged the immediate inclusion of youth in formal politics.
Therefore, stakeholders of the event noted that youth is a positive force for transformative social change, and participants agreed to help enhance youth political participation in order to jointly overcome all the challenges faced our young people in reaching out to their full potentiality.
Participants of the event calls on all key stakeholders in Somali society to work as partners for the interest of their mutual understanding on how to further enhance youth participation in the political process, which is very important to the society. Participants also noted that there is a much needed debate and public discussion on this very important matter, therefore, agreed to extend holding similar public debates in the future and to be more effective as a continuous effort than as a one-off event before an election. Young people who participate actively in their community from early on are more likely to become engaged citizens and voters.
Participants agreed that young people have much to offer to the societies, such as innovation, creativity and new thinking. Youth participation in politics promotes active citizenship, strengthens social responsibility and can enhance democratic processes and institutions. Young citizens are tomorrow’s leaders and decision-makers, therefore, it is appropriate and right to b empowered them right now.
Participants also agreed that participation is a fundamental democratic right and there is an urgent need to overcome all the existing challenges to youth political participation.
Participants of the event agreed the following recommendations:
1. Leaders of the government, religious and traditional Leaders should encourage young people to seek political positions and to provide an environment that is conducive for youth to be active citizens within the society;
2. Encourage affirmative action measures such as youth and women quotas within political institutions. Participants agreed the importance to allocate young people at-least 30% quota for the parliament and in the cabinet and because of the current clan power-sharing, an extra 30% should be specifically allocated to young people as a way of ensuring young politicians are in the parliament;
3. To provide young people flexible support with low access barriers to innovative, small-scale youth projects;
4. Participants welcomed the Speaker of parliament’s efforts to establish a youth parliament, and encourages the speaker to ensure to speedy up this process so that a youth parliament is established before the end of the term of current parliament;
5. To support the development of strong political party youth wings;
6. Include and allocate a quota for youth on the recently established election commission and all the process of the 2016 electoral model systems such as regional election commission, and the current Somali Leaders Forum, as poll station workers and election observers;
7. To allocate young people 70% of the constituency assembly that elects MPs;
8. To conduct further research on this matter, so our policy makers will have a data and objective analysis that can help them to make an informed decisions to empower young people.
9. Encourage continuous youth participation and civic education in schools, universities and public places including public institutions;
10. Support youth-led community development and volunteering organizations.
For further information, please contact:
Center For Community Awareness ( CCA )
CCA HQ Office – Jaale Siyaad Road Wadajir District
Near Aden Adde Airport Mogadishu Somalia
TEL: 628801/ 2/3 +252 61-5514482/ +25261-7229999
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