Ranging between the ages of 20 and 35 years old from Southern, Central and Northern regions of Bougainville, the participants are being empowered to discuss issues that concern them.
The first two days focused on educating them on various social, political and economic issues ranging from topics such as the Bougainville Peace Agreement, the forthcoming Referendum, international treaties, human rights and Bougainville’s youth policy, as well as a series of presentations by relevant Bougainville Government departments.
The third and fourth day consisted of intensive training sessions on Bougainville’s Parliamentary set-up and legislative procedures, and preparation of the mock bills. The actual Mock Youth Parliament held on the last day at the Bougainville House of Representatives sees the participants acting out their roles and putting into practice what they have learnt.
The Mock Youth Parliament training aims to: (1) Increase the knowledge of young people on the issues affecting their lives and on Parliamentary procedures; (2) Increase the self-confidence, motivation and skills of young people to be agents of change in their communities; and (3) Facilitate young people’s understanding of civil matters pertaining to peace building, autonomy arrangements and other areas relevant to the young people of Bougainville.
The first Mock Youth Parliament held in Bougainville in 2013 was conducted in partnership with the ABG Parliamentary Services and National Youth Development Authority (NYDA), with support by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
As a result of that training, Noah Doko, one of the participants, stood for the 2015 ABG elections and won the Member of Central Bougainville seat. His current portfolio is on the ex-combatants and he has been supportive of youth-related initiatives.
Other young people that participated in the 2013 Mock Youth Parliament have taken on various leadership roles within their own communities.
In Bougainville, about 60% of the population are young people. This is comparable to the rest of Papua New Guinea.
UNFPA is committed to continuing its collaboration with the ABG and stakeholders to inform and empower young people to fulfil their potential.
With the financial support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the 5-day Mock Youth Parliament in Buka is jointly organised by the UNFPA, the ABG, the Bougainville House of Representatives, World Vision and the NYDA.