This September, 85 young men and women selected from all walks of Benin will take over the law-making house to deliberate on issues of great concerns to the country.

These youth will be looking into issues from gender, conditions of women, youth, economy and security, Master Abdou Fard Badarou Vice-president of the Youth Parliament, Benin noted.

The Youth Parliament of Benin is a nonpartisan organization that has been in existence since 2007 and recognized by the Ministry of Interior with a mission to give young people a real understanding of democracy in the National Assembly of Benin.

The current Parliament is the third, these 85 representatives are selected nationwide through a competitive contest on a topical issue,

These young men and women must be aged between 18 to 24 years with a three-year term in office.

These youth are expected offer institutions of the Republic, an instrument of law favoring the condition of youth and be a platform for advocacy for young people; as well as touch on issues related to living conditions of youth, design and implement projects that benefit young people.

It also develops a framework document for the improvement of youth National Youth Forum on Co-Development Concept by also conduct training sessions with youth parliaments in the region and the world in order to build capacity and partnerships

With about two years to end his term of office, Badarou is convinced that youth are a key part of any democracy. “We believe that it is not only our right to be included in political decision-making, but also our perspectives, ideas, talents and energy are key to addressing many challenges faced in the country by people of all ages.”

He is convinced that youth parliament will succeed in shifting the discourse from promotion of youth consultation to youth representation, which will aim at ensuring an important step in the wider engagement of the youth in democracy.

According to the outspoken youth parliamentarian, his country Benin has always supported democracy and youth, thus encouraging youth participation through the promotion of increased youth representation in politics and decision-making.

“The Youth Parliament of Benin brings young people to understand and debate the major issues in Benin; encourage training of intellectual and leadership qualities among young people from Benin, but also to offer the institutions of the republic legal instruments that can promote their conditions.” He underscored.

According to the young legislator, this platform has provided networking and capacity-building platforms for him both at the global, regional and national levels.

STORY BY: Florence Y. Gbolu

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