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MPs, Ministries discuss youth fund establishment

By Wek Atak Kacjang

The South Sudan Youth Organizations Coalition in partnership with Christian Agency for Peace and Development is engaging the members of parliament and line Ministries in Juba to understand the pathways into Youth Enterprise Development Fund establishment.

The round table discussion was meant to discuss with line ministries, constitutional post holders and partners, the updates and progress made towards the youth policy.

“We find that the Youth Enterprise Development Fund policy is one of the most relevant documents; a policy that will start to focus on establishing youth economic growth, looking at the skills development and jobs creation,” said Peter Malir Biar, the Chairperson of the Coalition, who is also an Executive Director at Christian Agency for Peace and Development. 

“It is important to reiterate that the opportunity will make young people to start identifying avenues that finance youth development programs and projects, starting from the micro-finance programs, empowering young people in the agricultural sector and in other innovative businesses,” he added.

Malir said the unique opportunity would automatically disengage idle youth from unhelpful practices and instead embark on peace building activities should the policy be adopted.

He called on the members of parliament to push for the enactment of the enterprise development fund policy and other relevant youth policies into law.

“The MPs will have a major role in pushing the policy to be adopted. We would be able to achieve the millstone if this bill and others are passed and adopted into law,” Malir explained.

“We want to score teamwork, where young members of parliament are able to table the Bill and put into law as well as they also get debated at the council of states level, and at the grassroots so that the youth are elevated,” the chairperson concluded.

 Bol Pio Tem, a Member of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) who represents Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, Aweil East area said they (young MPs) would take a lead to push for passing of the youth policies.

“We are here as youth because it is our program. So, we will work hard to make sure that those policies are deliberated and passed by the parliament. We will also support other bills like the Copyright law which are not yet in place,” he explained.

According to Mr. Tem, the policies will support the young people in terms of elevating them.

The MP revealed that the challenges facing youth were topped by unemployment, which he said should be eradicated if the youth bills are pushed through.

“Among the challenges facing youth is unemployment, no funding for the youth programs and initiatives, no scholarship to support the educational, youth activities like sports, and programs that support them to disengage from bad practices, so we hope these policies will help the young people,”

The MP promised that his colleagues will continue to shed lights on issues facing so that they parliament talk about them on daily basis.

The youth pending bills included youth enterprise fund, youth policy and other related like copyright laws.  The copyright law protects creative youth in terms of arts, music and other activities to safeguard the ideas and their programs. 

During the same event, the fact sheet on youth representation in the revitalized transitional government of national unity was launched.

The report revealed that youth representation stands at 16% at all levels of government in South Sudan.

At the national executive, youth representation stands at 11% (5 out of 44), at states governorship, youth representation rests at 25% (5 out of 20), at Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly, youth representation stands at 14% (75 out 550) and at local Government, youth representation stands at 13.5% (10 out of 74). But according to the South Sudan Youth Development Policy draft, youth proposed for 20% representation at all levels of government. South Sudan is yet to determine the definition of youth. Nevertheless, the Youth Development Policy proposed 15-35 as age bracket for youth definition if passed into law.

The coalition said it was an action needed to help the young people work together in a bid to bridge the youth representation gap at all levels. The event supported by the Norwegian People’s Aid was attended by the representatives from the line ministries of Youth and Sports as well as Justice and Constitutional Affairs, members of parliament from all the parties to the peace accord and youth representatives respectively. 

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