Mano River Union Youth Parliament

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Info

What is the MRU youth parliament?

The Mano River Union Youth Parliament (MRUYP) is a sub-regional network of young peace builders, students, journalists, development practitioners and human rights activists within the Mano River Union Basin (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea) that advocates for peace, human rights and the development of young men, women and their communities. The MRUYP is an initiative of the West African Youth Network (WAYN) in collaboration with the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA) and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders Sierra Leone (UNOY Sierra Leone).

How did it start?

The parliament was launched during a training seminar on Peace building and Conflict Resolution which was held in Freetown, Sierra Leone in August 2003 and was attended by more than forty young people from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The idea of the youth parliament was a direct reaction to the marginalised position of youth; they are hardly involved in the peacebuilding process and or not considered as positive actors. In the conflict-torn region of the Mano River Union, efforts have been made to support the peace-building initiatives of women and civil society, but no comparable efforts were made to invest and promote the role of youth leaders, who not only represent an enormous potential for change in post-conflict situations, but often also are the key actors in the community development and social transformation among their peers.

Why?

The MRU Youth Parliament is a major attempt to change the mindsets that have slowed the progress towards genuine empowerment of youth to participate in major issues affecting their survival, development and growth. bring together MRU youth leaders working for peace-building and non violent conflict resolution in view of empowering their capacities; sharing of field experiences; networking to overcome their isolation; to improve the effectiveness of their projects and to achieve more advocacy power. The youth parliament should act as a catalyst for youth empowerment in the region.

What do they do?

The members of the parliament will meet yearly in the country of the president of the parliament to discuss their actionplan. This year the session was held in Conakry from the 21-25th November 2004. Each country-delegation is responsible for undertaking action and projects in their homecountry relating to the focus-areas of the parliament. The first year (2003-2004) of the parliament was used to spread the information on the youth parliament, to become known by authorities and other organisations and to select good members. The first year was closed with a common project of al members of parliament: a peace-caravan through the MRU. You can find more information on this project on page…

The coming year the parliament will continue to set up projects in the following areas:

MRU Youth Building Peace

Young People play a central role in the prevention of violence and conflict, as well as in the actions to bring peace in war torn societies. In a region, ridden by conflict, the strategic target of this group is to mainstream the role of young people as peace-builders.

 

Youth Advocacy

This working group has a key strategic orientation to serve as a link between young field workers and decision makers. As several members off the Parliament are field workers we consider it important to open communication channels and possibilities for lobbying and bringing youth concerns forward at a top level. This group undertakes campaigns and movements; looks for access to the media, identifies strategic opportunities to influence youth participation at the local and regional level.

 

MRU Revitalization Working Group

This Group will work on the survival of the region through regional and economic reintegration as the Mano River Union is seen to be critical to the survival of the three countries. The Group therefore seeks to engage in concrete activities aimed at revitalizing the Mano River Union Secretariat and promoting the spirit and protocols of the Union.

 

MRU Human Rights

The objective of this group is to promote human rights and the rule of law on the sub-region. Consequently, they will focus on researching, information exchanges, monitoring and dissemination with emphasis on the rights of women and children.

 

Youth Fighting HIV/AIDS

This group will concentrate on looking for effective actions by young people to prevent the spread of HIV/aids and at the same time taking action to fight discrimination and stigmatizing associated with the disease.

 

 

Past Activities

SECOND SESSION, MANO RIVER UNION YOUTH PARLIAMENT

The 2nd MRU Youth Parliament was held in Monrovia in August 2007.  The Opening Session was addressed by the President of Liberia, Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

See Report

FIRST SESSION, MANO RIVER UNION YOUTH PARLIAMENT

The First Session of the MRU Youth Parliament was organized in Conakry, Guinea FROM 21-25 November. The Session, which was a follow up to the MRU Youth Training Workshop on Peace building held in Freetown in 2003, was sponsored by the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA). It brought together forty youth leaders from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The Opening and Closing Session of the Parliament was held in the National Parliamentary Building in Guinea. The first session provided the forum for the Parliament to deliberate on key issues affected young people in the region. At the end of the Parliament, the participants adopted a New Statues and a Collective Plan of Action. It must be noted that the Government of Guinea, through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture assisted greatly with the implementation of the Parliament’s activities.

 

MANO RIVER UNION DIALOGUE DAY

The MRU Dialogue Day was held on 23 November and form part of the activities of the MRU Youth Parliament. It was designed to bring together policy makers and young people to discuss the future of the MRU. The Programme was addressed by the Acting Secretary general of the Mano River Union. MR. H. M. B. Tejan, Mohammed Toure, Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Anthony Koroma, Director of Youth, Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Oumar Ndongo, Director, MRU Peace and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Guinea. Some of the key issues arising from the discussion include the Free Movement of People, the protocols of the MRU and Youth Participation; and HIV/AIDS. A Mechanism to ensure an effective follow up of the Recommendations arising from the Dialogue Day has been put into place.

 

Mano River Union Peace Caravan

The involvement of young people in peace building activities remains a vital component of the agenda of WAYN. Being cognizant of this, an unprecedented and rewarding Peace Caravan was organized by WAYN and the MRU Youth Parliament in November. The Caravan brought together young people from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and was sponsored by Plan Netherlands, Alert (The Netherlands), Xminy Solidarity Funds (The Netherlands) and Afroneth (The Netherlands).

- Report 2003|Booklet -

 

 

Contact (MRU Youth Parliament)

President / Guinean delegation: Mohamed Toure

motoure1@hotmail.com

 

Liberian delegation: Ernest Varflee

unylib@yahoo.com

 

Sierra Leonean delegation: Donald Kalokoh

mruyp_regional@yahoo.com