December 01; With the objective of prioritising the future of the young people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PILDAT and UNDP Pakistan jointly organised and conducted a Youth Dialogue on Mainstreaming Young Men and Women in Policy Processes in Peshawar.
Representatives of the Provincial Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as members of Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa sat down together to engage with youth representatives. These included Ms. Madiha Nisar, MPA (PTI) and Vice President of Women Parliamentary Caucus & Deputy Convenor Young Parliamentary Forum in KP Assembly, Ms. Asia Saleh Khattak, MPA (PTI), Sardar Ranjeet Singh, MPA (MMA), Mr. Waqar Ahmed Khan, MPA (ANP), Ms. Rehana Ismail, MPA (MMA), and Ms. Rabia Sattar, Central Joint Secretary ANP.
In their presentations to representatives of the Provincial Government and Opposition, Young students shared policy issues on Education, Harassment, Drug Abuse, Youth Access to Legislatures and Policy Makers and Leadership Crisis. Youth representatives presented detailed key policy recommendations to MPAs, some of which include the following:
- Revival of student unions across academic institutions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Inclusion of topics relating to working of democracy, awareness of basic laws, political rights and democratic institutions on campuses
- Promotion of intra-party democracy in each political party to facilitate inclusion of youth in the political process at all levels
- Increment in number of merit based scholarships at universities
- Opportunities of organizing seminars with professionals from various fields
- Encouragement of internship opportunities from private and public sector companies to students and young graduates
- Facilitation of MOUs between different national and international varsities to provide abundant cultural exchange programmes
- Allocation of funds for research in different field
- Development of women harassment protection apps in KP
- Appointment of lady officers for victims of sexual harassment
- Address lack of mental health awareness related to drug abuse
- Allocation of funds for drug rehabilitation centres
- Facilitation of regular interaction between youth and legislators and initiation of a youth ambassador programme for such regular and direct interaction
Members of Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa agreed with the issues highlighted by the youth and appreciated their policy inputs on issues faced by them. MPAs reiterated that they will work together with youth in the province to resolve youth issues. MPAs also shared that various committees formed in the legislature were already working on some of the issues highlighted by the young people and that it was a very useful exercise to hear directly from the youth about the issues on ground.
At the end of the presentations and dialogue, students were given a tour of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The aim and purpose of this dialogue was to build young peoples’ capacity to meaningfully engage in youth policy planning with decision makers in the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. After PILDAT conducted individual training and capacity building sessions for young people from public universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 10 young students were selected based on their participation levels to undertake one combined training. In addition to building their capabilities of engagement with policy makers, trainings were designed to facilitate students to develop practical policy recommendations for effective engagement with legislators to facilitate inclusive and pro-youth legislation and policymaking.
In his welcome address, Mr. Faheem Ahmed Khan, Senior Projects Manager PILDAT highlighted the rationale behind facilitating meaningful engagement between youth and legislators.