Youth are the future leaders of any country.
With that belief, the Office of the Legislative Assembly has been carrying out Youth Parliamentary Programmes, for four consecutive years.
They give our young people an insight into how parliament operates and this year, another 80 young people from various youth groups, have joined up.
On Tuesday when Parliament assembled, it was an opportunity to listen and observe parliament sitting and its procedures.
Deputy Clerk of the Office of Legislative Assembly, Leatisā Utimē Tala, says the youth programme provides the opportunity to learn about parliament and encourages participation in the law-making process.
“The Youth Parliamentary Programme started when the former Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Fepuleai Attila Ropati and the Speaker at the time, saw that there was a need to improve how parliament operated.
“Having such a programme was part of that change,” he said. “One area which needed improvement was the relationship between the Members of Parliament and members of the public.
“A lot of people think that their job is done after the election and after they vote.
“Moreover, we noticed that a lot of people do not know that they have a role to play in parliament procedures. They are also unaware of their rights to contribute not just the Members of Parliament.”
They who have attended include Primary Schools students, College Students, University Students, Youths and Women.
“The main objective is to start early with our kids and the younger generation as they will be in charge of things in the future.
“They are the future of families, villages, churches and of course our country so they need to learn and know these things.
“A lot of people probably do not know and are unaware that they have a huge role to play in law making process in parliament. We have a democratic system of government, and it is very important that the majority of our people agree with whatever is discussed in parliament.”
Yesterday, a mock parliament was held as the main activity to finish off the two-day programme.
Said Leatisā, they have been getting a lot of feedback from the different participants from the previous years about the importance of this programme.
“A lot of them are also encouraging us to have this programme every year which is good sign that our youth are happy with the programmes and are interested in learning about this important part of our lives. What we are trying to do and encourage is for all the participants who participated in this programme, to share their knowledge and experience with their friends and others.”
One of the participants, Malaeoloa Iese from Lalovi said he’s been going to the Youth Parliamentary Programme for four years now.
The 25-year-old praised the organizers saying that this is a great way to nurture the future leaders of Samoa.
“This is very useful and indeed an important one for us the youth of Samoa,” said Malaeoloa.
“We often hear the saying that we (youths) are the future of Samoa. And that’s what this programme is all about and I thank the organizers for setting it.
“This is an opportunity for us to learn and observe how parliament operates and also experience it.
“On Tuesday, we had the chance to listen to parliament sitting and observe how it operates. And today, we are having a mock parliament where we get to use the skills and the knowledge that we have learned from observation and also the put sessions into action.”
Malaeoloa urged the youths of Samoa to join the programme in the years to come.
“It’s very useful and you never know what’s going to happen in the future. And it’s always good to be prepared for what’s waiting for us. “