NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development, a prime democracy advancement institution in Liberia, has intensified its youth legislative policy dialogues in Bong and Nimba counties.
The dialogue is designed to deepen young people’s understanding on the workings of the Legislature as the fulcrum of Liberia’s democracy, because of its constitutional responsibilities to enact laws, represent citizens’ interests, oversee executive policy implementation and performance. The event is improving young people’s skills to engage in constructive legislative advocacy and monitoring across the country.
Nimba County Representatives Larry Younquoi (District 8) and Joseph Sonwabi (District 3), as well as their Bong County counterparts, Robert Womba (District 4), Moima Briggs-Mensah (District 6), former Representative George Mulbah, spoke at the five policy dialogues organized by NAYMOTE’s Regional office in the two counties.
Each of the lawmakers addressed participants on the workings of the Legislature on the topic, “Effective Tools for Legislative Advocacy,” with specific focus on “What is Legislative Session?” and how many votes are needed to pass a Bill into law; how a bill becomes law; what are the committee’s hearing processes and many other questions.
Some of the questions have to do with the way both Houses (Senate and House of Representatives) are structured. What are the various types of legislation, how does a bill differ from a resolution, what happens when a bill is introduced and effective legislative monitoring?
Former Bong County Representative George S. Mulbah lauded NAYMOTE for organizing such events and called on the youth to make maximum use of the knowledge acquired to constructively engage their lawmakers.
“I think these are the kinds of forums needed for our young people, especially during elections. This will help the youth to clearly understand how the legislature works, making them to know how to make political decisions,” Mulbah said.
A participant, John Flomo, who is the Bong County Coordinator for the Ministry of Youth and Sports, described the training as “very educative for the young people; and so we recommend to NAYMOTE to continue the training across the country, because it helps us to understand the workings of the legislature.”
The Regional Coordinator of NAYMOTE, Moses Bailey, said his institution is strengthening citizens’ engagement in legislative work, making lawmakers more responsive, accessible and accountable to citizens.
He thanked young people for turning out at the various events, actively and constructively engaging their lawmakers and getting quick feedback on critical issues relating to their electoral districts and activities of the lawmakers.
The youth legislative policy dialogue is part of grant activities to NAYMOTE, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.