Promoting civic responsibility: the Abuja children’s parliament

In an interconnected world, understanding governance extends beyond national borders. Teaching children about international governance institutions and global issues helps them become global citizens who are aware of and engaged in global challenges. Educating children about governance is crucial for their development, it helps them become informed, engaged, and responsible citizens. When children are introduced to the fundamentals of governance systems, they grow into adults who have an understanding of the importance of actively participating in civic life and making informed decisions.

In democratic societies, informed citizens play a vital role in electing leaders, voting on policies, and holding governments accountable. Teaching children about governance helps them grasp the concept of democracy and their role in it. Education about governance empowers children to voice their opinions, advocate for their rights, and participate in community and political activities. Empowered children are more likely to become engaged and active citizens who have learned that they have a role to play in making their communities better.

Children’s parliaments, also known as youth parliaments or model parliaments, are designed to engage young people in the democratic process and empower them to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives. These initiatives help children and young adults learn about the principles of democracy, civic engagement, and leadership.

Leaders of the Children’s Parliament taking the oath to serve.

 

At the Abuja Programme location of SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria, a Children and Youth Council is active. It serves as a forum where the Children and Youths in our programmes come together to discuss and share ideas that affect children in their communities. To further enhance their knowledge and equip them with the right tools to participate in larger forums like the Nigerian Children’s Parliament, two categories of intensive training in parliamentary procedures, civic engagement, and advocacy were organized for them- An Orientation to Parliamentarian Functions, and Technical Training on Advocacy & Legislative Development.

Throughout the training, their leadership capabilities were meticulously honed, transforming them into confident and effective leaders. Their public speaking prowess underwent a remarkable refinement, enabling them to communicate with clarity and conviction. As a result, they emerged from the training as individuals who are not only excellent advocates for their peers but also poised and prepared to take part in national, regional, and global engagements with utmost confidence. Their sharpened leadership skills polished public speaking abilities, and enriched understanding of parliamentary processes have equipped them to excel in any forum they choose to participate in, contributing meaningfully to discussions, advocating for their rights, and positively influencing change.

Training session of the Children’s Parliament, at the SOS Children’s Villages programme location in Abuja.

 

The Children’s Parliament continues to stand as a significant platform within SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria’s Programmes, radiating as a profound testament to SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria’s unwavering dedication to nurturing the inherent potential of each child. As these youthful leaders venture beyond its bounds, they carry with them the assurance of a more radiant tomorrow – a future where the voices of children are not merely recognized, but genuinely heeded, fostering an environment where their dreams are tenderly nurtured into vibrant reality.

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