ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 9, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 41

Wave of change

By Dinidu de Alwis

A group of 225 young people working under 15 different themes, ranging from Peace to HIV/AIDS. All of them going back to their communities to implement the action plans that they envisioned during the 5-day event. This is what the Steering Committee of the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament (SLYP) 2008-2010 hopes to achieve during the last weeks of September this year with the vision of Creating a Cohesive Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan Youth Parliament is a youth lead, initiative to bring about positive and sustainable change to issues that affect youth and their communities. The first step towards realising this vision came in 2005 in the form of the inaugural sitting of SLYP held at the BMICH. This brought together 225 dynamic individuals who, over a two year cycle of action, have been actively involved in implementing numerous projects based on their action plans.

In addition to these small scale initiatives in the community level, SLYP as an organization has also been addressing issues that affect young people at national level. They have made significant contributions to the formation of the National Youth Employment Policy, the National Youth Health Policy, and the National Youth Employment Action Plan. They were also in the forefront in highlighting shortcomings of the draft National Youth Policy which was to be introduced in 2007. Their involvement with the United National Population Fund (UNFPA) in forming the first Youth Advisory Panel in Sri Lanka, has been instrumental in improving participation of young people in the formulation of policy and programmes which affect their lives.

The work was recognized, and further supported by the World Bank, in the form of two grants under the Small Grants programme and to date remains the only youth network in Sri Lanka which received a double grant. In addition to building the capacities of its Action Partners, SLYP is one of the few organization who have chosen to share the knowledge in the form of a publication which is due to be launched at the end of the month. This aspect of knowledge sharing, and the first sitting were both funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Building upon the successes of the inaugural sitting of the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament (SLYP) 2005 a diverse mix of youth activists, Action Partners, and members of the original steering committee are putting their heads together to formulate and implement the next cycle of action for the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament.

Young people who are between the ages of 16 to 25 who are interested in working in their communities to address social issues, and are committed to work towards creating a cohesive Sri Lanka are invited to apply to become Action Partners. Those who are currently actively involved in social change activities are invited to apply, as are the budding social activists who have a dream and a vision within them to be the change they want to see. They would then come together during learning, sharing, enabling and empowering event in the form of the Second Sitting of the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament in September 2008.

This event will mark the commencement of SLYP's second Cycle of Action: A period two years in which these young people take control of their lives to address the issues affecting them. As with the first Cycle of Action (2005-2007), SLYP Secretariat will be supporting its agents for change with a plethora of follow up activities. The project, and the Secretariat are hosted by the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS).

SLYP being true to its concept remains a youth led, youth run initiative, comprising of a vibrant spectrum of young people from across the country. They constantly encourage and strive to maintain gender, ethnic, religious, linguistic and regional balance in participation, and applications are entertained in all three languages. Young people from all backgrounds – be it rural, urban, estate sector, conflict affected, differently-abled or indigenous communities, are encouraged to apply to be a part of this wave of change.

(011) 2697355 (Sheela) / 0717599211 (Dinidu) / 0773248393 (Jaliya)

Email: / Download Application at:

0777259155 (Hisham) / 0773248393 (Jaliya)

(011) 2697355 (Sheela) / 0717599211 (Dinidu) / 0773503976 (Supipi)

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