On the 7th of October, several adolescent girls, young mothers, and young women with disabilities from various organizations convened at Hotel Africana, Uganda for the “Girls and Women’s Mock Parliament” organized by Plan International under the theme, “Brave women and girls making a change in political space.”

While officially opening the event that brought together over 40 participants, James Tumusiime, the country director Reach A hand Uganda, revealed that the “Girls and Women’s Mock Parliament” aims to highlight the need to encourage adolescent girls and young women to develop an interest in and increase their participation in leadership from an early stage.

“Women play a key role, and it is vital that their contribution is not taken lightly. That’s to say, through such a forum, young women are prepped and given an opportunity to show their leadership capability and are able to make bold and wise decisions as leaders in different spaces.

The event kicked off with the election of the session speaker of the day where three young people, including Kisakye Patricia, Kairanya Edith, and Anita Nasengesho, all UYAHF change champions, and others, contested for the speakership position. The floor was given to the audience to ask questions to the contestants on key aspect related to conducting parliamentary sessions and proceedings, after which Kisakey Patricia emerged as the winner and was elected as the speaker of parliament, and Kairanya Edith as the chief whip.

After the election, the house was called to order. Kisakye Patricia, the elected speaker of the day, laid out the motion as “Increasing the number of women in leadership in the government and private sector will help to advance gender equality and overall social transformation.”

In response to the motion, Nicole believes if women come out of their comfort zones with confidence and courage, they will take part in political space. Monetization is a strong set back to women’s being able to actively and effectively participate in politics today. Negative social and cultural norms are part of the causes that affect women and girls in leadership. “As youth, how can we overcome the conservatism and rigidity imposed by culture to empower girls in politics?”

The event was also attended by several female parliamentarians, including the woman MP for Wakiso district, Hon. Betty Naluyima, and Hon. Linda Irene Nyinabarongo, the woman MP for Fort Portal Tourism City, among others.

While giving her remarks, Hon. Betty Naluyima urged young people, especially adolescent girls and young women, to strive hard in their education and take up political leadership positions so that they can become key policy influencers who will raise more awareness and increase access to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for young people.

While Hon. Linda Irene Nyinabarongo called for inclusiveness of boys while discussing issues around SRHR,

“As we focus on adolescent girls and young women, who I agree face the most SRHR challenges, boys also need to be brought onboard because they are key in the promotion of gender equality” Hon.Nyinabarongo concluded.