The Mock Youth Parliament simulations run by the National Youth Council of Nepal are designed to develop the leadership capabilities of young people aged 16-24, with the guaranteed participation of 50% women. Each year, more than 2500 young people participate in the programme, with the overarching objective of allowing young people to experience how the law-making process works in a parliamentary system such that used by the federal republic of Nepal. Through this Mock Parliament, young people have the opportunity to participate in local- and province-level planning processes, experience the legislation-making process, give timely and concise presentations as parliamentarians, and learn democratic values and norms. A third-party research report undertaken to evaluate the programme concluded that it has inspired young people to become politicians and campaigners for justice and sustainable development as well as to run in elections. In addition, the participants develop soft skills such as communication, decision making, openness to criticism, conflict management, problem solving and teamwork.
The Mock Youth Parliament is an initiative that was first introduced by NGOs in Nepal prior to the establishment of the National Youth Council in 2015. Following the establishment of the Council, the initiative was replicated and expanded by the Council in collaboration with various NGOs. It aims to educate young people on democratic processes and inspire democratic values in them. The objective of the programme is to attract young people into politics through providing them with insights into policy and practice. As political volatility has meant that Nepal has faced numerous challenges, which has seen Nepalese youth become disengaged from politics. As a result, the Council started the practice of mock parliaments to allow young people to gain hands-on experience of parliamentary processes and to develop their leadership skills.
The programme follows a competition-style process covering multiple levels of government as follows:
- First, the local-level government should formulate ward youth clubs in the first trimester, in line with the fiscal calendar of the government.
- The local-level government should then conduct municipality-level Mock Youth Parliaments during the second trimester.
- Then, in coordination with local, province and federal-level governments, there should be province-level Mock Youth Parliaments. Participants should be nominated in a coordinated manner with the agreement of the mentioned government stakeholders.
- In the next phase, federal-level Mock Youth Parliaments take place, in which those youth nominated by the provincial government and the Council participate.
- Finally, the Council forms a loose network among the youth who took part at the various different levels.
The popularity of the Mock Youth Parliament programme arises from the following enabling factors:
Interest from young people for taking part in the programme for their leadership development.
A clear simulation procedure for conducting a Mock Youth Parliament.
Establishment of youth-led government institutions at all three tiers of government and coordination of each of the main political parties.
The interest of leaders in developing cultured, mature youth leaders who may someday become parliamentarians and play a positive role in the legislation making process.
The opportunity for young people to participate in, and gain first-hand experience of, managing the parliament and the legislation-making process.
The opportunity to be connected via a loose network of young people from ward clubs.
Partnerships with NGO.
Well-trained and experienced youth trainers.
Application of inclusive policy.
Youth leadership development and inspiration for youth to
become active in politics
Those young people involved in Mock Youth Parliaments were on the frontline of the collective lobbying process by youth to nominate youth candidates, which has resulted in more than 40% elected youth leaders in local-level elections.
The issue of youth is incorporated into policies
Nepal was recognised with a Future Policy Award (Silver) in 2019 from the World Future Council for formulating progressive policy in the country.
Young people can become involved in a network of youth
And access opportunities to become involved in social and ecological issues as campaigners.