Last Saturday MŻPN organized a national youth workshop for youngsters and NGOs to discuss youth activism in the voluntary sector and civil society, and to come up with proposals to be presented to the Prime Minister and leader of the Nationalist Party Dr. Lawrence Gonzi.
The seminar was very well attended. It started off with some lively ice-breaking games under the guidance of notorious presenter Ron Briffa, followed by a brief introduction by the Parliamentary Secretary for Youths and Sports Clyde Puli.
Participants were then divided into small workshops chaired by the younger candidates of the Nationalist Party for the next election, including Karl Gouder, Ryan Callus, Antoine Borg, Kristy Debono and myself. The discussion in my workshop was very lively and in which everyone participated, and though we exceeded the time allocated for the workshop, we still had plenty of things which the participants wished to discuss. In my group I had members of the National Council for Women, Malta Motor Federation, Studenti Demokristjani Maltin, Grupp Żgħażagħ Gudja, PN Sectional Committees, local councillors, the Scout Association of Malta, and even lone youths who took interest in youth issues.
Some of the proposals raised in the workshop I was chairing were:
- tackling activism and civil participation through primary and secondary education. This could be done by allowing NGOs to present their work and what they are about in schools and promoting more active citizenship in PSD lessons;
- teaching the basics of time-management from early education levels;
- a central web domain made available to all registered VOs to use as their web-portal. This could allow VOs and NGOs to promote themselves further online without incurring extra expenses;
- a structured way in which Government primary schools are made available for the use of NGOs and associations after school-hours. Most of the problems NGOs encounter are due to the lack of a premises and of locations were to hold meetings or activities. This could go a long way to mitigate this problem and maximize the use of our country's limited resources;
- a national fair of NGOs and voluntary organizations, providing a showcase for NGOs to reach out to new youngsters and people who might be interested in joining.
Many other proposals were raised in the several workshops, not all of which were read out in the main session due to the limited time. The proposals were presented to Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who concluded the workshop by addressing all those present. All the proposals will now be compiled in a document to be presented to the Nationalist Party for planning its future policies in the youth and voluntary sectors.