Organized by: Grassroot
Dates: 30thand 31st October 2018
Venue: Old NEHU Guest House
Supported by: VAF (CMs-Fund) 2013-14 & Association for Democratic Reforms, New Delhi

Concept Note on Youth Parliament
“We are addressing youth today, because youth have placed themselves on the top of the agenda.”–Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon.
Youth activism and engagement can bring about important social changes that are sometimes left behind. You don’t have to wait to be an adult to be an active member of your community. Your opinion matters and it should be heard.
India has rightly placed the age to vote as 18 years. Being a voter indicates your power to demand for development you think fit. For better education, employment, clean drinking water, roads, electricity and many others. These are our rights!!!!! How much more it still is if you have voted for the one you think will make this difference. As a young voter, our names should not be just a number but a number that counts.
We are the change makers and agents that are connecting our minds and thoughts to create enterprises for the betterment of the community.

By voicing, by speaking out, by knowing your rights, by addressing local issues pertaining to development, you are making your vote COUNT!
If you are simply a silent voter who cribs in the corner of the four walls, what use is your inked finger? Let us sit across the table, share our ideas, our thoughts to aid us in addressing and putting the issues forward. Come be a part of the youth parliament. Be a part of giving back to society. Be a part of an array of likeminded individuals and organisations. Let’s create solutions. Let’s make it COUNT.

The youth parliament aims at:
● Getting the collective voices of the youth
● Making policy makers participate and respond
● Discussion on the importance of making democracy transparent
● Development issue based discussion

Expected Outcome:
● The mind of the youths are driven to developmental approach
● The questioning for and of transparent accountability

Resource Persons’ Profile –
– Mr. Mark Stone Laitflang, is an award winning youth entrepreneur committed to Social Enterprise and is the Founding Chief Executive & Managing Director of Group Avenues – a brand synonymous with youth empowerment and human resource development in North East India. Headquartered in Shillong, Meghalaya, Avenues is recognized as the region’s Leading

Grooming and Communication Skills Training initiative. He is an active member of civil society and the founder of the Avenues Youth Icon Awards – an annual exercise instituted to recognize and celebrate the work and achievements of role models and unsung heroes in the fields of work that impact Youth and future of Meghalaya and the North East. A recipient of Rotary Club’s Vocational Excellence Award for Human Resource Development and a noted Motivational Speaker, Mark’s sessions across the region have engaged and inspired thousands of young adults over a decade. For this workshop, we invited him to facilitate in the Ice breaking session.

– Mr. Jemino Mawthoh, is an Assistant Professor in the Adult Education Department at the North Eastern Hill University and he was a former MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) from Nongthymmai constituency. He was also a programme officer in the NSS (National Service Scheme) NEHU cell and he was also an adviser of the Synjuk ki Seng Samla Shnong (SSSS). we invited him as a resource person on the topic ‘Role of Youth in Social Development”.
– Mr. Ronnie Wahlang, is an MCS (Meghalaya Civil Service) Officer and is currently posted as a Block Development Officer at Mawryngkneng Block. He started his career as a lecturer in St. Peter’s school and in Williamnagar College. For this workshop we invited him as a resource person on the topic “The importance of an epic card”.
– Mr. Nilesh Ekka, is a Program Head at the Association for Democratic Reforms and he completed his engineering from Delhi College of Engineering. In this workshop we invited him as a resource person on the topic “Electoral Reforms”.

Ms Mayfereen Ryntathiang is a Social Worker with more than a decade of committed work put in the field of her choice and she is passionate about her work. She has done a Masters in English Literature and topped it up with education in Human Rights and recently completed a leadership and human rights course at Columbia University, with The International Indigenous Women Forum. She founded and heads Grassroot, an NGO with its main objective being to encourage, empower and enhance people’s responsibility for societal change. Mayfereen is actively associated with World Mountain People Association (WMPA), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) to name a few. During her years of contribution to the society, she has also visited various international conferences speaking her mind of human rights issues. She was a part of the Mountain Community Team to present a motion on Anti uranium mining in Meghalaya at the UNESCO, Paris, represented the Presbyterian Church of India in Bangkok, Thailand in a workshop on Human Rights and was part of a South East Asian exposure trip on Violence against Women in Bangladesh. In 2016, she represented India at the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous issues, at the UN Headquarters, New York, USA to lend a voice on land and cultural rights. She is also a documentary filmmaker and script write- some of her documentaries like “Voice of the Voiceless” & “Hear our Voices- A Cry from the Himalayas” are note worthy productions. Mayfereen initiated the documentation of the khasi folklore, ‘The Peacock and the Sun’ into an animation form to create a deeper understanding of the children to understand their roots while having wings. This animation is through a scholarship won from MILLION KISSES Foundation, USA.Mayfereen felt that the traditional wisdom of edible medicinal herbs is depleting with the advent of commercialised products. With this mind, she initiated the Documentation of these herbs in two villages; Mawbeh and lad Mawphlang, all of which was self funded. These documentations have enabled the organisation to delve deeper into this subject matter of restoring the rich heritage of our people. This has earned her the scholarship from IIWF to pursue the subject further whereby 32 women of Khasi and jaintia hills practitioners’ were documented as part of the wisdom and traditional bank of her people and the book is launched on the 18th of August 2017.
As a president of Grassroot,( it is her endeavour to encourage young passionate women and men to realise their potentials. In December 2016, she and her team of young women launched a SPEAK OUT Campaign to help women get legal access in the presence of a snail slow legal system. This initiative is to cater to those marginalised abused women who cannot afford legal fees. This initiative is a fund raiser to encourage local funding for our own sisters and women. Further on, under the same campaign, a montage to depict the violence against boys, men, girls and women was launched in the year 2018. Mayfereen is a well trained personnel on gender rights, human rights and Rights Based Approach , community development, group/meeting facilitating skills, communication skills to name a few. For this workshop, she took on the role of a facilitator with the topic on “Communication tools and presentation”.

This report is the outcome of the brilliant leadership of our president Miss Mayfereen Ryntathiang, who have always guided and supported us in our field and allowing us to grow in our profession. We also would like to extend our gratitude to Miss Tamralyne Momin, the co-ordinator for this workshop for organising and making this workshop a success. We also extend our warm gratitude to Miss Dasuk Lyngdoh, for her efforts in assisting with this workshop. We would also like to acknowledge the resource person Mr. Mark Stone Laitflang, CEO of Avenues, Mr. Jemino Mawthoh, Assistant Professor NEHU, Mr. Ronnie Wahlang, Block Development Office, Mawryngkneng, Mr. Nilesh Ekka, Programme Officer, Association for Democratic reforms (ADR) and Ms.Mayfereen Ryntathing, President Grassroot, who have shared their experiences and also have been able to make the participants share their views on developmental issues. We also would like to acknowledge the Chief Minister fund for the financial support for this workshop and ADR (Association Democratic Reforms), for their constant support. We would also like to thank NEHU Student’s Union for their assistance and support in helping us with the venue and also the sound system for the workshop. We would like to extend our warmest gratitude to the Grassroot team for their hard work and their passion in making this workshop a success. Lastly, we would like to acknowledge, the participants for their participation and also for sharing their ideas and issues in development across our state. It is through these participants that we were able to come up with a manifesto in which has all the changes in which the where the youth want to see in our governance.

The Report
DAY 1 – 30TH October 2018
The Youth Parliament was opened with a welcome speech by Miss. Tamralyne Momin, Grassroot, who welcomed the Resource Persons and all the 50 participating students and community members of the Khasi, Jaintia, and Garo region

Miss. Mayfereen Ryntathiang – President Grassroot took the meet forward by introducing the concept of a “Youth Parliament”. She mentioned that the aim of such a meet is to connect individuals and young minds and provide them with a space to participate, engage and contribute. She highlighted that the EPIC card is a very powerful card that enables us to use our voices, to stop complaining but to bring about change. She urged the participants to ensure one’s participation counts!.
Mr. Mark Laitflang took the meet with an ice breaking session with activities that helped participants to familiarise with one another. The Resource Person further divided the participants into groups of 5-6 members where an activity on building a circle of trust was initiated. Members were asked to write down their fears and strategies to overcome them. The session was closed with the Resource Person highlighting that 86% of people’s greatest fear is the fear of speaking up and that the 2nd biggest fear is the fear of losing somebody. He stated the importance of talking about our dreams and the courage to pursue them.
This was followed with a discussion on ‘The role of youth in Social Development” by Mr. Jemino Mawthoh. Bah Jemino stated that in all his years of experience as a professor, a politician and an adviser in his area of work, he has had quite a journey with the youth in the State. The Resource Person stated that India is one of the youngest countries in the World that means youth are key change agents in this country. He stressed on the importance of reading and being well armed with information on current affairs in order to actively engage and positively contribute to social development. He urged participants to engage in programmes, policies and legislations of the State and have a sense of ownership and accountability for the same. The Resource Person also spoke on SWOT analysis which stands for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats of one self.

The five groups were then asked to brainstorm and discuss on the following key points:
1) Resources available in your area
2) Strengths in your area
3) Types of opportunities available in your area
4) Main issues that you observe in your area
5) Strategies to address them
6) Where do you see your State/Region in 20 years from now?

The second half of the meet is a discussion by Mr. Ronnie Wahlang on ‘the importance of an EPIC Card”
The Resource Person covered topics on democracy, leadership, the meaning of an “adult” and the right to choose.
He stated that the day a person gets his EPIC card is the day a person becomes an adult and with that maturity and responsibility to exercise our franchise with conscience. It is also the day that the country empowers us to use this Adult Suffrage”. An EPIC card gives identity and is an important functionary of the Country.

Mr. Nilesh Ekka initiated the discussion on “Electoral Reforms” where he stressed on the importance of understanding and studying a representative before electing the person as our leader. He stated that 30% of politicians have criminal records and that this should make us anxious and be reflective lest we commit the same mistake twice. The importance of asking ourselves questions such as “who am I voting for?”, “why am I voting for a particular person?”, “what are his/her human values?”, “Does his/her past records show that a person is capable of leading a country in the right direction?”
Ms. Mayfereen Ryntathiang then closed the meet with a session on effective communication tools and presentations in order to prepare the participants for the next day meet.

DAY 2 – 31st October 2018
The second day was opened with a recap and overview of sessions of the previous day’s meet.

This was followed by presentation of the previous day’s group discussions. The following are topics identified by participants as areas of urgency:
1) Group 1 – Education System
2) Group 2 – Substance Abuse
3) Group 3 – Safety for women with regards to domestic violence

4) Group 4 – Agriculture
5) Group 5 – Sericulture

The presentation was followed with a motivational session by Mr. Ravi Ranjan on Entrepreneurship. The Resource Persons shared success stories of some companies across the World. He spoke about having dreams that will solve a problem and that will hold value for the community as a whole.
The meet was followed with the recitation of the Manifesto (Annexure I) that the participants collectively drafted as a result of the group discussions and presentation. It was closed with an award for the best performing group and the distribution of certificates of participation.

As a result of the Youth Parliament held on the 30th October 2018 at Old Guest House Hall NEHU, the following are agreed statements and opinions by all 48young participants present.
Participants were divided into five groups wherein they brainstormed on various pointers such as the resources available in their areas, identified strengths and opportunities, issues observed and strategies to address them.
By consensus, participants believe that Agriculture and Bio-Diversity, Water bodies/resources, Human Resource, Sericulture, Tourism, Traditional tools, Sports and land as the key resources and strength of the State of Meghalaya. .
Drawing from the above resources and strengths, we see opportunities in the field of Agriculture, Sericulture,Tourism, Handloom and Handicrafts, Trade and Commerce as areas that will boost employment opportunities and improve the economy of the State.
Issues highlighted are unemployment but also unfair process of employment in the existing system, substance abuse among children and adolescents, congestion and tight traffic in the town area, deteriorated healthcare sector especially in the rural regions of the State, poor road connectivity that curbs trade and commerce, teenage pregnancy leading up to poor quality of health among women and children; school drop-out, women safety, unmanageable waste, lack of infrastructure, lack of skilled teachers in the Education sector, poor educational facilities, increased practice of food adulteration and environmental exploitation and degradation
Awareness is a key strategy to reach out to schools, colleges and the communities to bring about a sense of ownership among us but also dispersing infrastructural development such as setting up of universities and technical colleges and make opportunities available for the rural counterparts as well. This will also help avoid congestion and not further populate the town area.
By the end of the session, participants also came up with a vision for the State
In 20 years, we hope to achieve –
– An Improved syllabus in the Education sector at par with the rest of the country.
– Economic support for students and teachers
– Affordable necessities and good patented indigenous products
– Functional, effective and prompt Healthcare institutions
– A clean environment
– Sustainable and responsible use of natural resources
– Fair employment opportunities
– Self relianceand self sufficiency
– Improved economy
– Accountable and transparency in the entire democratic process

These are the five main aspects that evolved from yesterday’s discussion:
– Employment
– Revenue
– Trade
– Fashion purpose
– Expensive
– Time consuming
– Skill and patience
– Making people aware of schemes available
– Enhancement of skills
20 years from now, the Sericulture Community will be self sufficient
– Agriculture helps in increasing GDP
– Reduces unemployment
– Improves the standard of living of the people
– Inadequate existence of agricultural bank
– Lack of agricultural skills
– Promoting farmers to form an association to acquire loans in case of failure of repayment of loans
– Promotion of schemes regarding Agriculture.
– Employment
– Labour union
– Economic growth

In 20 years, we want to see Meghalaya as the largest exporter of Agriculture products in the country.
Safety for women with regards to Domestic Violence
– Victims should speak up against violence
– Community participation
– Educate the victim on Organizations that provide them with the required help
– More stringent laws and penalities
– Economic independence for women
20 years from now, we envision a society where safety for women is prioritized and the hurdles faced by them are curbed,to pave the way
Key Points
– It is a problem faced by most you nowadays in the State
– Human Resource is the most valuable resource without which other resources cannot be utilized.
– Proper involvement of Human Resources leads to full development. Example – JAPAN
– We can overcome this problem by creating awareness on the importance of moral and family support for the substance users.
– Ensuring the availability of proper re-creational centresand educational system.
20 years from now,we want to see a State free from substance abuse, proper utilization of full human potential by creating more employment opportunities.
– Educational system
– Hierarchical educational system
– Lack of exposure
– Inefficient syllabus
– Equality
– Exchange Programs and Scholarships
– Syllabus at par with the rest of the country
20 years from now,we see change; change that is constant- not for the better of now but for the better of tomorrow and this spring from our voices and actions.
Participants also came up with a value statement stated herewith;
“From now on, every decision I make will celebrate the beauty of life; the believe in self reliance and the power of an individual, community – unity in it all and most importantly recognising opportunity and seize it”