This is an initiative that allows young people to have an active voice in Parliament, along with deputies, and to take some ideas to be heard by government, and who knows, to even be approved by the Assembly of the Republic, and to then be applied.

The Algarve district shared its voice in Parliament and managed to get some proposals approved as part of a debate on disinformation and fake news. Young people aged between 14 and 15 were debating their ideas in Parliament, trying to take their proposals forward.

From the district of Faro, six young people were present. Eva Santos and Margarida Martins are students in Estômbar, in the municipality of Lagoa and told The Portugal News that going to the Assembly was one of the best experiences they had in their lives.

Step by step to the Parliament

To reach the Youth Parliament it was necessary to go through some steps. Eva says that “in the first phase” she was selected by her colleagues “as a representative deputy” of her class. As a representative of Lista A, Eva Santos participated in debates and presented the ideas to be selected as a representative of Escola EB 2,3 Professor João Cónim “in the regional session.”

Margarida Martins admits that it was “a long journey” to finally get to Parliament. The young girl who took on the role of spokesperson for her group in the Assembly of the Republic admits that she began to feel some pressure in the regional selection of deputies. According to Margarida, “there were a lot of deputies from different schools”, however all the effort and dedication of her group paid off and they managed to reach Parliament.

Measures approved

After some changes, the Algarve group managed to approve the proposal for “dissemination and improvement of the website of the National Cybersecurity Center (CNCS)” so that users can verify the veracity of the news they are reading online.

Eva Santos said that being able to be present in Parliament made it possible for her voice to be heard, not only by people in her age group but also “by those who can really make a difference.” Being a group project, she feels accomplished after achieving the goals she outlined with her workgroup. Margarida Martins revealed that she felt fulfilled, as much as her colleague. In her opinion, politics is not a topic of interest for young people, but she believes that this type of initiative can arouse some curiosity in young people regarding the political world.

The political journey of these young women is still far from over. After arriving from Lisbon, they had to be ready the next day to show new ideas, but this time at the Municipal Youth Assembly held by the municipality of Lagoa, in the Algarve, where they are residents.

Politics at home

At the Carlos do Carmo Auditorium, Eva and Margarida were some of the representatives of the Rio Arade School Group, based in Parchal. At the end of the debate, once again Eva and Margarida, together with their group, won and Lagoa will apply a proposal presented by the group from Escola EB 2,3 Professor João Cónim.

The idea conceived by Eva Santos, Margarida Martins, Sofia Vicente and Matilde Rodrigues and discussed during the Young Municipal Assembly was the winner after a vote by the other deputies.

The objective of the proposals presented would be to make Lagoa an intelligent municipality. As such, the young girls, after a long search, discovered the BE2WASTE project. According to Eva, the company COMPTA, responsible for the project, revealed that the project was a pilot project in Lagoa, “but without continuity plans”. In this context, the young deputies decided to recommend the continuation of the project. Margarida Martins explains that the project consists of placing “Volume Filling Probes that allow real-time reading of the load levels of containers.” Eva adds that after placing the probes, the containers would be connected to a GPS, which sends the filling data of the containers, which prevents the accumulation of rubbish on the streets.

The future may have changed

The young women didn’t initially have academic and professional ambitions in the field of politics but this experience has changed their outlook. Margarida dreamed of studying medicine, however, the projects in which she participated made her look at politics differently and she already says that in the future she may follow this path. Eve says the same, she says she intended to pursue the field of psychology but reveals that lately, all the opportunities that have arisen have made her see politics as “a world” that interests her “more than she ever expected.”