What Is The YPA Programme?
The Young Parliamentary Associates (YPA) programme is an IP3 initiative that seeks to recruit, train and deploy in Pakistan’s parliament, bright young minds from across the country. The programme gives Associates the unique opportunity to work directly with parliamentarians and bureaucrats in the parliament. The YPA programme was designed in collaboration with the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS).
Making it as a YPA!
The first group of YPAs was recruited in July 2013 following a competitive and rigorous selection process involving a series of tests and interviews. Over 3000 candidates applied to the YPA programme; of which only 33 made it to the final stage. Following their selection, Associates underwent specialised training in legislative research at PIPS and were orientated to the parliamentary work environment. In late August the YPAs were deployed as legislative researchers to assist in the committee and research work of the National Assembly and the Senate of Pakistan. Since their deployment in parliament, the YPAs have been busy assisting committees and parliamentarians and making significant contributions.
The second group of YPAs started getting trained after recruitment in the month of May 2014 and currently they have been deployed at both houses.
Training of YPAs
Before deployment to the Senate and the National Assembly, the YPAs went through a comprehensive training programme at the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS), conducted by experts from relevant fields. The training aimed to equip YPAs with the essential knowledge and skills required for making positive contributions to parliamentary work.
The training process concluded with a certificate award ceremony in which the honourable Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan was the Chief Guest.
YPAs in Action
From the first batch of YPAs, 12 Associates are working in the committees of the Senate of Pakistan, while 21 Associates are providing valuable research assistance to the parliamentarians and staff at the National Assembly.
YPAs are assigned to different Parliamentary Committees and offices and they are conducting research, contributing to drafting reports, analysing data and providing assistance in organising public hearings.
In the National Assembly for instance, the YPAs have produced and presented research on the IMF to the Leader of the Opposition, and were subsequently asked to present their work to a meeting of 50 opposition parliamentarians. The YPAs have assisted in writing speeches for both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, prepared briefs for the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and Public Accounts Committee and contributed various reports and briefs to the research wing. They have also compiled a National Assembly organogram, prepared an ‘information kit’ for Pakistan’s parliamentary delegation to the 129th IPU Assembly in Geneva. One of the YPAs is also assisting with the re-launch (after 20 years) of the National Assembly newsletter.
In the Senate, the YPAs have similar contributions to the Senate committees. Briefly, they have attended multiple committee meetings, taken minutes, drafted questions, assisted in setting the agenda of committee meetings, and assisted in the organisation of meetings. In addition, they have prepared media briefs, and have produced various research papers and briefs for the committees on topics as wide ranging as the privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills and the missing NATO containers.