The population of Zambia stands at over 17 million people[1]. The definition of youth in Zambia is a person between the ages of 15 – 35 years[2].The biggest group in the population of Zambia is that of young people. 4.8 million Of the 17 million people fall under the category of young people, constituting 36.7% of the total national population, of which 17.7% are male youth and 19% are female youth[3].

Age Group Male Female Total
Absolute Number Percentage of the Total National Absolute Number Percentage of the Total National Absolute Number Percentage of the Total National
15 – 24 1,301,883 9.94% 1,423,874 10.88% 2,725,757 20.82%
25 – 35 1,021,629 7.80% 1,058,807 8.09% 2,080,436 15.89%
Total 2,323,522 17.74% 2,482, 681 18.97% 4,806,193 36.71%

Zambia’s laws are formulated by the legislative wing of government, which is Parliament, the parliament is also incharge of oversight on most developmental programs carried out by the government, and also reviews formulated policies by the government. The Zambian Parliament consists of only 3 elected youths out of 156 elected members of Parliament, and none from the 8 nominated members of parliament. This figure represents 1.8%. The lack of youth representation undermines the voice of young people in national matters, to that end, the laws, policies and development projects may be tailored in such a way that does not speak to about 37% of the population. This is not a negligible figure.

Members of Parliament By Age

The general lack of Youth representation in key elective positions limits the influence this massive group of marginalized people has on policies and laws that affect them directly, Young people continue to remain at the margins of the political, social and economic mainstream, in most parts of the world (including Zambia).  Political parties do not nominate young people to contest in parliamentary elections. This in turn discourages young people to vie for elective positions.

#Youth4Parliament is a grassroots social movement that has been working on enhancing the participation of young people in politics and governance in Zambia. It was established in 2018 with a primary focus of increasing the presence of young people in parliament and providing a platform were they can have meaningful engagements in civic and political matters. The movement was formed as a response to the continued shrinking spaces and presence for young people in politics.  Youth4Parliament has a presence in all the provinces in Zambia with a network of over 40,000 young people, Student representatives, Youth led organizations and political parties.


As ways of achieving its objectives, Youth4Parliament uses advocacy campaigns, community outreach, mentor-ship for young politicians, capacity building and Leadership training among others.


One of the key milestones which the movement has attained within a short period of its existence is the signing of a “Social Contract” by Secretary Generals representing seven (7) major political parties in Zambia, which include; the Patriotic Front –PF (Ruling Party), United Party for National Development- UPND (majority opposition), Green Party of Zambia – Greens, Movement for Multi-Party Democracy- MMD (former ruling party), National Restoration Party- NAREP, Alliance for Democracy and Development- ADD, and United National Independence Party- UNIP (former ruling party).
The “Social Contract” provides for entry points for young people in their political parties and guarantees them of consideration and subsequent adoption for them to contest for parliamentary seats in the 2021 General Elections.

Another milestone that Youth4Parliament has attained was the invitation to the Fifth Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 14 and 15 December 2018. Youth4Parliament was invited as panelists to make a presentation on the importance of greater youth participation in parliaments and how young MPs can work with civil society to bring about change to this end.


[2] 2015 Zambia National Youth Policy

[3] OP-CIT