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Young Pacific Women: Leading The Way

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011

About Us What is the Commonwealth Youth Programme? The Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) is an international development agency that works to give young people aged 15 - 29 the skills, confidence and means to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. CYP works in partnership with young people, governments, NGOs and other key youth stakeholders.

What does CYP believe in? Our work is anchored in the belief that young people are: A force for peace, democracy, equality and good governance A catalyst for global consensus building An essential resource for sustainable development and poverty eradication CYP advocates for the effective inclusion and participation of young men and women in the development process.

Where does CYP work? CYP works in all 53 Commonwealth countries, operating from four regional centres - Asia, Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific. In the Pacific, the CYP has youth representatives or Regional Youth Caucus members based in Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Contact us or contribute an article! Commonwealth Youth Programme Pacific Centre PO Box 1681 Honiara, Solomon Islands Phone: +677 38374 Fax: +677 38377 Web: Email: Subscribe to the free online version of this magazine by sending an email to To contribute an article, purchase a printed copy or find out Left to Right: CYP Pacific Centre staff Mr Paul Peteru, more please email Ms Afu Billy and Mr Sushil Ram Editing, design and layout by Jacinta Isaacs. All photographs taken by Jacinta Isaacs unless otherwise stated.

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011

Contents Message from CYP Pacific Regional Director Ms Afu Billy

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Youth leaders look to the future

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Pacific Islanders take the helm

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A message from Noelyn...

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International Women‘s Day 2011

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Women Agents of Change: Commonwealth Day 2011

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Action on youth employment!

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Challenges (and solutions!) from your Pacific RYC Chair

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Ship for World Youth

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Tausala and Manaia Youth Pageant 2010

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Including youth every step of the way

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Leadership starts here

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Youth Champs for Mental Health

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TNYC provides space for people with disability

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Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011


Message from CYP Pacific Regional Director Right: CYP Pacific Centre Regional Director Ms Afu Billy with Ms Mayline Sese-Taghoa, recipient of the Solomon Islands' RAMSI Special Coordinator's Award for Women 2011. Opposite page: Commonwealth Youth Leaders conference, Chandigarh, India, December 2010. Photos by Shahreen Tilottoma and Jacinta Isaacs. Welcome to another Pacific Youth Voices (PYV) the magazine specially produced for young people by the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Pacific Centre. Our big thanks to Ms. Jacinta Isaacs the CYP Pacific Centre‘s Youth Media and Communications Manager, who has compiled this PYV edition. Jacinta replaces Samantha Ryan our former Media and Communications Officer, who left us in October last year. Both Jacinta and Sam are Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD). We acknowledge Sam‘s past work with the CYP Pacific Centre and wish her all the best in her future endeavours. This year started off very well for the young people of the Pacific and the CYP Pacific Centre with the announcement of the election of two young Pacific women to the highest positions of the highest international youth governing body of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Pan Commonwealth Youth Caucus (PCYC). Ms. Noelyn Wagapu from Solomon Islands was elected Chairperson of the PCYC and Ms. Rebecca Solomon from Vanuatu, was elected PCYC Vice Chair. Both Noelyn and Rebecca are members of the CYP Pacific‘s Regional Youth Caucus (RYC) which comprises one youth representative from 10 Commonwealth countries in the Pacific. There is also one RYC per CYP Regional Centre which apart from the Pacific, are also in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean regions. Noelyn and Rebecca were elected by young people from the four RYCs during a Commonwealth Youth Leadership Conference in Chandigarh, India in December 2010. Let us all give Noelyn and Rebecca the mightiest CONGRATULATIONS ever for their great achievements and for making history within the CYP by being the first two young females to hold the captaincy of this internationally renowned PCYC. We wish them all the best in this major challenging role as they get their heads around the international obligations that lie ahead of

them. Their achievements are particularly significant given this year‘s Commonwealth Day focus on ‗Women as Agents of Change‘. During the week of Commonwealth Day (14-20 March) we celebrated women whose work has made a positive difference to the lives of others. There are a number of exciting events coming up this year. The staff of CYP Pacific Centre are proud to say that things are looking up for our work; with a strategic plan in place to guide the formulation of our activities this year. We also have great support from our headquarters, the Youth Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. Two major Commonwealth events will take place in our region in October this year. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting or CHOGM is going to be held in Perth, Australia and running parallel to the CHOGM is the 8th Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF8) which will see young people from the Commonwealth regions of the world (Africa, Asia and the Caribbean) joining our own Pacific delegates at the Forum to discuss subjects according to the CYF8 theme. This year CYP‘s plans have included regional meetings on youth and peace building, youth and employment, youth and sports development, the formation of student associations, mainstreaming the implementation of national youth policies and youth development work, and a regional meeting for senior youth officials from ten Pacific Commonwealth countries. We look forward to renewed collaboration with our existing partners and will always welcome new partnerships to maximise our activities for the young people of the Pacific. From the team at the CYP Pacific Centre we wish all young people of the Pacific the best for a great year packed with activities with positive results!


Young Pacific Women: Leading The Way


Youth leaders look to the future By Mark Flynn, RYC member for the United Kingdom

Our year, our voice!

This was the message of young

leaders from across the Commonwealth as they met in Chandigarh, India in December 2010 for the Commonwealth Youth Leaders' Conference. The event brought together Regional Youth Caucus (RYC) members from all four regions of the Commonwealth Youth Programme - Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Pacific - to discuss ideas and make key recommendations on the future of the Commonwealth, and took place within the framework of the International Year of Youth. One third of the world's population live in Commonwealth countries and young people aged 29 and under make up half of these people. Young people, therefore, have a great significance in shaping the future of our world as key stakeholders, and this forum helped provide an opportunity for them to do just that. As well as taking part in various capacity-building and training workshops, the RYC members participated in a consultation exercise to gather their views on how the Commonwealth can work better in the future. These recommendations were then presented to Samuel Kavuma, the RYC member for Uganda (as well as Chair of the Africa RYC) who is also the only youth representative on the Eminent Persons' Group (EPG). The EPG is a distinguished body of leading figures from across the Commonwealth (including former Prime Ministers) who were tasked with the role of making recommendations on the future of the Commonwealth at the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Trinidad & Tobago in 2009. The recommendations made by the youth leaders in India will now be put forward to the EPG for inclusion in its final report.


Above and below: CYP Regional Youth Caucus members at the 2010 Commonwealth Youth Leaders conference, India. Photos by Shahreen Tilottoma and Jacinta Isaacs.

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011

The two broad recommendations that were made were to raise awareness of the Commonwealth and its work and to ensure that the Commonwealth becomes more practical and action-oriented. Within this, some of the specific suggestions included heightening the visibility of the "Commonwealth brand", raising the profile of the Secretary -General, increasing the number of grass-roots programmes carried out by the Commonwealth and expanding on its democracy and peace-building work.


projects in and around Chandigarh, which were both humbling and inspiring, and were able to meet children and young people from a care centre for physical and mental disabilities, as well as a project working to equip young women with tailoring and business skills. It is important for us to remember, as youth leaders, that there exists a great diversity of young people on our planet, all from different backgrounds and with different experiences of life, and that we should not forget about them when caught up in the heat of discussions in international events. It is these people, the hugely diverse mix of young people from across our 54 member states, that we are representing and we should constantly bear this in mind in all that we do.

The RYC members also discussed at great length, the proposed new constitution to establish a Commonwealth Youth Council and streamline the existing youth structures within the organisation. This includes creating an opportunity to allow more organisations from civil society to actively participate in the Commonwealth's youth work. The Pan-Commonwealth Youth Caucus agreed to Despite the winter fog causing disruption to internal flights commission a working group that will now take the lead on in India (which, on a positive note, allowed us to travel by developing the new constitutional document. road from Delhi and see some of the country we were visiting) and the snowy conditions in Europe delaying Additionally, the meeting provided delegates with the onward travel home for several days, all of the delegates opportunity to meet in person to democratically elected were able to get back to their own countries safely. their new leaders. The Pan-Commonwealth Youth Caucus Chair and Vice-Chair positions operate on a rotational basis We can now reflect on the decisions made in India, the and it is currently the turn of the Pacific Region to take the new friendships made (as well as the continuation of old helm. Following the candidates' speeches and answers to ones) and begin to look to the future. The Commonwealth questions put forward by their peers, Noelyn Wagapu unites people in an increasingly interdependent world and (Solomon Islands) was duly elected as the new Chair and allows for different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs to Rebecca Solomon (Vanuatu) as the Vice-Chair. They will come together to tackle the challenges that face the world now take charge of steering the ship along its rightful today. Despite coming from some of the smallest and course and work with the rest of the RYC members from largest countries on Earth, and from opposite ends of the across the four regions to ensure the Commonwealth world, we are all linked together by a common history and accomplishes its mission in relation to young people. shared values. Moreover, we are all young people, trying to make our way in an evermore complex and convoluted One of my personal highlights of the conference took place world, and it brings me great hope and optimism for the away from the heat and passion of the discussions. We future that we can come together to try to work for were given the opportunity to visit some local development positive change. For this, I am truly grateful.



Young Pacific Women: Leading The Way

Pacific Islanders take the helm

Left: Ms Rebecca Solomon, Pan Commonwealth Youth Caucus Vice Chair at her Installation Ceremony with Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Ms Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba Noelyn Wagapu—Tuza from Solomon Islands and Rebecca Solomon from Vanuatu have been elected Chair and Vice-Chair respectively of the Pan Commonwealth Youth Caucus. Voting took place during a five day Commonwealth Youth Leaders‘ Conference, which took place last December in Chandigarh, India. The meeting was attended by 41 delegates from across the Commonwealth, under the banner: ‗Our Year, Our Voice.‘ Four candidates from the Pacific region stood for both leadership roles which had been vacant. The positions, which rotate on a regional basis, will be held for two years. Ms Solomon, an experienced youth leader with considerable international exposure through organisations such as UNICEF, Oxfam and World Vision, pledged to continue her advocacy work with young people: ―I am passionate about working with youth. Youth development work … motivates me to make my peers aware of and address issues affecting us young people,‖ she said. Ms Wagapu said in her manifesto: ―There is a lot happening in today‘s world of rapid developments: increasing populations, unemployment, racism, global climate crises, unsustainable environmental practices (and) drug and substance abuse. ―We, the youth must come to realise that we are the ones who will be affected by today‘s decisions. It is our creative ideas and voices that can shape the future.‖ A broadcaster by profession, Ms Wagapu has received certificates for her community radio work and in 2009 was


awarded the Young Female Solomon Islander of the Year Award for outstanding leadership and achievements in community development. It is fitting that two women will be at the helm of the Commonwealth youth leadership during 2011 – a year in which the Commonwealth will mark women‘s contributions to development under the theme ‗Women as Agents of Change‘. Caucus members from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific are actively engaged in youth work in their countries and facilitate the participation of young people in planning and decision-making within the CYP. During the conference, regional leaders were also chosen by their peers. At their inauguration, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba told them: ―We hope you will make a critical difference in youth leadership and advocacy in the Commonwealth.‖ ―I will tell you the truth no one says about leadership,‖ she continued. ―You will be called on to make sacrifices of your time, creative energy, resources and money. The requirements for serving this youth will come at inconvenient times and your commitment will require more than you presently imagine it will.‖ ―You will be called upon to stretch all of your present problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Do not assume your present commitment lightly. If you find yourself giving less than your best – you are probably not doing a good job.‖ Ms Masire-Mwamba, who oversees youth affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, advised the rest of the Youth Caucus to stand united and support the decisions of their new leaders, even if they did not agree on every issue.

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011


A message from Noelyn...

Right: Ms Noelyn Wagapu-Tuza, Pan Commonwealth Youth Caucus Chair. Photo courtesy of Noelyn Wagapu-Tuza I‘m Noelyn Wagapu - Tuza, Pan Commonwealth Chair, 25 years of age, just found the love of my life and got married last year on the 17th of December 2010. I‘m from the Solomon Islands a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand beautiful Islands. It covers a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres. The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. Solomon Islanders comprise diverse cultures, languages and customs. About 120 vernacular languages are spoken. Most Solomon Islanders are Christian, with the Anglican, Roman Catholic, South Seas Evangelical and Seventh-day Adventist faiths predominating. About 5% of the population maintains traditional beliefs.

education and training, unemployment is one of the major problems. Young people occupy themselves with other social activities such as taking drugs, drinking alcohol, peer pressure or even getting themselves into fights. By doing that, the media often portrays youths as the perpetrators of violence, crime etc and almost never portray them as agents of positive change.

―I will take this opportunity to create an avenue where youth voices are heard, raised and acted upon. I believe that through communication we can reach out and connect with people to listen, observe and to respond with respect.‖

I‘m a radio broadcaster by profession. My interests are radio programming, commercial production and Station promotion. I love listening to music and playing football. My first football debut was when I represented the Solomon Islands in the Oceania U-20 Women‘s Football World Cup Qualifier in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in 2004. There‘s a lot happening in today‘s world of rapid developments; increasing populations, unemployment, racism, global climate crises, unsustainable environmental practices, drug and substance abuse only to name a few. Across the Pacific Region one of the key issues is access to education and training. Young people want more of a focus on relevant vocational training that can lead to employment. Vice-versa where there is limited access to

Youths always have an underrepresented voice in the world and with my term as Pan Commonwealth Chair, I will take this opportunity to create an avenue where youth voices are heard, raised and acted upon. I believe that through communication we can reach out and connect with people to listen, observe and to respond with respect. It‘s always going to be a challenge but one that will only encourage me to move

forward. We youths must come to realise that we are the ones who will be affected by today‘s decision. It is our creative ideas and voices that can shape the future; we are young, active, full of energy, we like challenges and are always open to new and different experiences. We are confident to learn from yesterday, challenge today‘s world and build a better tomorrow. ―We are the YOUTHS for today and LEADERS for tomorrow‖. You can contact me at:


Young Pacific Women: Leading The Way


International Women’s Day 2011 Equal access to education, training and science and technology By Chaitali Chattopadhyay, Programme Officer, Commonwealth Secretariat

Left: Commonwealth Youth Caucus members undertaking media training, Commonwealth Youth Leaders conference, Chandigarh, India, December 2010 International Women‘s Day is celebrated in many countries to recognise the struggle, achievements and the future opportunities that await next generations of women. In December 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

gender equality in employment and economic development. This further strengthens the human rights of women and young girls by empowering them to protect themselves from gender-based violence. ICTs can improve access to quality education as well as promote gender equality by delivering educational and literacy programmes tailored specifically to women and girls.

This year is the International Women‘s Day Global Centenary year. The UN announced ‗Equal access to ICT has traditionally been associated only with men but education, training and science and technology: Pathway there is an increasing understanding of how ICTs can to decent work for women‘ as the benefit young women to enter the job theme for International Women's market as well as to become Small ―Investing in the potential of the Day in 2011. and Medium sized entrepreneurs.

world‘s women and girls is one of

Access to education and technology, ICTs are a tool for accessing the surest ways to achieve global particularly information and information, skills training, economic progress, political communication technology (ICT) stability, and greater prosperity for networking to access international plays an important role in markets, as well as using the net as a women — and men — the world transforming social, economic and virtual market place for products, over.‖ - Hillary Rodham Clinton, political life. However, there is a goods and services. International Women‘s Day 2010 gender gap across and within most countries; almost everywhere women In order to leverage interest in the lag behind men either in access to training or in the ICT field and bridge the gender gap in the use of computer application of technology. and technology as career options, it is important to promote young women‘s access to ICTs early on in their The gendered educational and technological divide has education. primarily been attributed to the stereotypical gender roles and attitudes rather than aptitudes or abilities. Unequal Both ICT and Gender- based violence affect the capacity of power relations in societies contribute to differential women to completely enjoy their human rights and access, participation and treatment for men and women vis fundamental freedoms. Acts of violence against women -à-vis access to, and control of education and technology. and girls are replicated and perpetrated in various ways online. At the same time, ICT can be critical tools to ICTs are a powerful tool to promote the empowerment of connect with help and to take action against Genderwomen and girls, improve access to education and achieve based violence.


Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011


Putting it into practice... SciTech Girls programme

bers ucus mem Youth a C th u o Y lth lth mmonwea mmonwea Above: Co media training, Co India, Dec 2010 , g undertakin ference, Chandigarh n o Leaders c

Microsoft in partnership with the Women‘s Forum, l‘Oreal, FT Orange and Areva has designed to enable young women to choose a career in science and technology. Young students are connected with successful women who have chosen an ―untraditional‖ career path, thus showing that beyond the barriers imposed by cultural preconceptions, scientific careers can also be interesting and fulfilling for women.

Take Back The Tech! is a collaborative campaign calling everyone - especially women and girls - to take control of technology to end violence against women. It takes place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (25 Nov - 10 Dec). Each day of the 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women, it profiles a different organisation and their work, as well as an example of how they are using ICTs, with links to further information about how you can use ICT to end violence against women.

Photo by G4C .

Take Back The Tech!

Girls4Change: Young women speak up! Together with CYP Pacific Centre, young women's leadership group ‗Girls4Change‘ developed a digital storytelling and citizen journalism project to give young women a voice on issues affecting them in Solomon Islands. A digital story is a new medium which combines photography, music, audio narrative and text. It is a powerful and simple tool to express people‘s lives, identity and the issues that affect them. During the four day workshop, which took place in Honiara in June 2011, participants produced digital stories on issues such as youth unemployment, teenage pregnancy, water supply and the positive contribution of young women to society.

with embers m e g n ha Girls4C oto by G4C. Above: Ph

a fan.

In-kind and financial support was provided by Honiara City Council, Save the Children, YWCA Solomon Islands and the UNESCO Apia Office for the Pacific States. For more information contact G4C on or Project Coordinator Ms Jacinta Isaacs on



Young Pacific Women: Leading The Way

Women Agents of Change 2011 Commonwealth Day Speech by Ms. Ethel Sigimanu, Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs

Left to Right: Ms Sigimanu, YWCA members and entertainment at the 2011 Commonwealth Day celebrations, Solomon Islands ―How much more do women have to prove to be recognized in this society or the world over?‖ This question was asked by Ms. Ethel Sigimanu, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, during her speech at the Commonwealth Day celebrations at the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Pacific Centre in Honiara, Solomon Islands on Wednesday 16th March 2011. Ms. Sigimanu speaking on the Commonwealth Day theme, ‗Women as Agents of Change‘ said the hardships women face today cannot be over emphasized. She said that there must be a change in the way that things are done and viewed if women are to be empowered as agents of change. She said that her Ministry has initiated some great work such as having a National Gender and Women‘s policy in place, a National Policy for Eliminating Violence Against Women, a National Youth Policy and a National Children‘s Policy; but yet she asked;

She said that women have tried extremely hard to be seen and heard, to put food on the table, and to care and to nurture their children. Women‘s organisations have tried their best to push for women‘s participation in Parliament, equal access to health and education, to increase women‘s economic participation and yet, they still have many more ‗mountains‘ to climb, argued Ms. Sigimanu. Ms. Sigimanu said that grassroots women needed to be mobilized to be self reliant and to bring about changes that are meaningful to them. The leadership potential of emerging women leaders should also be further developed, to provide them with the necessary skills to exert positive influence. To enable women to better perform their role as agents of change, Ms. Sigimanu recommended that policy and decision makers invest in women‘s education by changing policies and legislation that are insensitive to the needs of women and girls. She asked that women‘s contributions to all aspects of development be recognized, valued and used to shape policy and decision making.

―How many of us Heads of organisations present today take the time to read these policies to find out how our organisation can assist the government to implement these policies for the betterment of our women? Finally, government reforms should be conducted with a gender lens. In doing so, governments need to question ―If we are serious about helping women to perform their how to mainstream a gender perspective into economic, role as agents of change, all the ministries should be political, and social transformation processes and to implementing the appropriate areas of the policies. After continually question how these reforms will improve the all, the issues of women, youth and children are crosssituation of women and girls. cutting. It therefore makes sense that we should all take responsibility to implement these policies because in doing The 2011 Commonwealth Day celebrations in Honiara was so we would be addressing the needs of women, young co-hosted by the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and women, and the girl child,‖ said Ms. Sigimanu. Family Affairs on behalf of the Solomon Islands government, and the CYP Pacific Centre and the Commonwealth Pacific Governance Facility (CPGF) on 10 behalf of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011


Action on youth employment!

Right: Participants at the ‗Investing in Youth Employment‘ conference, 28—30 March 2011, Vanuatu The Commonwealth Youth Program (CYP) Pacific Centre is Work, the reviewed Pacific Youth Strategy, the MDGs and spearheading a regional initiative to put youth employment the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment on the agenda of Pacific governments. (PAYE). The Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Pacific Youth Council (PYC) together with regional participants from both Government and Civil Society have highlighted the importance of employment creation, employability, entrepreneurship and equal opportunities.

"We would encourage governments, the private sector and development agencies to put in place enabling environments for job creation to further the Decent Work Agenda.‖ "Young people bring energy, talent and creativity to economies and create the foundation for future development. They need to be the focus – and not the indirect beneficiaries- of job creation policies," said Mr Ram.

At a March 2011 conference in Vanuatu on 'Investing in Youth Employment', regional agencies as well as government and non-government stakeholders committed to the establishment of a Pacific Youth Employment Strategy (the PacificYES) ―Young people bring and a Pacific Youth Employment energy, talent and Network (the PacificYEN), to facilitate creativity to economies better coordination, resource and create the foundation mobilization, knowledge sharing and for future development. policy engagement toward the creation of decent employment opportunities for They need to be the focus young women and men in the Pacific. – and not the indirect

Participants also advocated for the development of an innovative, entrepreneurial culture across the region, facilitated by better access to skills, business training, stronger partnerships with the private sector, and financial and support services. The need to ensure that young women and men who are part of the working poor, as well as the vulnerable, and beneficiaries- of job "The lack of employment opportunities those working in informal and marginalized creation policies‖ for the growing young populations of the economies are provided with equal access Pacific Islands is one of the most and opportunities, including basic social significant challenges that the region faces," said CYP protection, was also considered a top priority. Pacific Centre Programme Manager Mr Sushil Ram. The meeting prompted a strengthening of the partnership The employability of young people can be encouraged by between the CYP, the ILO and PYC to further enhance taking action on access to education and skills training, youth employment policies and programs in the Pacific. labour market information, work force development, and developing an early awareness of the world of work. The initiative seeks to build on existing regional mandates through the Pacific Plan, the Pacific Action Plan on Decent



Young Pacific Women: Leading The Way

What are the challenges faced by young people in your community?

Senior youth officials from 10 Commonwealth Pacific countries met in Port Vila, Vanuatu on 31 March 2011 to discuss a regional framework for youth development. Chair of the Pacific Regional Youth Caucus, the Commonwealth Youth Programme's regional body of youth representatives, Ms Tamara File, made a presentation on behalf of Pacific youth. Ms File highlighted a number of challenges that youth across the Pacific face, and also proposed a number of solutions.

Challenges Unemployment, under employment and unfair or unequal working conditions Lack of in country opportunities/ options for higher education and vocational training Alcohol and substance abuse Crime and delinquency HIV/AIDS, STIs and teen pregnancy Environmental issues, climate change, global warming Personal/ family conflicts Cultural and community changes

e Contact th ! y a s r u o s Have y uth Caucu o Y l a n io g r Re country o r u o y in r membe a File on Ms Tamar file@gma a r a m ta s m 12

Proposed solutions A National Youth Employment Policy within each individual country in the Pacific Allocated funding for a young entrepreneurs program More Vocational Training inserted into our curriculums and an increase in scholarship options Commitments from within our Ministries of Culture to consider ways of applying culture to technology such as cell phones Easier access to sexual and reproductive health services A focus on family-oriented programs Agricultural programs to be amended to suit the change in our environment. Commitment from Youth Ministries to support the Regional Youth Caucus member for your country

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011


Ship for World Youth By Owen Talo, Journalism and Media student, Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE)

Right: Solomon Islands delegation to Ship for World Youth 2011. Photo courtesy of Owen Talo. Ten young Solomon Islanders and their two Team Leaders were among more than 280 young people from 12 different countries who participated in the 23rd Ship for World Youth (SWY) program, sponsored by the Government of Japan early this year. The theme of the 23rd Ship for world tour is ONE SHIP, ONE HEART, and ONE WORLD. The concept of the Ship for World Youth tour is to deepen international friendships, develop leadership skills and encourage young people to respect the diversity of various cultures around the world, while developing the vision to lead their people towards a better society. Before the group‘s departure from the Solomon Islands, the Ship for World Youth Alumni Association Solomon Islands representative McClin Apusae challenged the young people to be good ambassadors for their country.

in the 23rd Ship for World Youth tour as a privilege. ―It is an opportunity for me as a young person to be closer to different cultures of the world, appreciate their diversity and to make a better society,‖ Sade said. The youngest female in the team, 19 year old Georgianna Lepping, sees the tour as a way to interact with different young people of the world. ―I see the 23rd Ship for World Youth tour as an avenue to improve my leadership skills and help build my self esteem as a young female,‖ she said. Lepping is encouraging other young females to apply and be a part of the youth program in the future.

―SWY is an avenue to improve my leadership skills and help build my self esteem as a young female‖

―How you present yourselves during the programme will reflect on our nation; your actions determine the picture others will paint of us.‖ he said. ―You will be living amongst people from different backgrounds and cultures and you must at all times be sensitive to the differences between us and them,‖ he added. And with this challenge, the Solomon Islands youth participating in the 23rd Ship for World Youth tour embarked on the 41 day programme onboard the Fuji Maru. The young participants made new friends, learnt about new cultures and established a network of youth leaders. Wayne Sade, a participating youth, saw his participation

The overseas youth delegates departed Yokohama on January 21st 2011. The Fuji Maru stopped over in Honiara, Solomon Islands and then continued onto Fiji, Australia and Vanuatu before returning to Japan on March 2nd 2011.

The 23rd Ship for World Youth brought together young people from Australia, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic of Brazil, Republic of Chile, Republic of Fiji, United Mexican States, Federated state of Micronesia, Sultanate of Oman, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Sweden, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Vanuatu and the host country Japan. The delegation from Solomon Islands (pictured above) consisted of National Team Leader Elwin Taloimatakwa, Assistant Leader Julieanne Wickham and team members Fred Oge, Wayne Sade, Ronnelle Panda, Jorrindellah Bulehite, Patricia Gegeu, Jeffrey Tafoleha, Andrew Tahisi, Sophia Tango, Georgianna Lepping and Stuart Kingmele.


Young Pacific Women: Leading The Way


Tausala and Manaia Youth Pageant 2010

Photographs and text by the Division for Youth, Samoan Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development

The Youth Pageant was one of the three activities of the Samoan National Youth Week 2010. This activity is held every two years. The Pageant‘s objectives are:

Tausala (Female)

1. Ms. Deyna Tofupo Leausa – representative of the LDS Church in Samoa 1. To promote the participation of young people through 2. Ms. Brenda Hiporita Koon Wai You – representative of youth development activities the Samoa Red Cross 2. To help develop the self confidence of young people and 3. Ms. Palepoi Sydney Laalaai – representative of the to build their capacity as future public speakers for their Methodist Church of Samoa communities. 4. Ms. Petronilla Satui Tesol Molioo – representative of the 3. To select two youth, one male and one female to Catholic Church in Samoa become youth ambassadors to represent young people of 5. Ms. Haifa Keniseli –representative of the Bahai Faith in Samoa in national, regional and international youth forums. Samoa 6. Ms. Tarita Theresa Sione – representative of the The contestants for the pageant were selected by Congregational Christian Church of Samoa members of the National Youth Working Committee in accordance to a set selection criteria. The Committee There were 5 categories for the Youth Pageant which consists of Youth Directors from different religious were: denominations and a number of local NGOs. Of the 12 1. Creative Wear (using recycled materials) successful applicants (6 manaia male, 6 tausala female) 2. Talent Showcase who were selected as contestants for the pageant, 5 3. Formal Wear- Male, Puletasi- Female denominations were represented along with one NGO and 4. Interview they were: 5. Public Presentation

Manaia (Male) 1. Mr. Lyle Pitonesiofaga Pauga – LDS Church 2. Mr. Joe Ah Chong – representative of the Samoa Red Cross 3. Mr. Moimoi Tauave – representative of the Methodist Church in Samoa 4. Mr. Mathew Iakopo – representative of the Catholic Church in Samoa 5. Mr. Khosrow Siisiialafia – representative of the Bahai Faith in Samoa 6. Mr. Tresil Fepuleai Peni – representative of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa


It was the intention of the organizing committee to apply the Key Priority Areas of the National Youth Policy to the Pageant which would be underlined by these 5 categories. As the Division for Youth is currently in the process of formulating a new National Youth Policy, the Pageant winner along with consultations that were conducted throughout the week has and will be a major contributor to this process. In doing so, these activities have very much been in line with last year‘s theme of ‗Dialogue and Mutual Understanding – Our Year, Our Voice‘.

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011

Programme The official programme for the Youth Week kicked off on Sunday 5th December 2010 with an Opening Service. On Monday 6th December 2010, the contestants all took part in two Community Visits, firstly to the Fiamalamalama School for children with special needs followed by an enlightening tour of APTC (Australia Pacific Technical College). The main purpose of these visits was to give the contestants an opportunity to engage and interact with the community and at the same time expose them to the various educational and vocational opportunities that are available to them. On the same day, the contestants were able to observe one of the National Youth Parliament sessions which was one of the three activities for the Samoan National Youth Week 2010.


prepared and it was a tough competition overall. The winners as determined by the main judges were: Tausala title: Ms Tarita Theresa Sione, aged 22 and an employee at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She represented the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa. Manaia title: Mr Tresli Fepuleai Peni who also represented the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa The prize-giving for the pageant was held on Friday 10th December 2010, during the Closing Ceremony of the National Youth Week. Overall, the Youth Pageant turned out to be a big success which was an entertaining and enjoyable ending to the activities of the National Youth Week 2010.

On Tuesday 7th December 2010, competition kicked off with the pre-pageant activity of Public Presentations. Each contestant gave a presentation on a topic that they had randomly drawn prior to Youth Week. The topics were created from the Key Priority Areas of the National Youth Policy and the presentations were judged by three members from the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development. The presentations attracted so much interest from the public that the venue could almost not accommodate all who attended. On Thursday evening, more than a thousand people turned up at the Congregational Christian Church Youth Hall in Mulinuu to witness the Pageant which was broadcast on TV to the whole of Samoa a week later. Of the four categories that were presented during the evening, the Creative Wear Category which required contestants to present a clothing item made from recycled materials proved to be the highlight of the event. All the contestants were well



Young Pacific Women: Leading The Way

Including youth every step of the way Solomon Islands National Youth Summit on Mainstreaming the National Youth Policy “Youth at the Centre of Our Work”

Left: members of Solomon Islands young women‘s leadership group Girls4Change Mainstreaming the implementation of the Solomon Islands National Youth Policy was the focus of a National Youth Summit held for government, non government and youth representatives in Honiara, Solomon Islands on November 1 and 2, 2010. The Summit was organised by the Solomon Islands Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA).

said, ― Youth mainstreaming is all about stakeholders aligning their plans, activities and policies to the SINYP because youth development is everyone‘s business and no one single agency can effectively implement the SINYP alone.‖ The concept of youth mainstreaming makes so much sense, Ms. Billy said, because it promotes cooperation, sharing of resources and ensures that the different priority youth issues contained in the National Youth Policy are implemented.

The Permanent Secretary of the MWYCFA, Ms. Ethel Sigimanu said she wanted all participants, including government and non government organisations, young people and even donor agencies to understand what ‗youth mainstreaming‘ is. The Youth Development Division of the MWYCFA cannot effectively address all these issues on its own as they have Youth mainstreaming is ensuring that all developmental limited knowledge and understanding of the specific issues organisations include ‗youth‘ in their action plans, and also lack sufficient staff and finance, Ms. Billy said. programmes and policies to support the development of young people. Effective youth mainstreaming therefore ―Youth mainstreaming is requires that the Ministry of Health ensuring that all Ms. Sigimanu said she wanted everyone address health policies; the Ministry of developmental to fully understand how they can use the Education address education polices and organisations include youth mainstreaming idea in their groups such as the Solomon Islands ‗youth‘ in their action plans, contributions to implementing the Young Women‘s Christian Association programmes and policies to (YWCA) implement programs targeting Solomon Islands National Youth Policy support the development (SINYP) and its Action Plan, which had young women. of young people.‖ recently been completed and endorsed by the Solomon Islands Government. An important aspect of the youth mainstreaming approach is coordinating The objective of the SINYP is for Solomon Islands youth to and monitoring each stakeholder‘s contribution. achieve their full potential through programs and activities that offer them choices to make informed decisions about The participants agreed on a Coordinating and Monitoring their future roles and responsibilities. Ms Sigimanu argued Framework that recommended the establishment of a that it was therefore very important that all stakeholders mandated National Steering Committee (NSC) and an Inter and government agencies contribute to the implementation -ministerial and Youth Stakeholders Coordination and of the policy so that young people truly benefit. Monitoring Committee (I-M & YS CM) to coordinate and monitor the overall implementation of the SINYP. This Assisting the Ministry in organising the Summit and would enable the YDD and youth stakeholders to realize explaining the youth mainstreaming concept was the progress and manage reporting against the SINYP. Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Pacific Centre, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and UNICEF Stakeholders submitted their Action Plans on the Pacific Office based in Suva, Fiji. implementation of the SINYP and committed themselves to collaborating with the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children Regional Director of the CYP Pacific Centre Ms. Afu Billy and Family Affairs and others to implement the SINYP through a youth mainstreaming approach.


Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011


Leadership starts here Joanna Brislane, Program Advisor, Solomon Islands YWCA talks to Edlina, a member of the YWCA Rise Up! Group in Munda, Solomon Islands Sitting on the balcony of the YWCA in Munda, Western Province, I asked local young woman, Edlina Pina, what message she wanted to share. Taking time to ponder the question her eyes moved around the space looking from one thing to another until they fixed on three signs, pasted to the door of the YWCA office. They read; Leadership starts here. Leadership starts now. Leadership starts with you. It‘s a fitting message for Edlina to choose and one that she, along with a passionate and energetic group of local young women, is putting into action. Edlina is a member of the YWCA Rise Up! Group; a group of over twenty young women who meet regularly to act on issues they see as important to them and their community. On 25 November 2010, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the young women lit up the Munda marketplace by presenting a drama about the different forms that Violence Against Women takes; a display that was enthusiastically received by the community and one which they have since repeated at the Uniting Church Assembly Youth Rally in December.

keep knowledge to themselves to try and make themselves more powerful. That is why we‘re not progressing and it is not a part of our culture.‖ ―Solomon Islanders have a strong history of sharing; it is who we are and it is how we survive. I am proud of that. But something I am not proud of is that I see people treating knowledge like it is powerful only if you keep it to yourself. People‘s desire to have more money than others or get more benefit from a project than others is making them forget that sharing knowledge and skills is the foundation, not just of our culture, but of building strong communities.‖ With 71% of Solomon Islanders being under the age of thirty and 49% of the population being female it is not surprising that Edlina wants to see both young people and women being better represented in leadership in the Solomons.

Below: Edlina, Above: Members of YWCA group Rise Up! in Munda, Solomon Islands. Photos courtesy of Joanna Brislane.

―My message to young people is start now. You have so many new ideas and perspectives to offer. We need to start sharing the message that leadership can be different. It can be about encouraging cooperation and sharing skills. It can be about truly working together.‖

For Edlina, leadership is about having the confidence and space to raise your opinion. It is about recognizing the leadership you already display and the skills you already have. It is about seeing the difference between good and bad in a situation not only for your own interests, but for the benefit of the whole community. However above all these things, leadership is about sharing and cooperation.

And what does Edlina say when I ask her about the challenges; the times when you feel like no-one is listening?

―If you are a good leader you should share your leadership skills with others and encourage them to be leaders too. Too many people today are trying to

I don't need much convincig that leadership really does start here and now with passionate young people just like Edlina. Do you?

―It takes courage. You need to believe in yourself and in your message and you need to stay strong; keep fighting. Everyone needs to really support young people, particularly young women, to lead. We need to encourage, we need to cooperate and we need to share.‖



Young Pacific Women: Leading The Way

Youth Champs for Mental Health Text and photographs courtesy of Ms Rosie Catherine, Disabilities Rights & Mental Health Officer, YC4MH Youth Champs for Mental Health (YC4MH) is a dynamic, passionate youth group of members from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and youth networks. We Advocate for Positive Mental Health Use Creative Arts and Approaches in our promotion of Positive Mental Health Education Address Stigma associated with Mental Illness and Suicide Prevention. Youths are a vulnerable group and some or most may have faced many challenges growing up as a child and or during their teenage years. The youth population makes up a good percentage of Pacific Island countries. However, the promotion of Positive Mental Health and provision of services and resources is yet to be prioritized in Public Health both in Fiji and in other Pacific Island countries. Thus, young people in our communities remain at a high risk as we struggle to maintain Positive Mental Health as there is very limited resources and access to services. Additionally, culturally, we may not be heard or given the safe spaces to express how we feel, think, what our dreams and strengths are or be supported. Also, those who have suffered from a mental illness, are usually called names such as: crazy, wacko, psycho, lialia*, pagla*, nut, mental, ulukau*, etc, but we are gonna keep on walking ! ! [*Fijian and Hindi words] Thus members of YC4MH encourage existing youth groups and networks to advocate for Positive Mental Health in your Pacific Island Country or Territory. Taking care of our youthful minds early will help prevent Suicide and Chronic Mental illness. We have shared some of our stories and art work to assist further in the expressions of youth who wherever you are may be going through some challenging situations. If you have access to the internet you can also use the following as a resource to promote Mental Health Youth Champs for Mental Health (YC4MH) was formed in 2008 after the National Suicide Prevention Policy Youth Consultation as we found that Suicide was the leading cause of death among young people, according to Fiji Police Statistics. YC4MH can be contacted on Face Book – YOUTH CHAMPS 4 MENTAL HEALTH or write to Youth Champs for Mental Health, C/- P. O. Box U63, Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji Islands or email


Just Tired by Zir5vor... I‘m tired of thinking Tired of the life I‘m living Tired of being Angry ay Tired of this place I see everyd for ry sor l fee I rs Tired of the tea nge Tired of the regrets I could cha this like Tired of smelling ams Tired of the fantasies and dre es fac e Tired of the sam mirror Tired of what I look like in the ks, the foul bac talk , nce sile Tired of the lies, mouth I‘ve become Tired of who I am and what r and over again ove gs son Tired of hearing this Tired of writing this my anger Of lashing out my emotions, d han Thru the pen of my es with me Tired of my mind playing gam life my Tired of everything in Tired of the laughs against me Tired of not giving up Just Tired……………. one of the lowest This poem was written during of age. I felt angry, points of my life at 21 years self-pity when I confused, lost, hopeless and the end of the 2nd s ard was writing this and tow ause I was never bec last stanza I began to cry and tired I was in d har giving up no matter how ieve that there life. It did give me Hope to bel n on the 23rd itte Wr were better days ahead. February, 2008/ Saturday

Title: Bua “I like flowers” Description: Images that are not determined by the weather or the light striking the images, light that usually shows the differences with the varying color combinations.

, I try to eling. Also fe y zz fu u a warm hatever yo rt gives me rt can be w .A s… e v ti ―Creating a c pe ferent pers portray dif be….‖ , want it to Appreciate r 2011 is to fo g le in p g o n e e p ll g ve had cha ge to youn ers who ha e ―My messa p r u o y rt uppo Accept & S n Ligairi s….‖ – Gla e c n experie

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2011


Confinement Who would have guessed that the loudest person in the room felt a sense of silence Who would have guessed that the one that annoyed and made people laugh was crying deep inside Who would have guessed that through all his life he tried ending it more than once not a physical scar to show but a wound so deep it hurt It was this person that lived within me for the past 3 - 4 years I never would have thought that I would get to here I dearly am grateful for all the YC4MH has done to me You never would have guessed but you showed this one person to live freely In my heart I now know why I must breathe each day Its not because of others satisfaction or their laughter In me I know I now can be a better, stronger MAN & just like what you have done to me I will show to others to understand That ending life is just but a silly way to go That God sent me down to earth to Live, Laugh & Grow.

Anyone, no matter your educational or family background, culture, gender, religious beliefs, may undergo some form of stress or accumulated stress. There is No Health without Positive Mental Health. To conclude in the words of our President, Gary Rounds: yes, i'm a prisoner of my own mind but my words will set me free and help you see that those who are mentally challenged are also human, ...who don't need your curses ...who don't need your judgment ...who don't need your verbal gimmicks ....but they need your acceptance ....they need your love ...and they need your support i know you have a loved one who is mentally impaired ...who are fringed ...shunned, ...mocked, ...disrespected, ...discredited, our only hope is that you take heed of this message WE ARE GONNA KEEP ON WALKING ! ! !


Young Pacific Women: Leading The Way


TNYC provides space for people with disability Photographs and text courtesy of Ms Siaila Jagroop, Regional Youth Caucus member for Tonga

This year the Tonga National Youth Congress (TNYC) Office is sharing its office space with the ‗Naunau ‗a e ‗Alamaite.‘ This is an established Non-Government Organization in Tonga founded by disabled youths in 2005.

Addressing the needs of Above: Members of ‗Naunau people living with disability ‗a e ‗Alamaite' together with is part of the Tongan the TNYC team (centre) National Youth Policy, but the stigma around people Their work is not limited to disabled youth but with disability is still a hindrance to the process. Of the encompasses disability in every age group. Part of the total ―2460 people‖ with disabilities over the age of 15 work that they have done in Tonga is the empowerment of years there are few in formal employment (only 3%). disabled people to push for their rights in both decision Moreover, establishing early disability onset (15 years and making and sports. They have successfully sent many below) in children have significantly hindered them from disabled athletes to the Paralympics and through such accessing education, due to stigma, despite the fact that mediums as the Youth Parliament they are trying to project Tonga‘s National Education Plan has a compulsory primary their voice to the policy making level. education policy. According to Rheema Misser, one of the Nevertheless, the TNYC has always been ―People without disabilities Founders of the ‗Naunau ‗a e ‗Alamaite,‘ a supporter of working with disabled consider us like dead they used to operate from Kolomotu‘a, a people. The free space offered at the people. The only difference office will be a stepping stone to an small town just outside of the capital they see is that we are still Nuku‘alofa, but they were forced to look already strong bond between the two breathing…‖ for a new space. His first thought was the Organizations. TNYC because they have always had a close relationship. In the 2006 Tonga The TNYC and youth volunteers makes National Disability Identification Survey there were 2782 quarterly trips to the Disabled people‘s home to clean up people in Tonga living with disabilities. This is about 2.8% and spend the day with them every year. Through this of the total population. This reflects a discrepancy with the program the TNYC ensures that youths with disability are United Nations and World Health Organization‘s figure, always included in any developments regarding all of the which approximated that 10% of the total populace were youth in Tonga. Including people living with disability is a living with disability. significant part of the work done in the TNYC because although youth is a marginalized group in Tonga, a The reason behind this discrepancy is the stigma that is disabled youth is doubly marginalized with stigma an attached to disability in Tonga, thus leaving some cases overbearing obstacle to his/her accessibility in regard to unreported because of people‘s and families‘ fear. Misser education, employment and even health. who is also living with disability stated that ―People without disabilities consider us like dead people. The only difference they see is that we are still breathing…‖


Tell your story! Stand up and make your voice heard! Pacific Youth Voices wants to hear from you. If you're a young person who cares about what's happening in the Pacific, then speak up! Pacific Youth Voices is an online magazine supported by the Commonwealth Youth Program‘s Pacific Centre, and it's open for contributions. It is a magazine by young people, for young people. If you are a young person passionate and engaged in issues involving your community, or have an event, campaign, young person or organisation that you believe should be profiled in Pacific Youth Voices, please send your details to the Editor at To subscribe to the free online version of this magazine, send an email to To contribute an article, purchase a printed copy or find out more email Articles may relate to youth issues in your country/ region such as environmental issues, climate change, health, youth enterprise, youth activism, governance and decision making. Proposals for articles on other topics are most welcome. Drawings, pictures, poems, songs and photographs are also welcome. Whatever your idea, we'd love to hear from you. For more information, please contact the Youth Media and Communications Manager, Commonwealth Youth Programme Pacific Centre on phone: +677 38374/ 38375 or email:

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1, 2011  

Pacific Youth Voices (PYV) is an online magazine supported by the Commonwealth Youth Programme Pacific Centre. It is a magazine by young peo...

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