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Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2012

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 more please email Editing, design and layout by Mandy Warr. All photographs taken by Mandy Warr unless otherwise stated.

Left to Right: CYP Pacific Centre staff Mr. Paul Peteru, Ms. Afu Billy and Mr. Sushil Ram

Contents Message from CYP Pacific Regional Director Ms. Afu Billy

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Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures

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Youth Leaders form a new Commonwealth Youth Body

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CYP salutes Samoan Youth Development Graduates

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Pacific Regional Consultation on Financial Inclusion of Youth

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Wantok Stori Project

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Youth Highlights: From the Festival of Pacific Arts

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Niue Emerging Women Leaders bring about a Wave of Change


Young Scouts Represent Solomon Islands Abroad

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Future Leaders for Climate Change

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Rebecca’s All for Action

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T4T Award Building Pacific Youth Partnerships

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Scouting for Inspiration

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Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Message from CYP Pacific Regional Director Welcome again to another edition of Pacific Youth Voices magazine - produced especially for young people of the Pacific region by the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Pacific Centre. May I start by welcoming Katherine Ellis, who joins us as the new Director and Head of the Commonwealth Secretariats’ Youth Affairs Division, based in London. I would also like to welcome Mandy Warr, the CYP’s new Youth Media and Communications Officer as part of the Australia Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) volunteer programme. Mandy took up her one year assignment with the CYP Pacific Centre in May, earlier this year. In the same breath, I would also like to thank Jacinta Isaacs our former AYAD, who among other things was responsible for producing the Pacific Youth Voices last year. Jacinta has now moved onto ‘greener fields’ and on behalf of the CYP I wish her all the best in her new endeavours. The focus of this edition of Pacific Youth Voices is ‘youth’ and ‘culture’. This is indeed appropriate as it not only links in with this year’s Commonwealth Day theme of ‘Connecting Cultures’, but also reflects on the ‘feast’ of cultural activities the Pacific region has just enjoyed, as part of the Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA) held in Honiara, Solomon Islands in July this year. Why is culture so important to the Commonwealth, Pacific life and every aspect of young people’s lives? Dalcy Penelope Kalu a young mother of 24 says,

“Culture is what I am, who I am and where I am from. Culture is my identity so I have to preserve it.” I agree with Dalcy because culture is everything that we are. It is who we are, where we are from, how we do things, the language we speak, the food we eat, the way we dress, our way of life, how we express ourselves in words, art, song or dance; and there was no shortage of that at the recent Festival of Pacific Arts. At the festival’s closing ceremony Linda Petersen of the Secretariat of the Pacific Commission (SPC), with reference to the Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s speech said,

“In your own words, Honourable Prime Minister, the Festival has truly flourished and grown in magnitude ……. in the diverse range of art forms including weaving, tapa making, wood, stone and bone carving, tattooing, music, theatre, film, costume pageants and fashion shows, culinary arts,


Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2012

traditional money, arts, storytelling, musical instruments, traditional games, symposia and workshops which are all part of the festival.” Ms Petersen says that culture is a binding element.

“Once again, countries have embraced the spirit and life of the festival and true to its purpose the Festival has brought the cultures and peoples of the Pacific together as one, drawing on their heritage and creativity,” she concluded. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of the Commonwealth, also made reference to culture in her Commonwealth Day Message this year saying,

“Connecting Cultures is more, however, than observing others and the ways in which they express themselves. This year, our Commonwealth focus seeks to explore how we can share and strengthen the bond of Commonwealth citizenship we already enjoy by using our cultural connections to help bring us even closer together, as family and friends across the globe.” Culture does contribute to people living in harmony with each other and Dalcy explains this below.

“Culture teaches me to respect my brothers and sisters, for example I cannot mention my brother’s mouth and my brother in turn must not openly display his relationships in front of me and my sisters. Cultural rules govern and guide families and communities to live in harmony as all interactions within our communities have cultural boundaries,”

The Rotary 4 Way Test reads, Of ALL the things we think, say or do: 

Is it the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?


Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

These are the questions I think we can apply to all aspects of life in order to help us; identify who we are, how we relate to our culture, connect with where we come from and define what matters to us most. Another thought, inspired by a regional conference which looked at the rights of children and young people in 2006, is that Pacific people love, nurture and value their children and young people. Much of the culture of the Pacific specifically reinforces the rights of children. But some of it creates conflicts. Culture everywhere in the world is dynamic, and clearly it is the will of Pacific people that children (including young people), should enjoy all the rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by all Member States of the Pacific), including their cultural rights. Thank you everyone and happy reading!

Dalcy adds.

While promoting peaceful existence, culture can also pose challenging situations; especially for young people. Again Dalcy comments,

“Culture is slowly fading away because of the influx of foreign influence on our Pacific societies today. Many aspects of the modern world and way of life do not promote respect these days. Many young women and men are not respecting their parents, brothers and sisters.” What Dalcy is referring to is the major challenge that many young people of the Pacific are constantly faced with, that of trying to adhere to the many cultural expectations but also feeling the ‘pull’ of the growing influences of modernity and globalisation. The challenge for many young Pacific people is trying to find the right compromise between their cultural beliefs and modern day influences. This makes me think of the Rotary 4 Way Test which is a great guiding tool for any young person to use whenever he / she is faced with such dilemma.

Left top / bottom: Local scouts and the Wau’raha pan pipe group celebrating Commonwealth Day 2012, Honiara, Solomon Islands. Photos courtesy of Noelyn WagapuTuza. Left middle: From the left—Ms. Afu Billy, Dalcy Penelope, Mandy Warr, Jan Spalding at CYP’s Queen Elizabeth II



Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Connecting Girls, Inspiring Future 2012 International Women’s Day Speech by Noelyn Wagapu-Tuza, Pan Commonwealth Youth Caucus Chair, Solomon Islands (8 – 13 March). th

Woman as Agents of Change was the theme for Commonwealth Day in 2011. Influential women from across the Commonwealth met the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the 2nd at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, UK.

The evening commemorated the Commonwealth Day 2011 theme, which celebrates women whose work has made a positive difference to the lives of others, and emphasises the Commonwealth message that by investing in women and girls we can accelerate social, economic and political progress in our member states. The Secretariat’s work on women and gender was also profiled at the reception by 6 key women’s advocates from around the Commonwealth, including myself as Chair of the Pan Commonwealth Youth Caucus. Growing up in a family with five brothers, I was treated like a boy. We would play soccer together, hold hands and walk to school together each day. We were always there for each other in any situation. Even when we’d go on holidays back in the village, if one of us wanted to go to the toilet, we’d all go just to keep each other company. We’d even sit on one particular tree, that is how close we were. There came a day when things began to slowly change. On this day, mum took me aside and said,

“My dear, distaim u big gele nao and samfala something where you save doim wetem olketa brothers blo you bae hem have to stop. It’s not because me cross lo u but me like u aware lo hem.” (My dear, you’re a big girl now and there are some things you might not be able to do with your brothers anymore. For example: you can’t spend all your time with your brothers because sometimes it’s taboo. I’m not saying this because I’m angry with you; I just want you to be aware.)


Nevertheless, I adapted to life’s changes and worked my way up through my education, bearing a few things in mind: 1. Being a woman is only a stigma if I allow it to be. 2. As a woman I need to work twice as hard as a man in order to achieve half of what he achieves. 3. Life is not fair or easy, but it is up to me as to whether I accept or resist it. 4. I had no choice as to where, when or how I was born, but I can choose what to become. 5. Right and wrong are not determined by culture, religion or society but by the degree to which they make humanity progress. 6. My enemy is not men, but the ignorance that can take over the heart and mind of a man or woman and the systems, notions and structures that govern it. 7. Rights are never given, but they can be taken. I must be emotionally and intellectually strong to protect my rights.

Mum talked to me about our culture and explained when, where and why there should be respect. Sitting down listening to mum I was sad; I even wished I was a boy. It seemed so unfair to me that boys had so much more freedom, but as a girl I had to follow certain rules to guide me through life.


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Above: Noelyn meeting the Her Majesty the Queen in London, 2011. Below: Sista Saave and SICHE students march at IWD celebrations in Honiara. Photos: Courtesy of Noelyn Wagapu-Tuza. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is no question why the theme for this International Women’s Day is ‘Connecting Girls, Inspiring Future’. As women we hugely contribute to the economic and social performances and success of the Commonwealth. We must make it our responsibility to more fully recognise the part that women play in creating a sustainable and equitable world for us all. So to those of us who are here today and will be participating in the next 6 Day Celebration of the International Women’s Day 2012, this programme provides an opportunity for us to deliberate and share our ideas with civil society groups, business leaders and political leaders. This is another opportunity for us girls to have our say and reflect on our movement’s work to inspire girls and young women through involving, participating and empowering young women in the Solomon Islands. So I call on you to make it meaningful, make it real and make it count. Finally, I would like to end with this note by saying women can contribute, they can move societies, and they can transform communities. If you educate one woman, you educate an entire community.

“So let us work together, let us look at the gaps, let us look at how you can affect change at a faster rate and let us make aware that by connecting girls, we inspire their future.”



Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Youth Leaders Form a New Commonwealth Youth Body During the International Year of Youth (2010/11) young people of the Commonwealth examined and reviewed the role they have played and contribution they have made, in advancing the values and objectives of the Commonwealth. At the Commonwealth Youth Leaders’ Conference in Chandigarh, India (December 2010), Commonwealth Regional Youth Caucus representatives (RYCs) discussed developing a new Commonwealth Youth Body, the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC). Since then, consultations have been undertaken across the Commonwealth regions to consider how best to develop the CYC. Young leaders from around the Pacific discussed and debated the pros and cons of a CYC at the Commonwealth Youth Programmes’ ‘Pacific Young Leaders Conference’, held in Brisbane, October, 2011. Areas of concern identified at this conference included:  

that followed (as a side event alongside of CHOGM in November, 2011), allowed a very brief and general consultation with delegates on best practice in the development of youth structures, there was little time allocated to look at how the CYC related specifically to the Pacific. Therefore a meeting in Suva, Fiji was decided for June, 2012, with an objective to update the Pacific Region on the progress of the CYC and to identify and address any further con -cerns amongst key youth and youth stakeholders.

Above: Participants from CYP / PYC / NYC / RYC meet to discuss the newly formed Commonwealth Youth

Potential for a duplication of work in the Pacific by the Pacific Youth Council (PYC) and the CYC; Potential for confusion amongst stakeholders in identifying who the peak youth led organisation in the Pacific How the CYC’s work will impact on National Youth Councils

As a result of that meeting, it was agreed that further review and consultation around the development of CYC was needed. While the Commonwealth Youth Forum

The outcome of the Suva meeting which doubled as a consultation between the Pacific Regional Youth Caucus and the Pacific Youth Council (PYC) was relatively positive. The meeting con firmed that youth stakeholders remain extremely passionate about youth development in the region and that working in partnership to develop the Pacific version of the CYC was an imperative.

To build on this progress, a CYC Pacific Working Group comprising of members of the PYC and the Pacific RYC was created. It is expected that the Working Group will communicate with the RYC’s and National Youth Councils and encourage focus group consultations in Commonwealth Pacific countries, to discuss the development of the CYC and what this means for the Pacific. Overall, members of the RYC, PYC and NYCs were generally impressed and pleased with the progress that had been made since the Brisbane meeting. Though further progress is still needed, a general agreement for CYC, PYC and CYP to work together towards developing the CYC was achieved.



Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2012

CYP Salutes Samoan Youth Development Graduates Left: Mr Sushil Ram with

Ms. Suria Apulu at the graduation ceremony. Right: NUS Youth Development graduates 2012.

Pride, happiness and satisfaction was written all over the faces of the first group of Samoan Youth Development Work graduates, who recently received their certificates from Dr Emma Kruse Vaai, Deputy Vice Chancellor of National University of Samoa (NUS) and Mr Sushil Ram, Programme Manager of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Pacific Centre. An official awards ceremony to commemorate the special achievements of these 6 students was held at the National University of Samoa in July 2012. The NUS began offering the course in 2010 in partnership with the CYP Pacific Centre and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF). The Samoan graduates now join many other youths and youth development workers worldwide, who have also undertaken this course through the four CYP regional centres in the Pacific, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean At the graduation ceremony CYP spoke to one of the recent graduates Ms. Suria Apulu, who as a 25 year old with a physical disability, is an inspired teacher for children with special needs at Loto Taumafai School, in Apia, Samoa. According to her,

“The Diploma gives me the practical training skills to reach out to children and youths with special needs. The biggest thing I learnt from the Diploma is the importance of building knowledge on top of knowledge, which I repeatedly learn though finding new ways to be creative and innovative whilst working with young people. Acquiring this Diploma has empowered me. I have learned everything about working with youth in the widest possible sense… I see the Diploma of Youth Development course as a starting block towards my holistic development; it empowered me to soar to the heights without ever losing sight of the struggle for equality and justice for all.''

The Deputy Vice Chancellor of National University of Samoa Dr Emma Kruse Vaai congratulating the graduates for their achievement and urged them to provide the effective leadership to the youth in their communities. She thanked CYP for its commitment to the region and to the empowerment and development of the Young pacific Islanders. She assured the National University of Samoa’s continued partnership with the CYP in the development of young people. In his keynote address, Mr Sushil Ram, Programme Manager from CYP Pacific Centre said,

“Offering the Diploma in Youth Development Work was the Commonwealth Youth Programme’s strategy for professionalizing youth work. By incorporating youth development work into the academic arena through the diploma programme, it has become an important tool for advancing greater recognition and respect for youth work practice and CYP has contributed to the academic and social discourse on youth development at the global level. The CYP Diploma in Youth Development Work is a very unique course. It is delivered in 45 countries by 27 Universities and training agencies across the Commonwealth. In the Pacific region, it is delivered through the University of the South Pacific in Suva Fiji, Solomon Islands College of Higher Education in Solomon Islands, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in Australia, Divine Word University in Papua New Guinea Institute and at the National University of Samoa. The Diploma in Youth Development Work is designed to provide youth workers with an underpinning knowledge on which to base their work with young people; an understanding of the values and ethics of the profession, grounded in the values and principles of the Commonwealth; and the practical skills to undertake youth work.



Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Pacific Regional Consultation on Financial Inclusion of Youth 27-29 June, Sydney, Australia The difficulties young people face accessing financial services such as savings and credit accounts from financial institutions, was a major discussion during a Commonwealth Pacific Regional Consultation on the ‘Financial Inclusion of Youth’ held recently in Sydney, Australia. Programme Manager of the CYP Pacific Centre, Mr Sushil Ram said that ‘Financial Inclusion’ means enabling people to access the financial services offered by banks and other financial institutions. A large number of young people across the Commonwealth have neither the essential skills to enable their employability, nor the access to financial services or products to build their assets base and financial capability. He added that many financial institutions are reluctant to provide enterprise, capital or loans to young people for whatever projects they may want to begin, but enabling young people to access banking services is a critical component in equipping them with financial security and social stability. The Commonwealth Youth programme, along with a growing cadre of international and local organizations, believe that the financial inclusion of young people is critical because it creates a legal and promotional environment for the delivery of banking services that are appropriate for young people. In the Pacific region there are financial inclusion programmes being run by a number of Central Banks, however these programmes and initiatives may not specifically target or service young people. Providing young people with tailored financial services at the right times in their lives and with the right support services can help them improve their education and livelihoods in the short term, to position themselves for sustainable productive lives in the long term. There also needs to be youth friendly financial services architecture to support successful young micro-entrepreneurs. The CYP is advocating with governments and other stakeholders to not only have a national policy on youth employment with the focus on enterprise development, but to also introduce innovative financial and non-financial support services designed to strengthen the capacity of young people. This will assist them to manage loans efficiently and effectively grow their businesses through partnerships with business development service providers and targeted market access programs. The Commonwealth Regional Financial Inclusion Consultation brought together representatives from governments, commercial banks that operate in the Pacific, national Central Bank representatives and those from other financial institutions. Participants deliberated on what is happening in each country and how to address the financial inclusion of young people. One UNDP project that is conducting work in the area of financial inclusion is the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), which is helping to provide sustainable financial services to 70% of Pacific islanders who remain unbanked. This program has introduced Savings clubs using credit unions, micro-finance projects and mobile financial services available through mobile phones, all of which have shown the potential to extend financial services to remote communities. The Central Bank of Solomon Islands has also taken the lead on a range of measures to address financial inclusion in a coordinated, holistic approach. Three focus areas were agreed on by participants to be the way forward for the matter of ‘Financial Inclusion of Youth’ in the Pacific. These included; immediate action be taken to conduct a baseline study of youth financial inclusion in the Pacific; a regional working group to be formed and approach the PIFP to address youth financial inclusion in the Pacific and a pilot project addressing youth and financial inclusion in one or 2 countries or institutions to be undertaken. This consultation was organized by the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Pacific Centre, with assistance from regional partner organization’s including the International Labour Organization (ILO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through its Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP).


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Wantok Stori Project I never thought my involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh Award program would land me with the opportunity to be in a filmmaking project, which would come to inspire me to consider filmmaking and photography as a serious profession. Being selected to be part of the Wantok Stori filmmaking project was a dream come true for me, as I got the chance to work with professional filmmakers and expand my media skills. The Wantok Stori project was initiated to help young people in the Solomon Islands and throughout the Pacific know more about their culture and find creative ways to preserve it, via the medium of filmmaking. The finished product ‘Wea Nao Mi?’ is a story about a village boy who wants to go to town, falls asleep and find himself in a nightmare that will change his life forever. It explores the festival theme ‘Culture in Harmony with Nature’ and specifically cultural and social change taking place in the Pacific. As part of the project, me and eight other young emerging filmmakers in Honiara took part in a training program over 2 weeks from 16th to 27th of April, 2012. During this time, we learned various professional film-making practices, including; planning film shoots, writing scripts, storyboarding, camera operation techniques and working collaboratively as part of a team. The training took a participatory and practical approach where we got to discuss, problem-solve and put into practice new ideas and skills as a team.

Above left to right: Wantok Stori film crew at FOPA screening and Kerrie Jionisi behind the camera. Article written by Kerrie Jionisi and photos contributed by Wantok Stori.

A major highlight of this experience was the World Premiere screening of our film “Wea Nao Mi?” at 11th Pacific Arts Festival in Honiara, as part of the official Film Festival program. I had the opportunity to share my experience with the audience, engage with other filmmaking networks, media experts and make new friends from all over the South Pacific. It has been wonderful to work with other aspiring young filmmakers who have inspired me so much. From this experience, I have become more assertive, more positive and have more confidence working closely with male peers. My passion and motivation for making media has been reignited and I will continue to work towards my dream of a career in filmmaking.

“ I would like to encourage other young people, especially women - if you have an interest or talent, find someone who can support and mentor you to excel in this field. Wantok Stori is led by independent producers and filmmakers Samantha Cooper, Amie Batalibasi, Lisa Hilli, Adriel Tahisi, with support from Festival of Pacific Arts organising Committee/Solomon Islands Ministry of Culture and Tourism, One News, Solomon Islands Victorian Association, Multicultural Arts Victoria and Youthworx. ‘Wea Nao Mi?’ is available to watch on YouTube and available through Copies of the film are also available from Adriel Tahisi of Trad Records (Solomon Islands). Copies of the film are available from Adriel Tahisi of Trad Records (Solomon Islands).



Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Youth Highlights: From the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts, Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The festival featured young artists and performers from 27 participating countries across the Pacific, including: American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis & Futuna.


Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2012




Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Niue’s Emerging Women Leaders Bring about a Wave of Change

Article contributed by Ina Vakaafi Photos courtesy of the NEPWL Emerging young women leaders are about to embark on a life changing journey as part of the Niue Emerging Pacific Women Leaders (NEPWL) project, funded by the AusAID Pacific Leadership Program (AusAID PLP) and supported by Vital Voices. This project is the outcome of concepts developed during the Emerging Pacific Women Leaders (EPWL) program held in Port Vila, Vanuatu in December, 2011. The programmes aims were to empower delegations from countries across the Pacific region including; Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. The forum was organised by Vital Voices with support from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and AusAID PLP. Driven by the concept that women’s leadership and equal participation in economic and public life will lead to sustainable development across the Pacific region, each delegation is in the process of implementing individual projects. The focus of the NEPWL project is to increase women’s involvement in income-generating opportunities associated with the burgeoning tourism industry by raising public awareness, research, training and job shadowing prospects. After a lengthy recruitment process fifteen young women between 15 – 34 yrs. old will go through a series of practical training workshops that will educate, inform, build confidence, capacity and leadership skills. This will provide them with opportunities to consider new career options and increase income generating opportunities. On Tuesday the 10th April, 2012 Niue launched the ‘Niue Emerging Pacific Women Leaders’ project, which was attended by a wide representation of past, present and emerging women leaders from the various sectors, as well as high level government officials pledging their support to the program. In support of the NEPWL programme New Zealand High Commissioner Mark Blumsky whom attended the opening said,

“The level you need to take it to is the younger ones. I fully support the objectives of the project and the need to engage with young women and nurture their talent through mentoring and with financial support. What we are doing now is about creating an incubator here on this island for talented young women, so they can grow, develop and contribute. I have no doubt there are some wonderful opportunities for young ladies on this island, because of the role models that are here that they can look up to.”



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Mr Blumsky also put forward financial support towards an ‘Emerging Businesswoman Award’ to be introduced at the Niue Business Awards at the end of the year. The project looks to capitalise on the rich pool of resources on the island, by utilising existing female role models from senior levels of government, established business women and community leaders to provide guidance in a mentoring capacity and use a “buddy” system to maximise benefits. By forging partnerships with organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Niue Council of Women, Niue Youth Council and Niue Tourism the team take a collaborative approach to deliver project objectives. The hope is that those who are part of the project will be able to pay it forward and go on to inspire and encourage others. Some of the participants explain what they hope to achieve by joining the NEWLP below; Cherish Asemaga (20 yrs.)

“I want to learn, gain knowledge and share with other female friends.” Clemensia Talotose Sioneholo (15 yrs.)

“I want to get some experience that will help shape my future. I want to learn how to start or manage a business and have a back up option if my first dream job is unavailable. “ Tamyrah Mautama (17yrs)

“This project would help me improve my leadership skills and provide me with an opportunity to learn about business all around in Niue or in the Pacific.” The end goal of the Project is to provide young women with enhanced knowledge, skills and abilities to advocate for women’s economic opportunities and leadership in Niue with the potential of creating a ripple effect throughout the Pacific Island region.

Above: NHS students recruited to the project at local internet cafe Rocket Systems.

To follow our progress online join us on Facebook:!/groups/niueepwl/342178215868139/?notif_t=group_comment



Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Young Scouts Represent Solomon Islands Abroad One of the largest groups actively engaging the youth of Solomon Islands to participate, learn and contribute to a brighter future is the Solomon Islands Scouts Association (SISA), whom recently attended the Commonwealth Scout Forum in London at Gilwell Park. Representing SISA, was Andrew Leitaka from Western Province and Seth Sio from Malaita Province, both members of the SISA based in Honiara. The forum took place on Friday the 27th of April and brought together scouting representatives from twentytwo countries across the Commonwealth. During the forum the scouts participated in a number of plenary sessions, presentations and group discussions evolving around the central theme of 'Developing Scout Partnerships in the Commonwealth'. The topics discussed at this meeting include;    

Connecting Cultures Scouting in your community International Scouting Programmes and What we can do to help each other and how we can facilitate local exchanges.

Above: Seth Sio and Andrew Leitaka receiving participation award from Commonwealth Secretary General Kamesh Sharma.

One of the key points raised at the meeting was the importance of international exchange programs to build partnerships with other Commonwealth countries and develop the leadership skills of young people. An example of the benefits international exchange programs present for youth, which was highlighted during the forum was the ACT / Solomon Islands Exchange Project (initiated by Ramsi in 2003) in partnership with SISA and the Australian Scout Association in ACT. The Chief Commissioner of SISA, Mr Joe Billy Oge describes the benefits of international exchange programs in saying,

“It helps young people develop cultural understanding and practice leadership themselves. They plan and organise their resources to fund trips and develop leadership skills in a practical way.” Some of the key ideas emerging from this discussion about the future development of Scouts across the Commonwealth, include;  Expanding the exchange program to develop partnerships with other countries.  Developing partnerships between Scout Associations  across the Commonwealth to help emerging Scout Associations grow.


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 Developing a buddy system with partner countries to work on exchange programs with. The SISA are now working towards organising the next exchange program in 2013. On the Sunday, Andrew and Seth took also part in the UK 2012 National Scout Service and Parade, which took place at Windsor Castle. This was followed by a reception with the Commonwealth Secretary General at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House. In attendance was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and other royal dignitaries as well as the Chief Scout of United Kingdom, Mr Bea Grylls. In support of the Scouts participation Ms Afu Billy - Regional Director of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Pacific Centre said,

“It is always great to see young people being involved in international forums. It exposes them to different cultures; different ways of doing things; enhances their knowledge and skills and enables them to discuss on subjects that effect the lives of young people.” Since returning to the Solomon Islands both Seth and Andrew have been involved in a youth leadership program to help develop future Scout leaders within the SISA. Upon reflection of this experience and the opportuni-

“I think it's important for more people to take on leadership roles, so they can pass down important knowledge and lead other young people in the future.” On behalf of the SISA Mr Joe Billy Oge thanks the support of the Solomon Islands Government: Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, the Commonwealth Secretariat and Solomon Airlines in making this trip possible.

Photos courtesy of Martyn Milner



Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Future Leaders for Climate Change

Article written by Peter Furai Photos contributed by the FCLP at USP. Left: Workshop facilitators and guest Chief. There is a need for greater level of emphasis on community level participation in helping countries adapt to climate change. These views were shared by the Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management, Honourable John Moffat Fugui, at the opening of the five-day Community Workshop on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation for the Melanesian Region in Honiara, Solomon Islands from 28 May - 2 June 2012. The workshop was part of the climate change capacity building and community engagement activity of the ‘Future Climate Leaders Project’ (FCLP). The workshop aimed to educate, train and share information with Melanesian communities on understanding, mitigating (reducing) and adapting to climate change and was attended by 30 young community representatives from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. A series of presentations were delivered by key speakers, including; Dr. Morgan Wairiu, (Research Fellow CC) Dr. Sarah L Hemstock (Team Leader EUGCCA), Mr. Sumeet Naidu (Project Coordinator Future Climate Leaders Project), Mr. Viliamu Iese (Research Fellow CC) Sarika (CC Communication Consultant & Mr. Leone Limalevu (Project Leader CCA), whom facilitated the workshop. During these presentations some of the key focus areas discussed were;          

Climate variability and Change and its Implications for Pacific Island Countries Climate change mitigation and energy use National Climate Change programs in Solomon Islands Climate change, ocean acidification, sea level rise & coastal erosion Climate change and Biodiversity Coastal erosion impact on Biodiversity on Gizo Island Climate change, food security and use of DSSAT model as tool for CC adaptation for food security Vulnerability & Adaptation Assessment Governance and mainstreaming climate change in national development plans Climate change funding in the Pacific Islands

Honourable Fugui noted that it was especially good to see initiatives that involved people at the community-level due to the low numbers of communities acting as “catalysis of adaptation to climate change and its mitigation.” The Minister commended the efforts of the University of the South Pacific in providing participants with the opportunity to share information, experiences and knowledge on climate change adaptation at the community-level in Melanesia.

“When specific community case studies are presented for discussion, a greater appreciation will be reached in terms of the struggles and challenges each and every community in our region faces.”



Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2012

Left: Peter Furai receiving certificate of participation.

Below: Workshop participants in collaboration.

This workshop was very inspiring and motivational. It provided me and many others with a wide range of knowledge and informative approaches on the impacts of climate change, as well as adaptation and mitigation measures. These group discussions set up a platform for sharing ideas about the management of climate change across the Pacific, which has helped equip me with the knowledge and skills as a future leader for climate change in my country. Mr Sumeet Naidu, the Project Coordinator of the FCLP outlined why it is important for Pacific youth to be engaged in understanding and managing the impacts of climate change in saying,

“Young people are our future leaders who shall lead the Pacific Island nations in achieving economic development and economic progress. It is important to educate young people on climate change so they can understand climate change issues and be better equipped with response driven adaptive measures, in managing the risks associated with climate change in an effective and sustainable way.” The key strategies for community climate change adaptation and mitigation, highlighted by Leone Limalevu are as follows:

      

Proper project management system and coordination set-up are essential Proper community-based awareness and relevant training programs are essential Community leadership or management system plays an important role in project implementation and uptake. Community involvement is essential for success and sustainability of the adaptation initiative Support from outside groups is important Information about climate change needs to be disseminated and shared Long-term monitoring, maintenance and evaluation are needed (5-10 years)

It is clear both globally and locally observed impacts of climate change are having significant social, economic and environmental implications for countries across the South Pacific. As a Future Leader for Climate Change, I believe that climate change issues need to be mainstreamed into youth policies, plans and frame works. Engaging youth in the management of climate change is crucial for sustainable development, as we are responsible for the livelihood of future generations. The workshop was an initiative of the AusAID-funded Future Climate Leaders Project (FCLP) from the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) at USP.



Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Rebecca’s All for Action Rebecca Solomon started volunteering her time and efforts for youths in her country at the very young age of 18, holding various leadership roles in youth development with her position as the Vice Chair for the PAN Commonwealth Youth Caucus in Vanuatu. The Caucus looks after youth issues of the Commonwealth's 54 member countries and she is one of the young leaders tasked with this. At only 26 years of age, many will be surprised that she is one of two Pacific women holding the chairmanship of the Commonwealth Regional Youth Caucus.

Article: Contributed by

Solomoni Biumaiono from the Fiji Times.

Photo left: Taken by Jacinta Isaacs

Within a space of eight years she worked herself from a humble beginning as volunteer with the Youth Challenge Program in Vanuatu, to be a part-time National Youth Council Administrator and on to become the Vice Chair of the Pan Commonwealth Youth Caucus.

"I have learnt a lot from the Commonwealth Youth Program and Oxfam. It's like I have a national, regional and international network already established, with other youths and organisations that I have worked with or worked for," Rebecca says.

She was elected as the Vice Chair two years ago, a role she thinks has a forum on which to highlight the basic thing that many youths around the world really lack.

"For me personally, when I was elected as Vice Chair, one thing I wanted the world to realize and perhaps make room for is to hear and act on the voices and choices of the young people. For them not to be just heard but for their opinions to be counted and acted upon by our leaders," Rebecca says.

Since then, she has undertaken numerous capacity building exercises serving internships at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, at their field office in the Solomon Islands and now interning at her own home country of Vanuatu. As Vice Chair she has to mentor and motivate new intakes in the Oxfam International Youth Partners program, based in Vanuatu. As Vice Chair she has to mentor and motivate action partners for 2012 - 2013 in the Oxfam International Youth Partners program based in Vanuatu.

"Working with local and international organisations has made me learn a lot of things regarding youth work and also meeting youths from other Commonwealth countries and different regions. To me it's like studying at university because we're constantly learning," she explains. For Rebecca, community work is nothing new as she was always involved in the community through her father, who is a teacher and also a village chief on her


Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2012


village on Puninga Island in Vanuatu. Because of her father's role as a chief, Rebecca was brought up knowing the many challenges and vision set out by villagers.

"I usually see him being involved in community work and is part of the decision making process in the village, so I became involved in community work from an early age and I've liked community work ever since." After finishing high school, completing a community service certificate and doing a stint as a shopkeeper, Rebecca volunteered herself with the Youth Challenge program in Vanuatu in 2004. She was sent to work on Paama Island for two months, creating awareness in villages there about gender and health issues, as well as helping to build a kindergarten.

“At school I never learnt how to build a house, but through this work I learnt how to build a house and make toys for the children there," she says.

Above: Rebecca with action partners from the Oxfam International Youth Partnership program.

In 2005 she joined the Pacific Star Life Skills Program as a trainer, teaching young people life skills which encourages self esteem, HIV/AIDS, knowing negotiation skills and how to manage good relationships. Then in 2006, she earned her first real job, working for the World Vision as a Research Assistant Officer for their Childhood Education program in Vanuatu.

"One of the important things we wanted to impart on the community is to help parents develop income generating activities which would discourage them from gambling. It had become widespread and is seen as a major source of income for some people.” Rebecca says. While still with World Vision she joined the Oxfam International Youth Partnership Program as an action partner from 2007 – 2010, where she was required to carry out an action plan within her community, after initial capacity building in Australia. She returned to her home Buninga Island with 5 other volunteers and carried out educational programs for children there.

"For me, I would say it is mission accomplished because after I implemented the project, I made an impression on people too. The former President of Vanuatu Kalkot Matas Kelekele and the First Lady travelled to the island, to officiate at the closing of the program and celebrate Children’s Day on the 24th July," Rebecca says. At this point she also became actively involved with the Vanuatu National Youth Council, where she volunteered to help set up its office and later become one of their administrators. Immediately after that, she was chosen as Vanuatu's representative to the Commonwealth, an experience that she is still enjoying and working hard on, to achieve her goals as a youth advocate.



Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

T4T Award Building Pacific Youth Partnerships The International Award is an exciting self-development programme for young people worldwide aged between 1425yrs to gain leadership skills, build confidence and help them engage with their communities. The award began in the UK, where it is also known as the Duke of Edinburgh. Over the past 50 years it has spread across the globe because both its’ philosophy and format, have provided attractive and adaptable to many different cultures. To date, over seven million people have participated in the International Award programme and now it operates in over 140 countries and territories.

Photos: Courtesy of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association

To further build the capacity of Pacific countries to deliver the International Award to a greater number of people, the Asia Pacific Regional Office recently delivered a Training for Trainers (T4T) workshop at the Pacific Theology College in Suva, Fiji between the 16th – 18th July. A range of youth workers, peer educators and experienced award leaders from the Pacific Youth Council (PYC) came from countries all over the Pacific to take part, including; Palau, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Marshall Islands. Valeriano Kwany is one of the coordinators of the Youth-to-Youth (YTY) and T4T Award Programs in the Solomon Islands, shared with us some of the benefits and challenges involved in achieving the award. The T4T program allows youth workers to “gain a qualification for future self-employment where they can learn management skills, build selfconfidence and be supported by a network of other positive young role models and leaders,” said Valeriano. He also described one of the challenges for the participants successfully completing the program is to, “work voluntarily to build a service to others whilst also working with limited funding and resources. “ He further explained in order to implement and sustain their individual programs (especially in regional areas), they are required to work independently to self-manage their projects within their communities. The 3 day T4T workshop facilitated networking and collaboration and provided participants with the tools to be able to design and run successful training events for youth groups in their country. The program will further be used to build pacific island training panels and develop a pool of experienced trainers in the Pacific who will: 

Know – frameworks for building training programmes for a variety of needs and audiences

Feel – confident to travel nationally to deliver award leader training workshops in the pacific

Do- practice and get feedback on their training design and delivery skills 20

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1 2012


The YTY-T4T initiative is about building the capacity of the Pacific, both regionally and nationally to deliver training. In nominating to attend the YTY-T4T, it is expected that all PYC youth delegates will: 

Become active Award leaders who will become familiar with the Award

If under the age of 25 years will consider commencing their own Award

Be willing to complete designated background reading prior to attending the YTY – T4T

Be confident to delivering training in English at the YTY-T4T but willing and able to deliver Award leader training in their native language

As a volunteer, be willing and able to commit to designing and delivering at least three Award leader training courses per year, for 3 years, in their own country.

For further information, please contact: The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation Suite 103, Level 1, 80 Clarence Street Sydney, NSW, 2000, Australia Tel: +61 2 9299 5454 Skype: +61 2 9299 5454 Email:



Connecting Cultures, Inspiring Futures

Scouting for Inspiration Emma Anne White speaks shares some thoughts on how she came to be member of the Honiara Scout Group in Solomon Islands. I was first introduced to scouting when I attended one of their adult leadership training courses. It was a four day program which included camping, making campfires and most importantly, having fun. On day one, I wasn't sure if I would fit in because I was used to working alone. But Scouts taught me how to work as a team through their ‘patrol system’, which encourages everyone to participate in tasks and be responsible for the team as a whole. It feels great to be involved, because I know I'm contributing to something really big that is helping young people. One of the recent, big projects we worked on in partnership with CYP, was to build Queens Diamond Jubilee beacon fire, which was lit as part of the worldwide Commonwealth celebrations in Honiara. I am proud to have been part of this experience where I get to work with other young people and take part in community. Scouts’ is a mixture of adventure, fun and most of all it's a family. So many youths find excuses to just consume alcohol, go where ever, do whatever because they don't know what to do next... I have seen and experienced it myself. Just imagine if half of Honiara’s youth population joined Scouts. It would definitely make a huge positive difference, because youths will be engaging with themselves and activities that really help them to become good citizens. Because the scouts have helped me, I know it will help other youths as well. The Scouts law has helped me get through a lot of obstacles that I face every day. I have to convince people, especially my parents that I have changed, by simply reminding myself of the Scouts’ laws. One in particular, says it is important for a Scout to be trustworthy. This one helps me in everything I do, because it will help people see that I am responsible and capable of handling all of life’s situations. Being a scout holds great responsibility and it teaches one to be more considerate in everything one does every day. Scouts have helped me change my perspective of life and realize there’s no challenge to big. It’s really a good feeling to see how passionate our Scout leaders are about creating a better future young people and I am glad to be one of them. I believe, if young people can work together alongside our parents, community leaders and governments, we will be better supported and I hope to see the Scouting Association grow in our country. I'm forever proud to be Scout.


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 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:

Photo on back cover: From the Festival of Pacific Arts, 2012. Middle: Laulasi Cultural Group from Langa Langa, Malaita Province performing in FOPA street parade. Photo courtesy of Michelle Bell

Pacific Youth Voices Edition 1, 2012  

Pacific Youth Voices is an online magazine published by the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Pacific Centre in Honiara, Solomon Islands. I...

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