Monday, 3 November 2008 4:41 PM

Youths Given a Voice

Young people across the Pacific have been given the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns on social, cultural and political issues in a new report commissioned by the World Bank.

The very real prospect of being marginalized by their community ranks at the top of a list of fears many youth across the region are experiencing.

Giving South Pacific youth a voice surveyed young people throughout six Pacific nations to gain an understanding of the changes they themselves wanted to see in their communities in order to make some practical recommendations to help implement these changes.

Overall, 62% of rural respondents and just 46% of urban respondents throughout Solomon Islands considered their community and community leaders to be well-informed on youth issues. A much greater discrepancy became evident in terms of gender equality however, with the majority of young women feeling marginalized both at home and in the workplace, with few viable channels available to voice their concerns - 50% of male respondents surveyed stated they would take direct action concerning a problem affecting youth, compared with 40% of female respondents.

"Fostering inter-generational dialogue and opening up avenues for young people to engage in and constructively contribute towards decisions made in their communities will help in alleviating feelings of de-motivation, apathy and low self-esteem while encouraging them to become active and responsible citizens," say the authors of the report, Shasheen Jayaweera and Kate Morioka.

This is a statement Audrey Baeanisia, Youth Development Officer for Honiara City Council, agrees with. "It's a responsibility of all people, including families, communities and provinces to address youth issues and come up with solutions."

Young people throughout the Pacific are looking for a way to make a contribution to their community and have their voices heard. The efforts, views and opinions of government agencies, youth sector organizations, and youth themselves need to be united in order to create a much-needed change.


Source: National Express