For the past month, over 250 youths have participated in a series of weekly training sessions on “Peace-building and Reconciliation” facilitated by the UNDP’s Human Security project as part of the Youth at Work program.

Youth at Work is a combined effort of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Ministry of National Unity, Peace and Reconciliation, the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labor and Immigration, the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs and the Pacific Leadership Programme. Aimed to equip unemployed youth who are school leavers or graduates, Youth at Work mentors in basic skills and values and gives practical job experience through internships in Ministries, businesses, and civil society.

The training sessions gave skills in peace-building, active listening, conflict analysis, and introductions to trauma resilience. Youth ended by envisioning and being challenged to work toward a Solomon Islands built on positive, sustainable peace. Peace-building requires the work of the entire nation and youths play a critical important role as leaders in and advocates for addressing conflicts non-violently.

Following the weekly trainings of a larger groups of youths, a 3-day workshop on “Fruits of Peace: Non-violence and Increase the Peace training” ran for a subgroup of 20 Youth at Work participants hoping to develop more in-depth skills. Overall, the training sessions aimed to inspire youth to be examples within communities and job places to effectively address opportunities for peaceful resolution of conflicts.

The “Peace Building and Reconciliation” training designed by Anna Crumley-Effinger, a Rotary International Peace Fellow focused on the difference between conflict and violence as well as the importance of non-violence and conflict resolution in society.

On the final day of the weekly trainings and in partnership with the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation, and Peace (MNURP) the youths discussed the national reconciliation and peace-building efforts with the youth.

A youth participant stated that he “learned more about how to solve conflict non-violently and how to build peace in our country/how to restore peace in individual and national problems.”

While another said, “I’ve learned that I can build and develop my self-confidence through peaceful behaviors which I learned in the seminar. Through peaceful behaviors societies can work and cooperate together for the betterment of their family, community and nation.”

In addition to training sessions such as Peace-building and Reconciliation, Youth@Work’s major aim is to provide participants with a strong foundation for the job market by assisting with resume-building, interview skills, and matching youth with mentors and practical job experience. Youth at Work (Y@W) is currently in Phase 3 has previously graduated 500 youths through the programme having begun in July 2012.

.While readying promising youth for the job market is the goal, social and ethical aspects of life skills is seen as integral to the Y@W mission.

“This training that was provided was extremely important for Youth at Work. The program was created as a peace-¬building effort to address disenfranchisement among youths. The peace--building component is essential to the youths and to the success of Youth at Work,” says Sandra Bartlett, Y@W Project Coordinator.

Stella Delaiverata Tuhaika, UNDP, Crisis Prevention and Recovery Programme Analyst, said the project is a great example of sustainable peacebuilding. “The Human Security Project aims to work with communities on how to achieve sustainable peace by dealing with conflicts peacefully and addressing their root causes effectively. Youth can be important leaders within communities to share their knowledge, learning, and skills in peace-building. ” 


Source: Press Release, UNDP Solomon Islads