Honiara City Council last week farewelled Australian Youth Ambassador, Ben Kilsby, who has worked in the Youth, Sports and Women's Affairs Division for the past year.

Together with the Head of the Division, Audrey Baeanisia, and several other new recruits, Ben has helped the Division successfully organise a number of community and youth development projects in Honiara and increased the capacity of the division to handle its expanding workload.

The Division has recently repainted Honiara's only footbridge overpass near the National Referral Hospital. This project helped to create a vibrant gateway to the City centre by covering graffiti with a series of cultural murals.

The Division also organised the Honiara Youth Quake Festival, a 3-day youth arts and cultural festival which attracted over 4000 people. Funded in part by the Australian High Commission, the festival was designed to promote a greater understanding of the range of cultures represented among Honiara's youth population.

At Ben's farewell gathering, the Lord Mayor of Honiara, Alfred Maetia, said that Ben would be missed by his Council family and is welcome to come back anytime. Division Head, Audrey Baeanisia, said that Ben's many contributions would be put to good use in the future by the Division.

Ben, who has significant experience in youth development after working for four years as Youth Development Officer at Adelaide City Council, said he greatly enjoyed working with youth in Solomon Islands and has learned a great deal.

"There is a great opportunity in Solomon Islands to embrace the energy and creativity of young people who are otherwise underutilised. Although the projects we have delivered at the Youth Division have been low cost and fairly small, our efforts have had a significant impact on the local community."

"Solomon Islands has taught me to focus on the value of communication, the development of relationships and the importance of family and friends. In so many ways, I am a better person, professionally and personally thanks to this experience."