Young people and broadcasters from Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Republic of the Marshall Islands came together last week for a powerful collaboration.Together they created media productions for, with and about youth and children, promoting action on climate change, violence, sexual health, healthy eating and school attendance.
Organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in partnership with UNICEF Pacific and the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme, the One Talk 4 All workshop took place in Suva, Fiji.
The 28 participants from media, government and civil society organisations, enhanced their campaign design and media production skills at the workshop. The focus was on youth-driven media for development and, over several days, they developed video spots, radio spots, posters, social media and messages for mass media campaigns. The workshop culminated in the worldwide premiere of their productions on Saturday at the Tanoa Plaza.
One Talk 4 All is a strategic initiative, aiming to establish long-term partnerships and further the capacity of Pacific youth to take a role as effective social communicators, in support of the achievement of joint national development priorities, including the Millennium Development Goals.
In addition to furthering participants' skills in youth media production, the initiative also supports more active youth participation in society.
Mr Roy Osborne, a person with a disability who attended the workshop, explains: 'Many of us people with disabilities live in the interior, in remote locations, far from support services and medical supplies.
'Learning about new technologies such as the internet, mobile and video helps us access services that might otherwise be out of reach due to high transport costs. Talking online also enables us to overcome shyness and gives us confidence to come out and socialise with able-bodied people,' said Mr Osborne.
Young people have the right to access adequate information for their health and development and to enable them to participate meaningfully in society.
As UNICEF Pacific Representative Dr Isiye Ndombi emphasised in his closing speech at Saturday's premiere, 'Youth-led media is a right - and all nations and partners who have signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child have an obligation to facilitate the realisation of this right.'
Ms Mereia Carling, SPC Regional Youth Adviser, who also spoke at the premiere, agreed: 'Children and young people have a right to information. Information is critical to their development.
'Young people who realise that education can provide opportunities in their future, who choose to eat fruit over an unhealthy snack, who choose not to accept violence, who 'play safe', and who learn how to protect the environment, have a better chance of developing positively and holistically - making wise and healthy decisions, protecting themselves from risk and vulnerability and also making a difference in their communities and the world around them,' said Ms Carling.
SPC is committed to placing young people at the centre of the development of the Pacific Youth Development Framework - a ten-year path that aims to build the capacity of government youth departments and national youth councils, strengthen the evidence base for youth, mainstream youth across different sectors and secure funding for implementation of these policies - and, at the core, having the youth voice informing the direction.
The only way that this can be done across 22 Pacific Island countries and territories, across urban, rural and sometimes very isolated locations, and across hundreds of languages and cultures - is by communication.
As Ms Carling told young people and media representatives at Saturday's premiere, 'Your job is a powerful one - you have a direct link to young minds, you can shape and nurture futures by the information you provide, you can encourage children's holistic development, and you can help children to dream.'
Have your say and view the youth media productions online at the 'One Talk 4 All' Facebook page.