Young people want to be recognised as equal partners in their development.The new Human Development Programme Adviser for Youth at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Rose Maebiru, in an interview with the Pacific Magazine, further stressed that society must take youth issues seriously.
"This means that young people must be supported and guided to lead and manage their issues and other issues facing their communities," Ms. Maebiru told the Pacific Magazine.
She stated that youth development has a very wide impact as what affects young people eventually affects the wider community.
"This position gives me space to do crucial work like establishing networks and utilising existing ones to strengthen youth development," the young 32 year-old told the Pacific Magazine.
"If you draw links between lack of education and crime, for example, you can see that what is initially a youth issue eventually becomes an issue for the entire community."
Ms. Maebiru, who has been involved in youth development work since 2004, believes that her young age is an advantage in her job.
"I often draw my own experiences and can relate easily to young people," she told the Pacific Magazine, adding that being in the field 'by accident', she has, over time, developed a passion about youth development.
The implementation of regional and national plans and policies is crucial to addressing youth issues, but regional initiatives must be well coordinated to be effective at country level.
It is anticipated that the Pacific Youth Mapping Exercise, a research project that is being run by the SPC Human Development Programme, will contribute to coordinating regional efforts.
The exercise aims to record all the services and projects for youth that exist in the Pacific, and store this information in an open-access database.
"The database will be a fantastic resource to help establish an organised regional approach to youth development," Ms. Maebiru stated.
She described the integrated approach to human development fostered by SPC's Human Development Programme as very positive for the youth sector because approaching development from a wider angle will help address issues that sometimes get overlooked - for example, those affecting young women.
'Young women always slip through the cracks because talk about youth tends to focus on young men, and talk about women tends to target older women. But looking at youth together with gender will help to better address young women's needs," Ms. Maebiru added.