Former TIV Student Trainee Receives Prestige Award For Youth Development

IN 2012 TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU (TIV) received two students from the Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC) on a student work placement program. For two days a week the students assisted the TIV staff with practical tasks and in return they received experience and learned more about the values that TIV was advocating for, and the issues that were being advocated against.

One of the students was Nolan Salmon Parairua from the Solomon Islands, he was a student from the Youth Work class at the APTC. Fast forward to four years later, he is currently an active youth leader and continues to help promote rural youth development and youth inclusion in the Solomon Islands. He is also the Director, as well as the Founder, of the Solomon Islands Youth Strive Investors for Liberty Association.

When asked how his time with TIV helped him to move on in his career path Nolan pointed out that TIV helped him to understand better why team-work is an essential component to achieving goals. Nolan continues to say that his time with TIV helped him to understand the nature of politics, but more importantly it equipped him with the necessary information he needed to help people and their “communities understand what is politics and the leaders that people elect them” he says.

“It expanded my thinking in terms of helping people to fight against all sorts of corruptions and creating a worthwhile life in the country, community, family or individual” Nolan says.

Nolan was also part of Transparency International Vanuatu 2012 Election Observers, he observed at the town hall in Port Vila.

Eventually, Nolan’s work with the youth took an exciting turn when he was recently recognized by the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme (QYLP) in June. The QYLP program, according to their website, “discovers, celebrates and supports exceptional youth people from across the commonwealth”, the website further explains that the QYLP recognizes young people who are taking “the lead in the communities and using their skills to transform lives”.

Last month Nolan flew to the United Kingdom to receive his award from the Queen herself. When asked how he felt, he said that “I felt blessed that even the poorest people in the world have been blessed by God alone. Regardless of any challenges faced we can do it because God has a fixed plan for us”.

Nolan Salmon

Picture: Nolan receiving his award from the Queen.

“I am proud because I am one of the (former) Youth Worker (student) at the APTC, and TIV too. I am proud of young people in my country and those for whom we work together at all levels” Nolan said.

Nolan, who is originally from Malaita, explained that his interest in youth work began at a very early stage; he joined youth and community activities, music, soccer, cultural music, and the weaving of home baskets. In due course he began to lead other young people, “this is where I started my youth leadership role up until today” he says.

He says he is passionate about young people and wants to see that youth issues including negative activities must be reduced. He is doing this because he wants to empower, improve and develop young people throughout his country and that all their young voices could be included in the decision making process of the Solomon Islands.

Nolan’s youth association – the Solomon Islands Youth Strive Investors for Liberty Association – is an organization with working strategies, a mission, and a vision. And according to the organisations code of conducts and policies they work help young people and their own communities with youth workshops, awareness, literacy trainings, youth retreats, case management, counselling, helping young people to find their rightful vocation, and helping young people to find further education.

They also promote human rights, political campaigns, and register youth groups in the rural areas and help them with income generating projects.

Nolan was not the only youth from the Pacific who gained the prestigious award from the QYLP, from Vanuatu we had Mary Siro who works with young people at Wan Smol Bag. Other young people from other pacific island nations were also recognized for their passion in youth work.

If you have a copy of the Vanuatu Constitution look at Chapter 2, Part 2 (b), it explains the fundamental duties of citizen and relates a lot to the work of youth development at the community context; “to recognize that he can fully develop his abilities and advance his true interests only by active participation in the development of the national community”.

Photo; by QYLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TIV Participates At National Presbyterian Youth Convention

Officers from Transparency International Vanuatu were recently invited to take part providing awareness at the 10th National Presbyterian Youth Convention. Below is a short report that was compiled from that trip;

From humble beginnings, involving a few missionaries and their families, the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu has grown to become the largest religious denomination in Vanuatu. Covering five provinces, dozens of islands and including people from different cultural and language groups.

Of course it did not come cheap, nor fair, but at huge financial costs and losses of lives, terrible sicknesses, musket attacks, tomahawk and spear attacks, threats on lives, hatred, raging wars, jealousy and long-sea voyages.

But despite the challenges that were faced during the growth of the Presbyterian Church in Vanuatu nothing could withstand God’s Word, eventually the will to walk a different path guided the people towards embracing Christianity. The new-found faith established a form of ‘Unity’ never experienced before as different cultures, languages and warring tribes prayed together under one roof, with a united believe, and faith in one God.

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South West Bay

Over the decades the people have continued to maintain the age-old gathering of church members from different islands to discuss and debate on issues that concerns the development and governance of the Church. This month has been a busy month for the Presbyterian Church which includes National Evangelical meetings on Anietyum and National Sunday School meeting on Tanna. And also included in this month’s activities is the 10th National Presbyterian Youth Convention where over five hundred (500) young people from the Seven Presbyteries, or districts that make up the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu, gathered at South West Bay in Malekula.

The entire district of South West Bay is a Presbyterian stronghold. And with the abundance of crops, fruits and vegetation it is an ideal location to hold down the Presbyterian fort, so to speak. Located within the concave that form the bay are several villages that make up the South West Bay Presbyterian Session. The people there tilt the land just above the hills and beyond, they say that further out towards the central part of Malekula is ‘no-man’s land’. In other words, there’s too much resources that the rest is left untouched.

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According to history, as told by an elder of Lawa village, the Catholic mission into the then New Hebrides first established its mission station at Lawa village on South West Bay in 1893. However, two years later in 1895 the Catholic mission was moved to Walarano community at the north eastern part of Malekula after the Presbyterian mission took over ‘Spreading the Word’ throughout the South West Bay district.

The district was lately divided into two separate Presbyterian Sessions by the heads of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu, one comprising of several villages called the South West Bay Session and the other is called Lawa Session, and it encompasses the village of Lawa including its four community stations, this is where the 10th National Presbyterian Youth Convention was held from the 8th to the 14th of May.

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National Youth Convention

The Youth Convention is similar to the familiar parliamentary functions, its main role is to provide young people with the opportunity to exercise their right to express their opinions on policies and organizational governance, and also to learn from each other through the sharing of information.

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Generally, this process benefits the youth in two particular areas, firstly it allows the 28opportunity for practical experience and it grooms them proper before they begin to move up to the higher councils. And secondly, their opinions are gathered and are then submitted to the higher council as recommendations, or as directives for all youth within the Presbyterian Church to follow.

The 10th Youth Convention comprised of youth general meetings, electives or lessons, and awareness programs conducted by the Vanuatu National Youth Council (VNYC), the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator (TRR) and Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV).

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The Convention Environment

When Officers from Transparency International Vanuatu arrived at Lawa village on Thursday the 12th the place was buzzing with activities. Decorations filled the environment starting from the coast up towards the village, almost every tree trunk around the village center and along the roads were wrapped in plain colored fabric and painted with the word ‘Rebuild’.

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Beautiful banners, filled with empowered words, arched over the main road just past the 24Lawa community hall while down in the river that flowed to the ocean a small but effective dam had been constructed to create a pool of fresh water, large enough to accommodate around fifteen people and with space for a few more.

Decorations around the pool adorned the scenery in red and white colors, the entire premises awed newcomers as well as the villagers. Even the story behind their newly build stage (called Serao Kalo Memorial Stage) is one of a kind, a miracle to be precise.

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Speaking with elders in the village it was clear that by-laws ordered by the High Chief is still of great importance and is respected thoroughly. Enforcement on village laws is of paramount significance and fines or penalties are ordered and implemented with no hesitation.

TIV Awareness Session

When the Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) Civic Education Officer, Mr. Douglas Tamara, took the stage on Thursday (12th) night he encouraged that traditional respect must be continued to be practiced. And in-line with articles within the Mama Law it is a constitutional responsibility that people must obey laws and take part in communal activities as tradition dictates.

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He also stressed that the spoken native language in the area must also be preserved and 8taught to the younger generation. This advice came after speaking with several villagers who identified that they were losing out on some of their linguistic contents.

Language is more than just a tool for communicating, but it is a form of secret coding that can be used to one’s advantage when in foreign lands. It is a channel to hide and preserve valued knowledge as well as to pass on practical knowledge that can be used for development purposes.

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To the youth TIV promoted the reasons why we have a chapter in our Mama Law that established our rights and duties and legal entities. And that with every right that we have there is the duty to respect another person’s right, and if that can be achieved then there will be a balance, and fairness will prevail.

The Right To Information (RTI) Bill was also talked about to the five hundred youth delegates plus the villagers, and when asked if they thought that the RTI Bill would be helpful to them when it becomes law hands were raised from the front, to the rear and right to the back of the stage compound.

The awareness concluded with the donation of copies of the National Constitution to the Coordinator of the National Youth Convention Mr. James Joseph.

More photos from the National Youth Convention:

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‘We Are Moving Forward,’Former Youth Parliamentarian

WHEN WE (Officers from Transparency International Vanuatu) were visiting communities on the island of Malekula we caught up with a youth participant who took part in the first ever 2013 Vanuatu National Youth Parliament.25

We met him across the Vesle House building near the Lakatoro Trading Centre amid showers of rain. He had ran across the street to greet us, giving a little time away from his busy schedule that afternoon.

His name is Morry Reuben, he had been busy painting popular internet icons inside a soon to open internet Café at Lakatoro, the first of its kind in Malekula.

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We would later learn of his involvement in the setting up of this new internet café that will cater to promote youth development in the proper and productive use of the internet.

We met him again when Transparency International Vanuatu organized the Right To Information Public Consultation at the Wilkins Stadium Conference Room, and we asked him what their team’s visions are on the future of their youth oriented Internet Café.

“The Internet Café will be established as a fund generating mechanism for future youth projects” he explains, “with the income that we receive we plan to use it to move us around Malekula so that we can train young people in Malekula to up-skill them on how to properly use new technologies like emails, Facebook, and other forms of new ideas that are developing rapidly in this era.”

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He continued to stress that he and his youth associates plan to develop a Mobile Team that will go out to the communities to train young people how to properly use the internet. But this could only be achieved, Morry stresses, “after the financial arm of this youth initiative has been developed and strengthened,” and this is where the Internet Café comes in.

The Internet Café will raise funds when members of the public pay small fees to use their computers or to access the internet, also funds will be raised through ad developments, membership fees and through other fundraising activities.

Morry is not new to youth oriented activities, he was a participant in the 2013 Vanuatu National Youth Parliament in which Transparency International Vanuatu helped to organize. During that event he was a member of the Parliamentary Youth Opposition, and was vocal on climate change adaptation issues and how new developments are affecting natural habitats on his home island of Malekula.

“The Youth Parliament gave me a lot of courage,” he acknowledges, “after the Youth Parliament I returned home and when people asked me about my experience I was ready to share with them the real duties of a Member of Parliament – which is to make laws.”

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His experience in youth activism led him to become the Acting Malampa Youth President from 2013 to 2014. His new responsibilities did not force him to stop there, but it motivated him to continue to move on, he explains confidently, “to greener pastures”. He pointed out that “the Youth Parliament experience helped me to go for further training at the Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC).”

After almost six months of training he graduated in 2015 with a Certificate Four in Community Development at the APTC.

He attended the Right To Information Public Forum, which was organized by Transparency International Vanuatu at the Wilkins Stadium conference room on the 4th of April, along with three other young people from his group.

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At the end of the forum he explained briefly why he chose to support the Right To Information Bill, “the whole idea behind this Internet Café initiative is to promote good development through information sharing,” he pointed out, “and the Right To Information Bill, when it becomes law, will help us out a lot in our area of development because it will give us the right to access information that can help to develop young people in our communities.”

He further pointed out that they have plans to use social media to store information so that people can access it whenever they want to, and wherever they are, “those are our long-term plans” he coincided. Morry, and his fellow associates, are the administrators of the Tokbaut Malekula forum on Facebook which has over 2,000 members.

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They also acknowledge the contributions of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition MP Sato Kilman who donated five computers for their Internet Café, along with a Network Computing system that will cater for six users simultaneously. MP Sato Kilman is also assisting them by providing the space that they are now currently using to develop and promote their initiative, they are currently occupying the last room on the far right side of the Vesle House building.

This Internet Café is being driven by seven young people who are part of a bigger youth group based in Malekula and Port Vila.

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“To start something we must not think inside the box, but we need to also get advice from other young people on what they think should be done with regards to proper youth development,” Morry says.

He concluded our short conversation by stating that “it is a new idea that we are all new at, we know that there are areas where we will fail at, but at least we are not doing nothing. We are moving forward.”

Morry later followed us to Unmet, Brenwei and the Lakatoro Market House where he talked in support of the Right To Information Bill.

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International Youth Week Motivates Youth To Participate In Civic Education Program

FROM 12 – 16 AUGUST young people around Vanuatu celebrated the International Youth Week at Arep Junior Secondary School in Sola, TORBA province.

The three days event gathered more than 200 young people from the six provinces of Vanuatu including the two municipal areas of Luganville and Port Vila.IYD_20152 copy

Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) was privileged to be part of the event to facilitated workshops and debates to motivate youth engagement in civic awareness.

TIV’s Civic Education Coordinator Douglas Tamara said that most pf the youth agreed that it is time youth start to be involved in civic education programs to help make a change in all levels of society whether it be in politics, family, church or in schools.

Mr. Tamara conducted several activities coinciding with the 2015 theme: “Youth Civic Engagement”, from August 12th – 14th.

At the end of the three days workshop, each province came up with a one year work plan to be submitted to the Vanuatu National Youth Council for assistance.

“TIV will be working alongside VNYC for the next 12 months to assist the youth in the provinces to achieve their work plans. And in the next International Youth Week, which will be held in in Penama, each province will present their achievements, or progresses on their work plans,” Mr. Tamara said.

The President of Vanuatu, the Minister for Youth and Sports and another member of parliament, and the Director and Director General for Agriculture also attended the one week event in SOLA.

The other stake holders who facilitated other workshops during the event were the Telecommunications and Radio Communications (TRR), UNICEF, Vanuatu Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (TVET), and the Correctional Services.

The event was organised by the Vanuatu National Youth Council (VNYC).

Photo supplied by VNYC Media.

Youth Civic Engagement For International Youth Day

Rebecca Solomon from the Youth Department talks about the 2015 International Youth Day.

The 2015 International Youth Day activities is set to take place at Sola in TORBA Province from the 12th – 16th of August next week. Over 100 young people are expected to attend this annual event, delegations of youth leaders from each of provinces will also be attending. The President of the Republic, His Excellency Lonsdale Baldwin, and several State Ministers will be attending. This will also be His Excellency’s first official visit to his home province.

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The 2015 International Youth Day theme is Youth Civic Engagement. According to the UN Youth Social Policy and Development Division, Youth Civic Engagement is a main goal of the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Youth that seeks to promote young people’s civic engagement at all levels.

There is need to empower young people so that they can be involved in leadership responsibilities, recently there has been an increase policies and programs focused on young people by governments, UN entities, regional and multilateral organizations, CSOs, youth and researchers.

In Vanuatu, several initiatives have been implemented to promote young people in civic duties. An example was the first ever Vanuatu National Youth Parliament that was held in 2013. During that event 52 young people were brought to Port Vila from around Vanuatu, they attended several training sessions before proceeding to their official parliamentary sessions.

2013 Youth Parliamentarians

2013 Youth Parliamentarians

Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) was part of the organising team that organised the youth parliament; basically selecting the young people and conducting their trainings. The following year in 2014 TIV organised a smaller version of the youth parliament called ‘Yut Blong Konstituensi’, taking part in the event were over 20 of the 2013 youth parliamentarians.

Still, the need to effectively engage young people in civic duties is a growing necessity. Next week the island of Sola will be a hub for youth activities, TIV will be attending the event represented by Douglas Tamara to conduct the Civic Awareness sessions.