DEAR EDITOR, on November 6, 2017, a fourth batch of youths graduated in Honiara following a peacebuilding and livelihood skills training course, delivered in close partnership with the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace (MNURP), Coconut Technology Centre (CTC) and UN Peacebuilding Fund (UNPBF) project.
20 youths from rural communities in North Malaita and the Weathercoast, attended the 2 week course that ended on November 3, 2017.
Those youths were also among the more than 200 youths who attended the Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum held in Honiara in October which aimed to promote the role of youth as problem solvers, peacebuilders and economic actors/entrepreneurs.
In attendance at the graduation ceremony was the Director of MNURP, Mr Reuben Lilo, Chairman of CTC Board, Mr Wilson Kikolo and representatives of UNPBF project team.
Director Lilo thanked the UNPBF project and CTC for funding and facilitating the training and encouraged the youths to use their skills and knowledge gained from the training to equip themselves to become persons who can make a difference in their communities.
He said, “You need to be role models for other youths and to be peace advocates and peacebuilders in your communities”.
Speaking on behalf of her classmates, Ms Nelly Baekalia expressed appreciation to the MNURP, UNPBF project and CTC for the opportunity to be part of this training.
She said, “It is a rare chance for us youths from North Malaita and Weathercoast to come together to attend such training. Thank you also for including us in the Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum”.
CTC representative Mr Francis Kapini expressed his sincere thanks to the youths for attending this training, despite many challenges to bring them to Honiara from their remote communities.
He said, “We went further into remote communities to recruit this batch of youths, this meant longer distances by boat especially for Weathercoast but we are very happy to have been able to provide this training opportunity for youths from rural areas”.
Each participant received a solar radio to enable them to have access to information and current affairs. In some communities, radio is the only means of communication.
The training covered topics such as peacebuilding and conflict resolutions, basic financial literacy, tree planting, agriculture and cash crops, community resources and opportunities, DME production, value of organic farming, opportunities in native fruit trees and ngali nuts, basic business and pricing and record keeping.
The facilitating partners and trainers included the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Basil Gua, Kastom Garden and Zainatina, Maraghoto Holdings, Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), Solomon Islands Small Business Enterprise (SISBEC), ANZ Bank, Central Bank and Kokonut Pacific.
Source: UNDP Office, Honiara.