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Young People Want Active Role In Youth Development

Young People Want Active Role In Youth Development

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Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Noumea, New Caledonia

The new Human Development Programme Adviser for Youth at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Rose Maebiru, says, ‘Young people want to be recognised as equal partners in their development.’

Ms Maebiru believes that society must take youth issues seriously, which means that young people must be supported and guided to lead and manage their issues and other issues facing their communities. To that end, she is looking forward to working with regional partners to strengthen youth participation across the region.

‘This position gives me space to do crucial work like establishing networks and utilising existing ones to strengthen youth development,’ she says. ‘Youth development has a very wide impact, since what affects young people eventually affects the wider community. 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 is from the Solomon Islands, has been involved in youth development work since 2001. Prior to joining SPC, she worked for Save the Children in Solomon Islands, promoting youth participation in social development. She has also worked in the area of HIV prevention.

She says she ended up in the youth sector by accident. ‘I had wanted to be an accountant when a research project on young people came up. I ended up working on the project and then one thing led to another, and now I’m passionate about youth development.’

At 32, Ms Maebiru believes her young age is an advantage in her job. She says she often draws on her own experiences and can relate easily to young people.

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 says.

Ms Maebiru sees 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.’


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