Tuesday 20 May 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) – Suva, Fiji
Thirty members of Samoa’s National Youth Council are putting their voices together to speak out on priority issues affecting young people in Samoa at the upcoming Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in September 2014 in Apia, Samoa.
This was revealed at the end of a four-day Legislative Lobbying training workshop facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) in partnership with the Pacific Youth Council and Samoa’s Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development.
‘The training has inspired confidence and motivation in our young people to want to dialogue with the world leaders at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in September. This is a great outcome because often young men and women are not aware of how to best raise awareness on issues they are concerned about or issues affecting their lives,’ said Jennifer Fruean, President of Samoa National Youth Council.
Although entitled ‘Legislative Lobbying’ training, the workshop focuses on skill building in raising awareness on critical human rights issues that affect our everyday lives. The workshop in Samoa provided skills that will strengthen awareness on key issues that affect young people in Samoa, including youth unemployment, violence against women and children and alcohol abuse.
‘Alcohol abuse is a huge problem for young people in my village. As a youth leader, I want to share what I’ve learnt from this training with my youth group and together with other partners focus on a campaign to address the issue,’ said Lillymorcli Tuita’alili, youth leader of Saleilua Falealili village.
The training also helped the participants understand the national governance structures and the entry points for lobbying.
‘Young people can benefit from being part of law-making processes and more importantly, lobbying can be carried out by all members of Samoa’s National Youth Council, not just board members; everyone has a role to play in it. The training has given me more confidence to advance the voice of young people at all levels in our communities and I will continue to lobby for their voice,’ said Ruth Tracy Tupuai of Samoa National Youth Council.
Michael Schmalkuchen, youth leader of Levi and Alamutu Saleimoa villages, said he was empowered to share his human rights knowledge with his youth group.
‘This training is important for me because it’s important for youth leaders to know about human rights. With rights comes responsibility, as leaders you need to reflect the principles of human rights as that is respecting others and helping others. I want to do some training with the young people in my village so that they are more aware of the issues around them,’ Mr Schmalkuchen said.
The Legislative Lobbying training carried out by SPC RRRT with support from the Pacific Leadership Program has been rolled out in Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu. In all countries there has been great progress with campaign groups successfully lobbying for domestic violence legislation as well as other issues such as reproductive health, employment rights and school bullying.
SPC RRRT is the pioneer of human rights training in the Pacific region, working to build a culture of human rights. SPC RRRT assists nation states to commit to, and observe, international human rights standards. SPC RRRT receives core funding from Australian Aid.
For more information, please contact Jilda Shem, SPC RRRT Communications Officer on +679 330 5994 or email [email protected].