Samoan Youth Gearing up to Support SIDS

Aug 13, 2014

A typical organic basket produced by young farmers with the support of WIBDI and UNDP. Photo credit: WIBDI.

Forty-five young Samoan farmers have received organic farming training to help them secure decent work and a steady income, in turn promoting inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. The initiative is part of a larger capacity development project entitled the ‘Youth Employment Joint Programme Initiation Plan’ (YEP-IP), designed to enable Samoan youth to extend their support to the Third UN Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Conference.

Together with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been playing an important role in managing the project, providing technical and financial support to key local organizations implementing initiatives with Samoan youth. The multipartite project features partnerships with Women in Business Development Inc. (WIBDI), the Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC), the Samoa National Youth Council (SNYC), the Samoa Art Council and the National University of Samoa (NUS).

The project also forms part of a response to a call by the Samoan government to all local stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society and communities, to help Samoa – as the host nation for the SIDS – ensure the success of the internationally significant conference. The Youth Division of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD) is the key governmental partner and has extended its full support to help coordinate and facilitate the smooth implementation of the project. 

 NUS student producing art work in preparation of SIDS Conference. Photo credit: UNDP Samoa.

Beyond SIDS, the skills and jobs gained by local youth through this programme are likely to provide potential career pathways, helping to build a vital pool of trained young people to support future regional and international events in Apia. Accordingly, following the conference, the UNDP, ILO and the Government of Samoa will expand the project into a comprehensive three-year programme.

As a part of this project, the SBEC has also conducted training courses for the students of the National University of Samoa (NUS) and the Leulumoega School of Fine Arts. It is expected that the training will be of great help for these innovative young Samoan artists, who will be able to showcase their talent and crafts through different art exhibitions, installations and live performances – taking place during the SIDS conference.  

“With these skills I will finally put my art work on a different stage. The training has opened my eyes to multiple ways to approach my designs,” says Michael Lee-Lo, a 20-year-old student at NUS and a beneficiary of the programme. “The skills that I have obtained will help me in the future, and with these new ideas I will be sure to make better art work.”

The YEP-IP has three key initiatives in direct support of the SIDS Conference:  (a) train youth in the farm-to-table value chain process; (b) train young artisans in production, packaging and business skills; and (c) strengthen the coordination capacity of the Samoa National Youth Council (SNYC).

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