First Ever ‘Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum’ Inspires More than 250 Youths

Oct 20, 2017

Representatives of young people at the Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum held at the National Auditorium, Museum in Honiara (Photo: UNDP/Sanda Barrows)

Honiara, Solomon Islands – More than 250 young people attended Solomon Islands’ first ever ‘Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum’ held this week at the National Auditorium, Museum grounds in Honiara. The 3-day event has been initiated by young people, supported by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UNPBF) project, implemented by UNDP and UN Women.

In his opening remarks to the youths, Prime Minister Sogavare shared a personal story about one of his heroes and gave the youths an important yet simple message, he said, “Never give up”.  

Innovation & Knowledge Specialist, Mr. Johannes Schunter UNDP Fiji Office spoke to the youth about SDGs, Innovation and their role, sharing examples of how young people added value to their communities by building business and projects around problems in innovative ways, he said, “Entrepreneurship is scary, because we move in unknown territory. But innovating for SDGs and peace as an entrepreneur doesn’t have to overhelming. It all comes down to identifying local problems in our community that need solving, and adding value to them”. 

Deputy Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr. Derek Futaiasi shared his interesting journey through life and education and explained to the youth why education is important and how young people can engage in decision making and influencing policies. In addition, Former Chair Lady of Young Women’s Parliamentary Group (YWPG) Ms. Grace Hilly added how women’s voice can be heard on a national level and how to push for legislations.

The talk on “Social Inclusion and Youth” where young Entrepreneur Neil Nuia shared how his passion for volunteerism and Photography has given him a platform to create the most populated Solomon Islands’ Photographer’s Networks through social media and now becoming a physical network of media passion drive. Meanwhile, Youth@Work’s Coordinators Hika Gonne and Whitlam Saeni elaborate on how their project help to expose youths from the rural areas to be changemakers in their communities’ as well.

Afternoon session provided a stage for youths to share their views on “Think Global and Act Local” facilitated by two locals who recently participated in Social Entrepreneurs Forum in New Zealand. The day closed with another youthful interesting session on “Fail Fast, Learn Fast” by young local Entrepreneurs Millicent Barty, founder of Millicent Designs and Simon Chottu founder of Hailes’ Entertainment Media Production Company. 

UNDP PO PB-SOI-2(Far right to left) UNDP Country Manager for Solomon Islands, Azusa Kubota, and Solomon Islands Hon. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare having a preview of ideas presented by youths on "Think Global and Act Local" (Photo: UNDP/Sanda Barrows)

One of the main highlights of the event was the opportunity for 12 teams who pre-registered for a 4-week Peacebuilding Pre-Accelerator training workshops to pitch their innovative solutions to a panel of judges. These young people come from communities with high criminal activity rate, while some are from marginalized communities. They are eager to make a change in their lives and their communities along with achieving the SDGs. 5 winners were announced at the closing and UNDP will continue to work with these teams to implement their plans. Among the winners were a team from the hearing impaired participants from Deaf Association Solomon Islands. 

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Ms. Azusa Kubota, UNDP Country Manager said, “We know that the Summit itself will not solve all the challenges that youth face today. But it is an important step to illustrate youth achievements, and to inspire innovative solutions to longstanding issues.  The goal is to empower youth, to facilitate youth from different backgrounds to work together, to bring about partnerships for their journey to bring about the change they seek. It is only with youth that we will meet our goal of “leaving no one behind.”

For some of the young people this forum has been the first event they have actively taken part in and had an opportunity to meet youths from various backgrounds. 

Contact information

Sandra Barrows, Communications & Media Specialist, email: sandra.barrows@undp.org, tel: +677 27446 ext. 5527 

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