Philip Kaota presents his team’s idea to process pineapple juice at the Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum in Auki on 6 September 2018. (Photo: UNDP/Merinda Valley)


Auki, Malaita Province –
The Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum in Auki, Malaita Province aimed at helping young people use innovation to spark change in their communities concluded yesterday.

More than 200 youth from across Malaita joined the three-day forum, which opened on Tuesday. Discussions and activities encouraged participants to use innovation and entrepreneurship to address unemployment, poor sanitation and other challenges they face.

“Innovation is everywhere,” Youth Economic Empowerment Consultant from the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub Cynthia Cheung said.

“I think a lot of us need to look and see opportunities around us and see how we can help each other and help ourselves in making a social change.”

Ms. Cheung shared examples of successful innovations from across the Pacific region and spoke about how youth in Solomon Islands can innovate to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Stone Raisers team pitches their prototype at the Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum in Auki on 6 September 2018. (Photo: UNDP/Merinda Valley)
The Malamanila Juice team accepts a prize from Bmobile at the Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum in Auki on 6 September 2018. (Photo: UNDP/Merinda Valley)


The forum in Malaita was the first provincial follow-up to the inaugural Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum held in Honiara last year. The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UNPBF) project, jointly implemented by UNDP and UN Women, organized the forum in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs and the Youth Division of the Malaita Provincial Government.

After hearing from inspirational speakers during the first two days, 11 teams that completed an innovation boot camp before the forum pitched their innovative business ideas on the third day.

Each team had seven minutes to pitch their idea and were judged on its viability as a business, how it addresses market needs and the Sustainable Development Goals, and the team’s ability to implement the idea.

The winners were Malcassava, which will process cassava into chips and flour; Stone Raisers, which created a prototype of a toilet raiser that suits rural settings and accommodates the elderly and others with special needs; and Malamanila Juice, whose idea is to process pineapple juice.

Team Malcassava at the Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum in Auki on 6 September 2018. (Photo: UNDP/Merinda Valley)
The Malcassava prototype of a cassava grinder displayed at the Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum in Auki on 6 September 2018. (Photo: UNDP/Merinda Valley)


The winning teams were awarded mobile phones from Bmobile and will also receive a package that includes seed funding, mentoring and training to kickstart their ventures.

Malamanila Juice team leader, 19-year-old Philip Kaota of Fasitoro, said the forum and his group’s success in the competition helped him understand how social entrepreneurship can drive development in Malaita.

“This has pushed me and made me eager for what I want to achieve in my community — to work with young people to solve some of the issues that we’re trying to address,” he said.

In closing the forum, Deputy Project Manager of the UNPBF project, Gaylyn Puairana, said the project will continue to support the winning teams by connecting them with resources and partner organizations that can offer specialized mentorship and assistance.

“It is clear that youth are the key resources in the community and that involving youth in local, provincial and national development and peacebuilding is a must,” Ms. Puairana said.

The forum was made possible with support from Solomon Airlines, Heritage Park Hotel and Bmobile.

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The UNPBF project aims to support peaceful and inclusive transition in Solomon Islands, jointly implemented by UNDP and UN Women in close collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace and the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs.

For media queries, please contact
Merinda Valley, Communications Specialist, email: merinda.valley@undp.org, tel: (677) 27446 ext. 5527

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