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Melanesian Messenger Online distributed by the
Church of the Province of Melanesia
Youth need support of Church
August 28, 2009

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] The most pressing issue facing youths today and into the future in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu is unemployment.

Archbishop David Vunagi said this when he launched the Church’s Provincial Youth Policy this morning in Honiara.

“This problem is cumulative and has an add-on effect so it gets larger every year.
Both Solomon Islands and Vanuatu lack the capacity to create more jobs in the formal sector to address the problem.”

This therefore calls for youth engagement in economic activities he said.

“Unless youths are engaged in meaningful activities in their villages and, for a reasonable financial reward, they will continue to be under illusion and drift to urban centres for paid employment that are not there.”

He said experience has shown that some communities have very good youth programmes, yet young people still leave this and go to town because they need money to survive.

“The key element that is missing is money. Youth programmes must have money making componenet so that youth involved could have some income derived from what they do, otherwise youth programmes become meaningless and the drift to town continues.”

The Church therefore must support the creation of small self-support projects like furniture making, carving/weaving, fishing, agriculture (markets), poultry and piggery at the parish level.

He said the Church should also support Rural Training Centres to run skills training workshops for parish youths where needed during school holidays.