A total of 40 young and vibrant youth leaders from the Bougainville Youth Federation (BYF) in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, will be attending a forthcoming Civic Engagement Camp as part of this year’s International Youth Day celebrations.
The youths will be able to do this all thanks to a grant of K2.1 million given to the Bougainville Youth Federation (BYF) by the Australian government aimed at strengthening organizational capacity and develop regional youth networks in Bougainville, that will help assist the young leaders between the ages of 16 and 35.
The grant agreement was signed by representatives from BYF, the Australian Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s (ABG) Department of Community Development as part of this year’s International Youth Day celebrations.
Australian High Commission First Secretary, Dr. Fiona Crockford said the grant acknowledges Australia’s ongoing support to the Bougainville Youth Federation.
“These kinds of activities help Bougainville youth to embrace their culture and contribute in a positive way to Bougainville society,” she said.
Secretary of the ABG Department of Community Development, Mana Kakarouts, said the BYF was an important partner for the government’s successful implementation of the Bougainville Youth Policy.
This year’s theme – ‘Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World’, is particularly relevant for Bougainville, given the recent challenges imposed on the people, their livelihoods and the environment following the volcanic eruption of Mount Bagana.
Members of the Torokina District Youth Association (DYA) are already implementing the green skills required to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, with projects designed to regenerate mangroves and strengthen food security in Torokina.
This experience, and the support of the grant, will allow the DYA to engage closely with the volcano-effected communities in Torokina.
As the peak body representing Bougainville’s youth, the BYF will coordinate youth activities across the region for more than 500 registered youth groups from the 17 District and Urban Youth Associations, comprising over 30,000 youth as individual members.
“The grant empowers the BYF and its members to realize its vision – that youth in Bougainville participate fully in governance and development programs at all levels and across all sectors,” said BYF Chairperson, Junior Pais.
The grant also funds the BYF’s Livelihoods program, which supports skills-based learning and entrepreneurship.
Since 2016, about 1, 200 young people have participated in livelihood training and 400 BYF members have engaged in various micro-projects, including poultry, piggery, screen printing and brickmaking activities.