The National Youth Week is in full swing.
The programme started with a Small Business training at the Maota o Pulenuu last week. Conducted by the Small Business Enterprise Center and funded by the D.F.A.T. Australia sponsored Samoa Women Shaping Development Project (S.W.S.D.) and the Samoa One U.N. Youth Employment Project (U.N.D.P. – Y.E.P.), six vulnerable families were trained on operating small businesses.
The families will be supported through “Start Up funds” for resources and training to a total of $3,500.
The projects/small businesses include vegetable gardens, catering and handicrafts.
The families are now working closely with S.B.E.C. and the M.W.C.S.D. to ensure sustainability of their businesses and to address issues contributing to their vulnerability – whether they are social, economical, environmental, or others. These six families are important partners/clients of the Small Business Incubator without walls concept.
The official opening of the Samoa National Youth Week was held at Salelologa on Monday. The programme started with welcoming remarks by the Associate Minister of the M.W.C.S.D, Tofa Lio Foleni.
Reverend Pou Tuigamala of Salelologa A.O.G. led the programme with inspiring words of wisdom for the more than 100 young people and participants, to be like Jesus – look after their families and develop both spiritual and physical capacities to sustain development of villages, churches, their own family and the nation.
The keynote address was delivered by the Minister for the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Faimalotoa Kika Iemaima Stowers.
The Minister discussed her views on the theme of the Week, and articulated that sustainability and vulnerability are the most important parts of the week long commemoration – referring to a number of examples and experiences.
The Minister challenged the young people to engage their time, strength, abilities and resources in sustainable means, whether it is in the environment, plantation, the ocean, or amongst their colleagues and peers in their own social group.
She then alluded to the contributions of the four young people from Gataivai, Auala, Matavai – Safune and Puapua – who are taking the lead in initiatives that sustain their communities.
Faimalotoa also mentioned that through the assistance of their villages and families, and the technical assistance of the Ministry’s partners and stakeholders, these four young peoples’ projects will provide means to alleviate the economic vulnerability of their respective communities and families.
Alama Ta’ala (Puapua), Talafiti Paiaaua (Matavai), Sueni Tau (Auala) and Sefo Faitotoa (Gataivai) are already working with their respective villages on initiatives relating to waste management, mangrove and coastal replanting. They will be supported through recycling projects that will generate income for their families and villages.
The National Youth Week is a government initiative that started in the 1990s through the former Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture, as a part of Samoa Sports.
The initiative’s main objective, to celebrate and commemorate achievements of young people and their contribution to the development of families, villages, churches and the country, has remained for over twenty years.
Unfortunately, it has been over fifteen years since the last programme focused solely on Savai’i and an official opening ceremony was held at the big island.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer for the M.W.C.S.D., Lealaisalanoa Tifitifi Uitimē Fetu in her closing remarks acknowledged with sincere gratitude all the assistance of this week’s program. These included the One U.N. Y.E.P., S.W.S.D. – D.F.A.T. Australia, Government of Samoa, M.N.R.E., S.P.R.E.P., Samoa Qualifications Authority and others.
The programme will continue with training for waste management and recycling for Puapua and Matavai.
The programme ends today with a training on waste management and recycling by trainers from M.N.R.E., Samoa Qualifications Authority and others.
These trainings and demonstrations will be closely observed by representatives of six selected youth groups from Salelologa village.