Almost a year in the making, the first annual Boys United in Leadership Development (B.U.I.L.D) Conference has started at St. Joseph’s College.
Planned and organized by a group of US Peace Corps Volunteers in collaboration with Siva Afi and UN Women, the three-day conference aims to develop the leadership skills of 30 boys from Years 7 & 8 from across Samoa.
B.U.I.L.D conference organizers hope to encourage these young men to become better leaders by giving them the chance to hear from accomplished speakers, participate in exciting field trips, and meet potential mentors.
Their goal is that these boys will learn valuable lessons that they will bring back with them to pass on to their peers and put into action to become leaders in their school, faith, and village communities.
These young men from 10 different villages across Savai’i, Manono, and Upolu will participate in workshops on the following topics: Success in School and Work, Ending Violence in Samoa, and Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds. These workshops will cover entrepreneurship, academic opportunities, vocational and agricultural training, standing up to violence against women and girls, physical and mental health, and Samoan tradition.
Of B.U.I.L.D’s mission, steering committee president William Sullivan says, “This conference is a great chance for our students to build on the knowledge that they have, learn about important opportunities, and hear from successful speakers who can help them to make a difference in the lives of the people in their communities.
We’re very grateful for all the support of our local counterparts in making this event a reality.” Organizers will plan B.U.I.L.D annually in the hope of extending the opportunity to as many of Samoa’s youth as possible.