SOL – YOUTHS : SIBC PACNEWS 2: Thurs 10 July 2008
10 JULY 2008 HONIARA (Pacnews) ------ The Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) South Pacific is working with grassroots organisation, Uttermost Rural Development Foundation (URDF) in Solomon Islands to address the needs of ex-militants youth in North Malaita, reports SIBC.
According to Redley Ramo, founder and lead facilitator for URDF, the youth of North Malaita had a key role in the ethnic tensions of 1998 – 2000 and, to date, little has been done to stop them becoming involved in violence again.
Mr Redley said government's plans to get them to go back to North Malaita was not successful because there was nothing there, so most of them flocked back to Honiara.
For the last three years, the URDF has been working with North Malaita’s youth to pilot projects which will earn money and give them something to do.
They started a cocoa nursery project, a football team and a goal-oriented savings club.
Mr Redley said the cocoa nursery, which now has 40,000 seedlings, was an obvious choice.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Youth Programme South Pacific Programme Manager said the focus needs to be on the sustainability of these projects.
Paul Peteru said CYP was providing technical assistance to URDF , mentoring and helping the organisation to grow.
URDF are hoping to build on income-generating projects for young people still living in North Malaita and would try to encourage young people living in Honiara to go back………PNS (ENDS)