Commonwealth urges Pacific to engage youth

Commonwealth youth ministers are meeting in Samoa next week to discuss the issues and challenges facing the region's youth.

The programme manager Sushil Ram says at 60 percent, the Pacific has the highest youth population of any commonwealth region and engaging young people in development is simply common sense.

Pacific missing gravity of youth unemployment issues: SPC

A social development advisor for youth at the SPC, Mereia Carling, says the lack of data hides the gravity of many issues facing Pacific youth.

Ms Carling says high youth unemployment rates are particularly concerning.

"What we can see is that we are vastly underestimating the situation of youth unemployment in the region. So we really need to get the data behind those kinds of things so we can start to say actually you know the situation is not what we think it is. Its a lot worse."

Marshall Islands floats youth alternative to Pacific's high dependency on aid

But at the Waan Aelon in Majel training centre, the sounds signify more than simply carpenters at work: here, young people who left school before the age of 13 are learning to build outrigger canoes as they immerse themselves in the culture of their ancestors.

“A hundred years ago, everyone had a position in life as fishermen, weavers and local medicine experts,” says Alson Kelen, who has directed the youth programme at the training centre for 20 years. “Everyone participated in the culture. Today, kids are lost – they don’t know where to fit in.”