YOUTH FORUM PROGRAMME TO HONOUR EXPERTISE OF YOUNG PEOPLE
Rather than spending exuberant amounts of money on outside experts, the Youth Forum being held on Rarotonga next week will instead honour the ‘expertise’ of Cook Islands young people.
Drawing out young peoples’ views on the challenges they face and solutions that could make a difference to their lives will be the focus of the Forum for 140 young people aged 12-25 years from Rarotonga and the sister islands.
They will start arriving on Monday to participate at the Forum to be held the following day at the Youth with a Mission base in Vaimaanga.
“We want to reiterate that this Forum is for young people to have their say and voice their views on issues that they deem important to their wellbeing. They need the opportunity to talk about what’s going on for them and how to find a solution that is youth-centric and owned by our young people,” said Thomas Wynne, acting chair of the Youth Forum Steering Group.
He said the day’s programme has been structured so facilitators can work in small groups on key questions to draw out their views on the factors contributing to young people deciding to take their lives; and most importantly the types of support and initiatives they feel would make a positive difference and contribution to their lives.
Each discussion session will be preceded by an icebreaker activity energise young people before they begin talking and sharing their views.
”We firmly believe ‘Ka riro nga te oire e ututu mai it e tama’ and that as we work together we can find an answer. This is just the first part of that consultation and the first step to creating a Cook Islands where more of our young people CHOOSE LIFE when things become stressful or difficult.”
He said ideas from the Forum would feed into meetings for families and service providers which the steering group planned to hold after the youth event.
“Our aim is to launch this Vaka of consultation and then allow our people that have a stake in our youth such as churches, youth groups, the Police, Ministries of Education, Internal Affairs, Health Youth Affairs, Health, CYNIC and other NGO’s to take this Vaka out further then we have gone before. It will take all of us in a partnership to help create the change we want for the lives of our young people and our future as a nation.”
He said the steering group had received many inquiries from the community wanting to contribute to the Forum and their offers of support would be used to help with the organisation of the day.
The Forum will start at 8.00am with a welcome by the Deputy Prime Minister Hon Tom Marsters and will conclude at 3.30pm. The Forum was initiated by the Prime Minister Hon Henry Puna last month as a means of encouraging young people to be involved in designing strategies that encourage the wellbeing of youth in the Cook Islands.
For more information contact:
Youth Forum Steering Group Acting Chair,