Building Grassroots Democracy and Resilience in Vulnerable Areas of Solomon Islands and PNG

Through support from the European Union Live & Learn offices in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji implemented a human-rights project to encourage young men and women to participate in the political environment. Fiji, Solomon Islands and PNG all experience regular civic turmoil and instability. In order for democracy to be successful younger generations need to have greater political participation and democratic inclusion.

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Democracy and the protection of human rights, especially in ethnic recognition and inclusion, is struggling in Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Solomon Islands. This is evident in past decades of violence and civil unrest. To overcome a long history of unrest and engrained divisions within society, a fresh-thinking new generation of civil society, committed to democracy, its processes and a strong human rights ethic, is required. It is important to acknowledge that youth are the future leaders and recipients of political decision-making. Young people have a vested interest in enhancing their situation, for being heard and for creating a more equitable society for themselves and their children.

This project conducted activities to help young people develop skills to become responsive, networked, united, informed and articulate on issues related to democracy, sustainability and human rights. In each country Live & Learn conducted a Rapid Assessment of Perceptions where young people voiced their concerns about not being involved in community development discussions and decisions.

Young people were involved in Learning Circle programs to explore democracy and human rights principles, and student forums were held at provincial level and national level where young people strengthened their leadership skills and confidence to voice their concerns.

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Through this project Live & Learn published the "Discovering Democracy Guide" – which provides young people with support and information on how to advocate for democratic values by forming youth groups, thereby strengthening coalitions between civil groups and political parties, building confidence to participate in the democratic process and enhancing youth networks.

This guide provides information that will help young people understand the concepts of 'democracy', 'human rights' and 'sustainable development' as well as advise on how to establish and maintain a youth group.

This guide is the result of extensive social research conducted by Live & Learn in Papua New Guinea. The research highlighted an overwhelming need to ensure the participation of young people (both men and women) in shaping Papua New Guinea's future.

Thematic Areas
Human Rights & Freedoms