Equal participation and inclusiveness in young people through education and capacity building is the aim of a project led by the Live and Learn Environmental Education.
The project, called 'Building grassroots democracy in Fiji', funded by the European Union, has given 28 communities around Fiji the opportunity to grasp the fundamentals of their human rights.
One such community is Nakini village in Naitasiri. LLEE media officer, William Young said after the training there was a significant increase in the involvement of men, women and youths in communal work.The Nakini village headman, Solomoni Koroitucakau, said many positive changes had come about as a result of the training sessions. Mr Koroitucakau added that women and youths were taking active roles in decision making.
"Prior to past village meetings only men in the village made the decisions. Now, through the training sessions conducted by the LLEE field officers, discussions include the opinions of youths and women on issues that may be troubling them in the village," said Mr Koroitucakau.
Although LLEE field trainers began with the objective to aid youths, they soon realized that they could only tackle youth issues by taking a more holistic view, said Mr Young.
"It is important to note that in many communities, young people have a crucial part to play in society. However, often their views are not taken seriously when in fact they contribute to huge percentage of communal work," said Mr Young.
He added that as future leaders, youths must be groomed and acknowledged for their hard work. Their concerns must be heard during important village meetings as they are part of the community.
"This is what is happening in Nakini village. Both women and youths are been given that chance."