We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Solomon Islands country representative, Hika Joseph.
Hika has a background in Management, Public Administration & Economics, from the University of the South Pacific.
During his study, he was fortunate to be appointed as the general secretary for the Management and Public Administration Student Association. In that role, he gained some of the necessary skills and knowledge required for working in a multi-cultural environment.
His goal in life is to be a resourceful person to his community and thus he is always keen to provide support to voluntary initiatives with good causes. Also, Hika co-founded a local charity group known as Dia Buka Association, back in 2016, with the objective to source reading materials for rural primary schools in Choiseul province of Solomon Islands.
Currently, he is working as the provincial coordinator of a local NGO called the Youth@Work program, that works with disengaged and unemployed youth. He coordinates the rural model of Youth@Work program in two of the bigger provinces in the Solomon Islands namely, Malaita Province and Western Province. The program’s ultimate goal is to improve the long-term economic prospects of unemployed youths.
Hika has always seen agriculture as a last resort for anyone in the Solomon Islands. This negative perception has been embedded in him from his childhood, despite being brought up in the rural part of Solomon Islands. Living in the rural areas is very challenging. There is little to almost no agricultural economic activities, resulting in people having this negative perception of agriculture.
Hika has lived and now worked in the remote areas of Solomon Islands for over two years now. Through his job, he is working on empowering young people to become assets for their society, community and the country.
Through the Youth@Work program, Hika has helped to develop innovative and strategic solutions towards economic empowerment for our young people. The program has found that despite other solutions working well, they seemed less viable because they are unsustainable. The most outstanding option now seems to be agriculture - being the most viable and sustainable option in terms of resource availability.
Hika finds that it is very challenging trying to economically empower young people in such an unconducive environment. 70% of Solomon Island’s population is under the age of 35, and it suffers from the same issues its sister Pacific Island countries face - high rates of youth unemployment.
On being asked why he decided to join YPARD, Hika says:
“In January this year, my country’s population was estimated to be at around 600,000 people and 70% of them are youth. As YPARD’s Solomon Islands representative, I hope to reach out to the young professionals in the country and other stakeholders to raise awareness on the benefits of agriculture, and together - I hope that we can work to combat the existing negative perception. My dream is to help other young people like me in the rural areas to perceive agriculture in a more positive way. “
The end goal would be to create a conducive environment and bring in as much support as possible from all relevant stakeholders, especially the local government, and to make agriculture a viable source of income for youth and Solomon Islands.
YPARD is thus, an excellent platform to address the issues which are preventing youth participation in agriculture in Solomon Islands.
If you are from or based in Solomon Islands and would like to become involved in the YPARD Solomon Islands activities, please contact Hika via firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture credit: Hika Joseph