By Maryann Lockington, journalism student from USP
6 December 2013, Suva Fiji - A new youth group in Lautoka is making waves, trying to build a platform for youth in the Western Division of Viti Levu.
The Creative Environment Advocacy Social Empowerment for Youths (Creative EASEY) is an initiative that was formed in December 2012 by Mr. Jone Nawaikula for young advocates on their respective issues.
Creative EASEY representative 17-year-old Pravneil Chand animatedly advocated for youth involvement at the Pacific Youth Environment Network (PYEN).
He said that Creative EASEY was a much needed achievement for the youths in the western division.
“It was important to have a link with the Ministry of Youth and National Youth Council because there wasn’t much being done in the West,” he said.
Mr. Chand joined Creative EASEY in September this year and is currently the youngest member of the youth group.
“I was approached by Creative EASEY after school about a gardening workshop in September,” he said. “As soon as I joined, I found out that this was my passion.”
Mr. Chand said that Creative EASEY was involved in advocating for women’s issues, children’s rights and awareness on abuse.
“These are all very important issues but we need more environmental awareness and that’s why I’m here,” he said.
Mr. Chand hopes to take back what he learnt at the PYEN workshop to share with his youth group in Lautoka.
“I’d like to go back and run a workshop with other youth on nature conservation,” he said.
Mr. Chand added that he would also like to work on waste management projects and advocacy.
“We don’t separate our rubbish into plastics, paper and so on which I think is something we should push for,” he said.
He said he was enthusiastic about future projects with Creative EASEY.
“We’re hoping to visit the Yasawa Islands and take with us some supplies for them with help from US funding,” he said.
He hoped that Creative EASEY could branch out to other nearby towns and partner with PYEN to assist in projects.
Maryann Lockington is a member of the Media Team providing coverage of the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas from 2 to 6 December in Suva, Fiji. This is a partnership between the Fiji National University (FNU), University of the South Pacific (USP), SPREP and Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) whereby a team of 10 journalism students are mentored by senior reporters as they cover the conference. This activity is funded by the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme (PACMAS).