COOKS, NIUE, TONGA, SAMOA WIN COMMONWEALTH YOUTH AWARDS

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LONDON (Nov. 7, 2002 - CNIS/PINA Nius Online)---Projects in four island countries are among winners in the Commonwealth Youth Programme "Youth Service Awards" for the Pacific Region.

The five winning projects, which each receive a certificate and a prize of £1,000 sterling, were:

- Mangaia Youth Environmental Initiative (Cook Islands): In this environmental education program, young people take the lead in using the media to educate local communities on such issues as environmental awareness, beautification, ecotourism, reforestation and waste management.

- The Gate Community Development Project (New Zealand): Established in 1998 to develop young people into effective leaders, this project provides New Zealand youth an opportunity to work with and assist young people in the community. The project has also established a regional partnership link with youth in Fiji Islands.

- Hakupu Youth Community Learning Center (Niue): This project is managed by young people with assistance from a network of qualified resource people. It provides quality educational, cultural, recreational activities and other support services for in-school and out-of-school young people and adults. It also provides community education programs for community leaders.

- Tautua Youth Organization (Samoa): In this small-scale livestock project, based on generating income through sharing of skills and knowledge, young people voluntarily contribute their skills (veterinary, management, marketing, salesmanship, etc).

- Vava'u Youth Congress (Tonga): The "Prevention is Better Than Cure" Project targets young people between the ages of 11 and 30. Activities implemented by volunteers include managing a youth drop-in center for unattached and all other young people, and organizing workshops on health-related issues, life skills and environmental awareness.

The award announcement was made by Jeff Bost, regional director of the Commonwealth Youth Program's South Pacific Center.

The prizes were presented by Cook Islander Jeanine Daniel, the newly elected Regional Youth Forum Coordinator for the Pacific region.

They were received on behalf of the five winners by their respective heads of delegation to a Regional Advisory Board meeting. The heads of delegation, who are permanent secretaries of ministries responsible for youth affairs, will organize official presentations to the winners in their own countries.

Applications for the awards are called for each year by ministries of youth affairs in participating countries.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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