U.S. State Department Announces 2018 Young Pacific Leaders Grant Recipients

WASHINGTON – Twelve winners have been announced for the U. S. Department of State’s 2018 Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Small Grants Program. The selected teams, representing 11 different Pacific countries, will receive up to $13,750 in grant-funding to implement projects in the region related to the program’s core themes of education, environment and resource management, civic leadership, and economic and social development.

In addition to funding, YPL grantees attended a kick-off workshop in Auckland, New Zealand on May 10-11, where they refined their project ideas and learned more about successful grant management. The teams will receive mentorship throughout the year to help ensure their project’s success.

“It is such a pleasure to be part of the YPL program, learning from other people. This is an opportunity to learn and share our experiences and to try and step forward together to make a greater difference wherever we are,” said Jone Tamanikaimoturiki of Fiji, whose team is organizing a program on sustainable farming. “I believe in the power of young people. Young people have the energy, passion and creativity to make things happen. I cannot wait to be part of that change.”

The Young Pacific Leaders Program is a U.S. government-funded initiative to strengthen leadership development and networking throughout the Pacific. The YPL program (formerly Future Leaders of the Pacific) was created in 2013, organizing annual conferences to bring together some of the region’s most talented youth for networking and skills development. This is the first year of the small grants initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Cultural Vistas.

The 2018 YPL Small Grants Program launched in January and was open to alumni from previous conferences. Alumni include young leaders, aged 20 to 35, from Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and the American-affiliated Pacific (Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa).

Visit yplgrants.org and follow along on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/YoungPacificLeaders/) and Instagram (WeAreYoungPacificLeaders) and #YPL for program updates.

2018 Young Pacific Leaders Small Grants Program Awardees:

Kaitiaki Generation
New Zealand and Hawaii
A collaborative exchange between Māori and Kanaka ʻŌiwi communities on traditional knowledge and western science.

Documenting Traditional Knowledge through Digital Media
The Cook Islands
Webseries documenting Cook Islands Māori traditional knowledge and importance of indigenous culture for future generations.

Youth-4-Change Mentoring Program
The Federated States of Micronesia
Youth leadership and mentorship training program to help young peer leaders provide for at-risk youths in Micronesian communities.

Project Sechelik
To promote literacy and indigenous language in Palau by publishing and distributing an original colorful children’s book written in Palauan.

Training in Jolly Phonics
Papua New Guinea
Providing skills-based training to elementary school teachers in the Kerowagi District of Chimbu Province, Papua New Guinea.

Community Building and Engagement for Deaf Persons
Fiji and Papua New Guinea
Enhancing deaf peoples’ opportunity to be an equal citizen in their society through community empowerment, civic leadership, and training.

Sustainable Livelihood Project
Training farmers in Wairuarua Village to develop, implement, and further sustainable livelihoods through permaculture and traditional farming methods.

Removal of Sargassum Seaweed
Community engagement and environmental clean-up initiative to remove invasive seaweed species and improve coral reef health.

A cultural heritage workshop focusing on Samoan architecture and working to bridge the gaps in generational knowledge.

Malasitabu Project
Supporting Malasitabu Primary School through classroom infrastructure development, promoting healthy lifestyles and education on waste management.

Language Roots the Tree of Culture
A cultural bridge between Niuean youth in-country and those living overseas to promote and preserve cultural heritage.

Early Literacy- Let’s Read 
Early literacy initiative targeting children under the age of three.