ChildFund is working in the Solomon Islands to professionally train 70 youth workers and to run mental health and wellbeing workshops for nearly 3,000 youth.
In the first year of a five year initiative, funded by New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's NZ Aid Programme and ChildFund supporters, 16 youth workers have graduated with a Certificate in Youth Work from Australia Pacific Training Coalition, and three counsellors have graduated with a Diploma in Counselling from the University of the South Pacific.
Also, the newly constructed Honiara Youth Centre, TokSpot, is set to open and host the workshops and the next round of counselling training is about to start.
The programme aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people in the Solomon Islands. It was designed with intensive consulation with local government and young people by Diana Paki, a Clinical Psychologist and ChildFund Technical Consultant from New Zealand, who is currently living in the Solomon Islands.
Once TokSpot has opened, the trained counsellors will provide individual counselling, and the youth workers will run workshops with participants addressing issues including anger management, stress, healthy relationships, and wellbeing.
ChildFund will continue to work with local government, and other community organisations in the Solomon Islands to develop and implement youth inclusive policies and practices that are fully inclusive, including all genders and people with disability.
Positive feedback and offers of support have already been received from local stakeholders including parents, teaching representatives, local officials, youth and community leaders.
Read here an article from The Island Sun, Solomon Island's daily newspaper.
Mental Health Awareness Week, Mental Health Foundation
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), an initiative run each year in New Zealand by the Mental Health Foundation.
This year's theme is take time to kōrero/mā te kōrero, ka ora - a little chat can go a long way.
This MHAW is all about connecting with the people in our lives and creating space for conversations about mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s checking in with a mate, having a kōrero over some kai or saying hello to a stranger, a little chat can go a long way.
The Foundation chose the theme because the little, everyday conversations we have are surprisingly important – and they make a big difference to our mental health – so we want you to take notice of the kōrero that makes you feel good and do it more often. Over time, these small chats create meaningful connections, help us understand each other better and ensure we have people we can count on when times are tough.
Meet counselling graduates Sharon and Terry
Sharon Totorea and Terry Wauo, were among the first three trained counsellors in the Solomon Islands ChildFund project. Both now have a Diploma in Counselling from the University of the South Pacific that they are ready to put to good use helping other young people in the community to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
They jumped at the chance to help fellow youth and both feel very grateful for the opportunity to upskill with the Diploma.
“Thank you so much I really appreciate ChildFund's support and encouragement. I feel blessed to be able to help people and it really motivates me to work smartly and effectively," Sharon says.
"For us it's just too much to put into words and looking back we would have never thought it possible to be able to study counselling.”
ChildFund's Impact partnership with MFAT
The youth mental health and wellbeing project in the Solomon Islands is project is part of a five year project supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade through ChildFund New Zealand’s Negotiated Partnership Programme, read more here.
Read here more about ChildFund's work in the Solomon Islands.