Youth voices ‘vital ahead of election’- Fiji Times

The Fiji Times published this story on Monday January 29, 2018.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=432536

By Vishaal Kumar

AS we build towards the general election this year, youths will play an integral part to ensure their voices are heard. And to have more input from the youths in the country, the Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) will commence on a State of the Youth project soon.

Confirming this, CCF research officer Aman Nath said the focal group discussions and interviews would be conducted with youths prior to the 2018 General Election.

“This youth project is similar to the one commissioned by CCF prior to the 2014 General Election, which was then carried out by consultant Dr Patrick Vakaoti of the University of Auckland, New Zealand,” Mr Nath said.

“The 2014 project was titled: Young People and Democratic Participation in Fiji.”

He said during the analysis of the last project, a number of significant issues were noted.

“While young people are highly involved in community activity, this has not translated into political involvement,” he said.

“Fiji’s young people are being propelled into the political limelight. This is partly because of the reduction of the voting age to 18 years and young people comprising 40 per cent of the eligible electorate.”

He said 300 young people were interviewed via the questionnaire survey with the age group between 18 and 35 years.

“The areas of survey were Nadi, Labasa, Levuka and Suva. Many young people appeared pessimistic about politics and were distrustful of politicians,” he said.

He said 52 per cent of youths identified politics with corruption, and added youth forums and coalitions should be supported and integrated into mainstream decision making structures.

Mr Nath said when including young people in activities, it was important to consider age categorisations and social dimensions.

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