U.S. Embassy Deputy Mark Hitchcock joined Ombudsperson Luamauvao Katalaina Sapolu and Justice Vui Clarence Nelson to open the Samoa Youth Forum for students from 12 schools around the country. The Forum was hosted by the Office of the Ombudsman / National Human Rights Institution in collaboration with SPC, Justice Vui Nelson, and Child Rights Connect with funding from the United States through the United States Agency for International Development, commonly known as USAID.
“As strong partners we must learn and lean on each other to better respond to disasters, pandemics, and economic shocks with strong political systems that champion democratic values, human rights, equity, and inclusion, and we do this by supporting the empowerment of all people to be fully engaged, inclusive, and well-informed, particularly those who are tasked to lead us into the future; our children,” said Mr. Hitchcock. “Our hope is that through continued partnership like this Forum we can help support the voice of young people in Samoa to help empower them to participate in international human rights mechanisms and lead us into a future that is resilient, free and open.”
PROJECT Governance is a USD $19.8 million, five-year partnership between USAID and the Pacific Community (SPC). It aims to achieve sound, just and responsive governance in the 12 Pacific Island Countries (PICs), by working towards changing long-standing incentives that impede government transparency; creating relationships of mutual accountability; strengthening a culture (and practice) of integrity promotion and corruption prevention; removing opportunities to manipulate electoral processes and impeding citizen engagement; addressing a culture of impunity; amplifying throughout society the role that government should play in their lives; and ensuring media can foster transparency and accountability.