Boosting youths’ capacity through small grants

June 19, 2023

Youth of Rennell and Bellona during the TokStori workshop

Photo: UNDP

Rennell and Bellona, Solomon Islands – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), together with World Vision and the Development Service Exchange Solomon Islands, has launched a small grants scheme for youth-led initiatives.

From awareness, education programmes and open dialogues between young people and the elders on the issues affecting youth in the community to elders teaching young people the traditional art and craft making as UNDP and World Vision, facilitated by the local partner Development Service Exchange (DSE), supports twenty Rennell and Bellona based initiatives with the SB$6,000 award to address the issues identified as factors contributing to conflicts in the communities.  

Before designing and submitting the activity plan, young people participated in the small grants training to identify the most critical issues and possible ways to address them. These small grants initiatives aim to support the building of social cohesion in the communities of Rennell and Bellona. Moreover, it contributes to social and economic development and unemployment reduction as they all are being coordinated by young people from different wards.

Ms Jennifer Wate, General Secretary, Development Services Exchange sees the initiative as a “lifechanging experience.” She pointed out that “They all [the grantees] are playing a critical role in the efforts of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. They talk and work around important yet sensitive issues to make sure this is solved inclusively.”

This type of collaboration is not new to UNDP – previously through different projects, UNDP has supported 26 social entrepreneurship/community projects, five NGO- and CSO-led initiatives to promote transparency and accountability, and eight small projects to enhance access to justice.

As continuation of the small grants, UNDP and World Vision has hosted the one-day workshop TokStori    , held in seven different locations of the province, engaging both young and elder leaders to bridge together different generations to address the community’s challenges and passing down the traditional knowledge and skills.

“Young people have shown that they are able to play an active role, particularly at grassroots and local levels, as mediators and peace- makers and builders. The positioning of youth in society has a bearing on their leadership potential and their possible role in peacebuilding,” said Ms Nanise Saune-Qaloewai, UNDP Programme Manager (Transparency, Accountability and Peacebuilding).

Through programmes like this, UNDP works to advance young people’s civic and political life, economic empowerment, and role as peace- and resilience-builders.

“For young people in Solomon Islands to reach their full potential, they need to know how to navigate socially, economically, and politically. The small grants and TokStori programmes developed for the youth caucuses through the provincial youth council of Rennell and Bellona is already bringing opportunities to young people to develop and maintain those skills needed to empower youth and boost their leadership capacity,” Ms Nanise Saune-Qaloewai noted.

The small grants scheme and the TokStori initiative are being supported by the Bridging traditional governance and the rule of law through youths’ participation as agents of peace and change in Rennell and Bellona funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and implemented by UNDP and World Vision Solomon Islands in partnership with the Development Service Exchange.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact:

Ranjit Jose, Communications Analyst,