Pacific Youth need support and help from the communities to make better changes in young lives.
That’s what Sarai Tafa and Dr. Jo Durham are pleading to Samoan communities in the region.
Tafa and Dr. Durham from the University of Queensland shared about the peer groups or gangs in the Pacific Islands and their relations to the communities they belong in.
The focus on the issue was finding ways to eliminate gangs made up of youth.
“Respect is one of the main issues that we want to address to maintain the good of the youth," said Dr Jo Durham.
Despite living in challenging environment, Pacific youth have made significant progress and improvement in some areas.
The two presenters said peer groups contain hierarchies and distinct patterns of behaviour.
"We are looking for some better way to improve the youth productivity, so we’ve researched on their identity as well as their families to ensure that the number of peer groups will decrease,” Sarai Tafa.
Part of these issues they say are to be attributed to identity issues.
"One of the major factors that influence the formation of a person identity is his or her peers,” Tafa said.
"Family does give us the strength to have big emphasis on youth and culture, and encourage the young people on doing the right things,” she added.
"Trust and Respect is very important for the youth academically to protect their relations within their society and the communities,” added Tafa.
*Marilyn is a second year Media and Journalism student at the National University of Samoa.