Source: Samoa National Youth Council
APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 27 JUNE 2017: The Samoa National Youth Council (SNYC) has reached another milestone with the launch of its Tracer Youth Employment Survey Report with its key donors and partners.at Sheraton Aggie Grey’s Hotel Monday this week.
The SNYC President Fa’aofo Vincent Fa’aofo delivered the key note address outlining the purpose of the Survey and highlights of the Report, as the Deputy High Commissioner of Australia Excellency Amanda Jewell highlighted Australia’s support for youth programmes through the Pacific Leadership Program who is the core donor of SNYC as well as the Tracer Youth Employment Survey project. The Report was successfully completed with the assistance and support from the International Labour Organisation.
The survey that started in April 2016 was to assist SNYC in developing a database of youth participation in the informal sector in particular on income – generating activities by youth in the community and launch a policy paper highlighting the key areas such as:
- Explore the common notion that there is no unemployment in Samoa.
- Identify baseline data on unemployed and/or economically active youths in Samoa,
- Ascertain issues faced by youth living in the community affecting their participation in the employment sector.
- Develop a policy statement as a lobbying toolkit in addressing unemployment issues in the youth sector, and
- Create and establish the pilot youth pioneers for its youth employment network online platform project.
The national unemployment rate stands today at 8.7%. More than half of the national unemployed population are youth at 16.4% who are more likely to be vulnerable due to their age.
The survey collected information on youth demographics, levels of education and reasons for non-completion of studies, current employment status, experience in applying for jobs, skills and literacy levels, potential income generating activities available to them from natural resources in their village, and knowledge and understanding of volunteerism.
From the survey, 790 youths aged 35 years and younger from 7 villages in Upolu and 7 villages in Savaii were surveyed in which the following key results highlighted in the report were discovered:
- 93% of youth left school in Primary and Secondary level, majority of which are male. These youth have dropped out of school early and some of whom did not pursue further education on to Tertiary level. Majority of those surveyed who have attended Universities also did not complete their tertiary education.
- Reasons for leaving school early were mainly because their families could not afford school fees and to look after elderly or ill family members. Other reasons include starting work, failing exams, to get married, teen pregnancy and expulsion for violent behaviours.
- 61% of the youth are unemployed whereas 31.01% worked at home whilst the rest are employed in the public and private sector.
- Of the 41.39%, being 327 youths, who are economically active, majority of that total being 75.23% are subsistence farmers (agriculture and/or fishing) as a means of providing for their family.
- Of the 463 unemployed youth, 68.47% state that they are unemployed due to family obligations such as for men, taking care of sickly grandparents whilst others work to put food on the table. For women, they stay home to look after their children, or parents. Others have stated that they are simply not interested in finding work, whilst others are did not complete their education and are not aware of any opportunities available for them.
- It is notable also that majority of the youth’s literacy of the Samoan Language is good where only 48 respondents could not either read, write or understand the Samoan Language. Whereas the literacy level of the youths in the English Language, showed a significant number of youths struggle with understanding the English language overall where 165 of the sample stating they could not read in English, 146 responded that they could not write in English and 189 indicating their lack of understanding of the English language.
From the wide range of information found from the survey, the key conclusions drawn include:
- Youths have taken on the caretaker role to look after their elderly families and/or children have taken priority over seeking employment or education.
- Other unemployed youth have the mentality that there are no jobs available that match their skills which heavily contribute to the notion that job opportunities are inaccessible.
- The current education system seems to be failing to teach innovative and entrepreneurship skills among emerging youth leaders that may very much prefer over the current curriculum, which affects the early school leaver rate.
- Government initiatives that have been implemented to address unemployment issues are challenged and unsuccessful due to lack of planning and commitment to the sustainability of the initiatives. The lack of innovative progress in the agricultural sector where a small island developing State such as Samoa can utilise in order to foster and strengthen its market competition is limited in affording economic opportunities for the more vulnerable groups of the society.
- Furthermore, the programmes and services provided by the CSO sector are not readily available most times due in part to financial and capacity constraints given the nature of how CSOs are funded.
This report underlines that youth need to be more included in policy development at the local and national level as key areas where youth encounter prejudice and discrimination within Samoa include access to healthcare, information and decision making and leadership processes.
It is SNYC’s hope that this report will be used by the Samoan Government and Partners (i.e. Civil Society Organisations and Regional and International Organisations) as a tool for reconnecting with each other to collaborate on tackling youth issues in Samoa for the benefit of our future leaders.
The electronic copy of the report will be made available on the SNYC website: www.snyc.org.ws.