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  • Jessica Oata

Creative awareness campaigns needed to educate youths

Port Moresby: To educate the youths, you have to use creative means and target them where their interest lies.

This was the call made by young ladies from Marianville Secondary School on TribeFm’s talkback show, Chatroom on Wednesday 9th March 2022.

The discussion on the topic ‘Covid-19 pandemic, an opportunity for youth engagement’ saw a lively discussion between six energetic ladies discussing the opportunities in which youths can be engaged in during this Covid-19 pandemic, to influence their peers to follow the messages endorsed by the National Department of Health (NDoH).

Opening the discussion was Grade 12 student, Suzanne Makara, who explained in brief how Covid-19 is an opportunity for youths saying that they are lucky to be born into an informative age where information is always at their fingertips.

Defining the topic, Grade 12 student Martha Banuk, defined the term Corona Virus as a group of viruses that cause diseases in animals and humans. She said that it first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019 and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Miss Makara explained that they decided to speak on this topic because young people have so many talents that can be used to influence their peers to follow the ‘Niupela Pasin’. She added that it is unfortunate that there is no support from the necessary authorities.

She also challenged young influencers on TikTok to create challenges that include the Covid-19 preventative measures to educate others.

When explaining the 5 messages endorsed by NDoH and how youths can be fully engaged, grade 11 student, Hipuche Kaluwin, stressed that it is up to each individual to be responsible for their health and wellbeing and those around them by practicing the Niupela Pasin.

With special emphasis and consideration for youths’ interest in new trends emerging, Miss Kaluwin urged SME owners and manufacturers to be creative, especially when designing face masks.

“I personally was not a big fan of wearing masks until my friends and I bought matching masks so it gives me the extra boost to wear my mask knowing that my friends are also wearing it”, she said.

Discussing the importance of young people knowing this information was grade 11 student, Beulah Topai. She emphasized the need for young people to be responsible for their health and that of other vulnerable family members when they are out socializing with their peers, given our living standards in PNG.

Grade 11 student, Wilsonia Komeng, emphasized on the need to engage youths in awareness campaigns because although they are ignorant, arrogant and stubborn, they can be easily influenced by peers through creative Social Media campaigns and by those who they look up to.

“Young people are very creative and talented, unfortunately, there is no recognition for their creativity, thus, it is used for other things,” She said.

Chatroom host, Maureen Orea, from TribeFM shared the same sentiments stating that young people have a positive impact on others, but they do not realize that and encouraged them to continue being influential in their peer groups.

Concluding the discussion with recommendations and calls to action was grade 12 student Avril Matawan.

“Young people have a lot of potential and talent that can be very influential when it comes to doing awareness on the Niupela Pasin and getting young people to comply with the messages endorsed by NDoH”, she said.

Miss Matawan also urged young people not to wait for government funding and start doing awareness on Social Media and educate their peers at their level.

The Chatroom program was proudly sponsored by WaterAid PNG in partnership with the Social Communications Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNGSI and TribeFM.

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