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  • Nigel Akuani 

Youth Engagement Vital to Combating Corruption

Port Moresby: Vibrant and aspiring female students from Marianville Secondary School, have called for more interactive and visible engagement of youths in the uphill battle against corruption in the country.

The students, all in Grade-11, appeared for the Chat Room on Wednesday 4th August 2021, to discuss the importance of ‘Engaging Youth in the Fight Against Corruption’.

Their talk focused on the definition of corruption and its various forms, corruption’s impact on society particularly on young individuals, the social, economic and political landscape, culture and how it affects moral values, duties of different organizations and commissions as mandated by law.

They also made a call to different media houses to provide more platforms such as ‘Chat Room’ for young people to openly express their views on social issues, and a strong encouragement for youths to start becoming vocal and critical about the governance of the country and its priorities.

Shirmayne Daega, in her definition of corruption, said it denied the interest and the common good of the majority of people, and stood only to benefit an individual’s and group’s personal gain. “Here in PNG, there are many forms of corruption being practiced but the most prevalent would be nepotism or more commonly known as the ‘Wantok-System’. Many people cannot see its economic and social strain on society and especially on youths, but for them to be able to see can only be achieved through strategic approaches,” she said.

“They need to be aware of how it happens and operate through approaches that encompass young people, education and modern technology to be able to effectively inform and help the fight against corruption. Many of us tend to have a ‘Don’t-Care’ attitude, but the sooner we break this mentality and realize that it is our responsibility today, only then can we change and make the future a better one for our upcoming generation,” she added.

Maureen Tabari, explained the magnitude of corruption’s effect in a country, but maintained that despite this scenario, it still could be reduced with the application of moral principles. “Though it cripples a society’s daily system of operation that results in long-term poverty, crime and unequal distribution of services, corruption can still be reduced if society is shown methods of building their resilience by upholding moral virtues of fairness, equality, honesty, and integrity,” she stated.

She said, “Most of society’s problems could be resolved if we were all raised and guided by morals and values that were virtuous, and this grooming starts at an early age at home with families and parents.”

Describing how youths were very active and full of energy, Mary Melengas, said that this would serve as a big advantage to alleviating the effects of corruption. “According to the United Nations Population Fund, 60 per cent of PNG’s population is comprised of young people below the age of 25. Many of them are passionate in whatever it is they set their mind to, and if given the right knowledge-building programs to partake in and social platforms to express themselves against corruption, it would certainly be a gamechanger,” she emphasized.

Recalling the country’s past leaders and first-true patriots, Theresa So-on, said that though corruption was captured in statements made by past political leaders, many were not frequent to being vocal on the matter. “This has caused corruption to evolve and adapt into our societies, stripping away at first instance any Hope and Prosperity that our country has to offer,” she said.

“Corruption is a leech eating away our good values that should be upheld in a modern society and this mainly because many people holding top positions want tangible benefits. Consequently, affecting a person’s state of mind and moral compass rendering them inadequate in their resistance against further corrupt practices in future,” she said.

In her appeal to society, Tanika Saulep, urged people to start sharing messages of hope that created positivity and making decisions based on the common good. “You can’t be a good leader if you can’t listen. Don’t just accept the way things are. I challenge youths to start raising their voices to create links so we can create a change where the future is promising and much anticipated,” she implored.

Chat Room’s next session on Wednesday 11th August, will have students from Jubilee Catholic Secondary School discussing the importance of ‘Creating Opportunities for Young People’.

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