ELSIE BONG, an IT Manager with the ANZ Bank in Vanuatu, is one of the twelve recipients in the U. S. Department of State’s 2018 Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Small Grants Program. She was selected for her project Malasitabu Project aimed at supporting Malasitabu Primary School through classroom infrastructure development, promoting healthy lifestyles and education on waste management.
Two projects from Vanuatu received funding, The Malasitabu Project and the Early Literacy- Let’s Read initiative targeting early learning for children under the age of three. Papua New Guinea was another grant winner for a project titled: Training in Jolly Phonics, providing skills-based training to elementary school teachers in the Kerowagi District of Chimbu Province, Papua New Guinea.
Nine other teams, representing 9 different Pacific countries in addition to Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, will receive up to $13,750 in grant-funding to implement projects in the region related to the program’s core themes of education, environment and resource management, civic leadership, and economic and social development.
In addition to funding, YPL grantees attended a kick-off workshop in Auckland, New Zealand on May 10-11, where they refined their project ideas and learned more about successful grant management. The teams will receive mentorship throughout the year to help ensure their project’s success.
The Young Pacific Leaders Program is a U.S. government-funded initiative to strengthen leadership development and networking throughout the Pacific. The YPL program (formerly Future Leaders of the Pacific) was created in 2013, organizing annual conferences to bring together some of the region’s most talented youth for networking and skills development. This is the first year of the small grants initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Cultural Vistas.
The 2018 YPL Small Grants Program launched in January and was open to alumni from previous conferences. Alumni include young leaders, aged 20 to 35, from Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and the American-affiliated Pacific (Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa).
Visit yplgrants.org and follow along on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/YoungPacificLeaders/) and Instagram (WeAreYoungPacificLeaders) and #YPL for program updates.