VILLAGERS of Naiviqiri started a self-help program two years ago aimed at empowering women and youths —and it is doing just that.
The initiative, headed by village headman Etuate Roqica, is aimed at helping village women and youth start projects like a canteen or handicraft-making to earn money.
"The canteen sits in the village today and is being used not only by us in Naiviqiri but the nearby villages," Mr Roqica said.
"Apart from the canteen, we also have our yaqona farm and these youths are the backbone of the village when it comes to development," he said.
Mr Roqica said youths took the lead role with development projects in the village such as the village hall, repair and maintenance to houses and the church building and the improvement of other facilities in the village.
"The youths own the only village canteen, which is funded with cash from their farms through selling dalo and yaqona from their individual farms to fund their village canteen," he said.
The canteen opened in 2009 and does not give any items on credit.
"The farm project is to fund their canteen and other business transactions," the village headman said.
Mr Roqica said the women had their programs of handicraft work which were sold at the Labasa market or upon orders.
Youths take their village responsibilities seriously.