Hayward: Chance to choose leaders for the country

The Pacific Community (SPC) Principal Strategic Lead – Pacific Women, Mereseini Rakuita, fourth from left, pictured with participants during the University of the South Pacific "Your Vote Matters' workshop recently. Picture: PAULIASI MATEBOTO

The University of the South Pacific Students’ Association (USPSA) held its final session of the ‘Your Vote Matters’ project workshop at the Laucala Bay campus recently, aimed at informing and encouraging young people to vote.

Speaking at the opening of the session, USP director education Dr Matthew Hayward said the elections was a chance for first-time voters to have a say in the leaders who were going to represent them and represent their country over the next four years.

“So, a chance to choose leaders who are going to represent their values,” he said.

Guest speaker, Pacific Community (SPC) principal strategic lead – Pacific Women, Mereseini Rakuita, also highlighted that every single young person in the university had the right to determine their next government.

“Every single vote matters. All voter turnout is a crucial indicator of the level of citizens’ interest and participation in political processes.”

Ms Rakuita also challenged USP to continue research studies and work in cultivating an environment to support and nurture young women into leadership roles or leadership pathways.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) deputy resident representative, Yemesrach Workie, also noted that Fiji would exercise their democratic right to vote on December 14.

“We are all delighted and equally excited as on this important occasion.

“Ensuring greater citizen participation in the democratic process into the support of more inclusive elections in the world is one of UNDP’s key goals,” she added.

The USP voter awareness workshop managed to reach over 300 students and engaged over 40,000 people via online interaction.

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