U.S. Department of State Announces 2021 Young Pacific Leaders Small Grant Recipients

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of State, in partnership with Cultural Vistas, is pleased to announce the 14 teams awarded funding through the 2021 Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Small Grants Program. The selected teams, representing nine different Pacific nations and territories, will receive up to $10,000 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, the selected YPL grantees attended a virtual kick-off workshop on July 24-25, where they began to refine their project ideas and learn more about successful grants management. The selected teams will receive mentorship throughout the year to help ensure their project’s success.

The Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Program is a U.S. Government-funded initiative through the U.S. Department of State focused on strengthening leadership development and networking throughout the Pacific. The YPL Program began in 2013 with annual conferences to bring together some of the region’s most talented emerging leaders for networking and skills development and has now grown to include further educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and seed funding opportunities. In 2018 the YPL Small Grants Program was launched, and since its inception, 117 YPL Alumni have led projects across 14 Pacific countries and territories.

To learn more about the YPL Small Grants Program and the 2021 projects as they are being implemented across the Pacific region, please visit the We are Young Pacific Leaders Facebook page ( For additional information on the YPL Small Grants Program and other opportunities with YPL, please visit and

2021 Young Pacific Leaders Small Grants Program Grant Awardees:

Busamang Community Marketplace, Papua New Guinea
A model marketplace that will improve local livelihoods through income generation and provide a safe and hygienic location for local vendors to sell goods. This project is led by Jetta Caleb, Matthew Tomala, and Bobby Kunda.

Economic Empowerment of Rural Mothers, Fiji
The project is focused on providing rural mothers with basic livelihood and financial education, training, start-up capital to run income-generating projects, and establishing a market access platform to ensure sustainability. This project is led by Kaliova Nadumu, Makereta Sovea, and Sivoki Susu.

Edetang Eoning (Youth Star), Nauru
A numeracy and literacy development project for children in grades 1 and 2 that will work with both, teachers, and parents, to identify at-risk students and engage them in specialized classes, one on one programs, and mentoring to build knowledge and skills. This project is led by Jennifer Harris, Twylight Adam, and Cronisa Baguga.

Educational Exchange Young Leaders Learning Advocacy Program, Fiji
This project focuses on supporting young peoples’ goals in returning to school by creating awareness of higher learning opportunities and alternative livelihoods through educational sessions, while also developing a platform for students to learn about Fijian culture and give back to the local community. The project is led by Faranisese Ratu, Laisiasa Kilioni, and Mereoni Rogocala.

EmPower Resource Center (ERC), Solomon Islands
Aiming to tackle the issue of low computer literacy and limited connectivity among youth and community members, this project will establish a computer lab that is home to resources and training for computer basics, as well as other essential contemporary life skills. The project is led by Sharon Inone, Nou Fredrick Vada, and Ethel Diana Salini.

Empower Youth Development Program, Cook Islands
By providing activities designed to help youth attain physical, mental, and social maturity, this project will work with youth, encouraging them to learn through practical community service. This project will be led by Maru Mariri, Travel Williams, and Tepou Vaevae.

Focused on the collation and dissemination of information using online platforms and communal dialogue in Fiji, this project will work to enable information and knowledge access, provide adaptable learning spaces for effective learning, and encourage traditional knowledge practice. The project will be led by Niumai Kavoa, Zoya Begg, and Alita Goneva.

Kikori Turtle Rangers, Papua New Guinea
Focused on mobilizing youth leaders from different tribes of the Kikori River to advocate for the declining Pig-nosed turtle, this project will collect and incubate turtle eggs, collaborate with schools for turtle hatching activities, and provide environmental education while building the capacity of youth leaders to set a reference for future wildlife ranger programs. The project will be led by Joyce Mavera, Yolarnie Amepou, Kauro Einoko.

Kisim Bek Pasin Kastom, Papua New Guinea
Through documenting traditional ways of mediating and reconciling conflicts in Bougainville’s Siwai, Buin & Kieta Cultures, this project will focus on preserving cultural tradition and knowledge. The project will be led by Eleanor Maineke, Daphney Toke, and Martin Nakara.

Madolenihmw Youth Empowerment in Natural Resource Management, The Federated States of Micronesia
This project aims to empower the Madolenihmw youth to increase community awareness and stewardship in natural resource management. The project will be led by RJ Nedlic, Shirley Ann Pelep, and MaryJane Hadley.

MultiDura Phase 3, Fiji
As an e-commerce platform, this project focuses on helping entrepreneurs open an online store to sell their products and creating new export chains from Fiji to other countries in the region, as well as providing technical expertise to help local businesses. The project is led by Akshay Deo, Calev Chandra, and Christopher Prasad.

Tongan Youth Media Camp, Tonga
Through hosting a four-day retreat for youth attendees to provide hands-on media training and explore current issues, this project focuses on skill-building in video production, leadership, communication, and media advocacy. The project will be led by Sifa Latu, Alokoulu Ulukivailoa, and Taniela Petelo.

Vunilagi Reading Programme, Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu
By promoting reading in rural communities, the project aims to support parents and communities through children’s literacy development by providing daily reading and online learning. This project will be led by Koto Qalo, Adi Mariana Waqa, and Akanisi Draniliga.

Y-Pack Waves, Solomon Islands
An inclusive youth-focused initiative set to tackle youth unemployment and motivate young people through training, team building, and engagement in economic and social development activities in their communities. This project will be led by Gregory Dime, Lanisa Maelau, and May Rima Kulueai.