Young Leaders responding to the COVID-19 crisis in the Pacific

In the Pacific Island Nations, COVID-19 has not yet taken a stronghold, but the impacts of the virus are still being felt. Many of the island economies have already been weakened in recent months due to natural disasters and a prolific measles outbreak, and a large proportion of the population relies on tourism for their livelihood. Australia and New Zealand have been working hard to contain the virus, but are now facing the new challenge of attempting to ease restrictions whilst still suppressing new cases. Learn about the One Young World Ambassadors across the Pacific who have been working tirelessly to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in their communities.


Rinesh Sharma, Founder, Smart Farms Fiji

Smart Farms have developed the "Growing Essential Green Homekit System" as an innovative solution to the food security and health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipients of the kits are empowered to pursue hydroponic home-gardening to safeguard their food security and nutritional health during the crisis. It is a climate-resilient method of personal food production which can be used during the lockdown, allowing people to stay safe and indoors.

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Natalino Guterres, Communications & Liaison Specialist, Asian Development Bank

LGBTIQ+ youth in Timor Leste are particularly vulnerable during the current health crisis. Many from this group no longer live with their families and instead live communally, making safe social distancing near impossible. Others have lost their jobs and are now unable to afford the mandatory face masks they need to be able to shop and work. Natalino plans to leverage this community by empowering them to produce rainbow face-masks, giving them to means to support themselves financially whilst also providing them with the personal protective equipment that they so desperately need.

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Regina photo

Regina Lepping, Consultant, UNDP

The Solomon Islands is among the few countries that have not yet had an outbreak of COVID-19. As a youth advocate, Regina is working tirelessly to make sure that it remains that way. Earlier this year, Regina created Agents of Change Solomon Islands (AOCSI) in response to the Australia bush fires, but the team have since shifted gears to spread accurate information about the virus through creative campaigns.

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Johannah Maher, CEO & Co-Founder, IMPACTR

Johannah has co-released a rock song called 'Break The Transmission - Do It For Love' with the aim to inspire people to fight COVID-19 by staying at home and protecting communities. All song purchase proceeds during the crisis will be donated to Foodbank Australia.

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Nolan Salmon Parairua, Founder, Solomon Islands Youths Strive Investors for Liberty Association (SIYSILA)

Nolan is working with the Ministry of Finance and Treasuring to ensure that the financial institutions in the Solomon Islands remain operational. This is vital to ensure that individuals and business are able to fully prepare for the state of emergency and lockdown.

SIYISFLA is also working with the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health to collaborate on community-wide awareness campaigns on COVID-19.


Grace Forrest, Communications Strategist, Walk Free Foundation

Millions of vulnerable workers do not have access to COVID-19 testing, health care, sick leave or the physical or financial ability to isolate. Many have lost jobs and are stranded overseas, unable to support themselves or return home due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, creating the perfect storm for exploitation, human trafficking and modern slavery to flourish.

Walk Free is calling on business and government leaders to act urgently and collaboratively to address risks to vulnerable workers and protect lives. Their publication - 'Protecting People in a Pandemic' -  examines key risks that COVID-19 presents for migrant and other vulnerable workers and provides practical guidance and current examples of measures that business and government can take to mitigate those risks

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Have some regional Ambassador news you'd like to share? Please email [email protected].


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