Struggles of Rural Youth: Factors that Empower and Disempower Youth in Rural Villages – Central Province, PNG

Youth Rural and remote communities social exclusion Papua New Guinea

This research explores the multifaceted issues affecting youth who come from dysfunctional families and live in rural villages in the Central Province of PNG. The discourse of such rural youth accentuates the focus on institutional power relationships between the young and the older people of the village community. The research explores the hardships encountered by youth in rural villages, hardships that I argue are rooted within theoretical discourses and, in light of an ecological systems approach, emphasize a collaborative relationship to empower youth and enhance an inclusive partnership. Interviews from the study highlight contrasting views about the interactions between the youth and elders in rural villages. The data identified that although legislation stipulates and expresses an inclusive and communitarian approach (bottom up) by the village, service delivery is in reality non-compliant with the views and needs of the youth. The research argues that to ameliorate youth relationships with older generations, repositioning the power relationships of the rural youth is required to integrate cultural elements in development programs to improve and influence their livelihood.

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