On 17 September 2014 the Pacific islands of Fiji will hold the country’s first national elections since the military coup of 2006. The results of these elections will be a landmark moment in Fiji's transition to sustainable representative governance. Young people make up almost half of the registered voters in Fiji, and will play a huge part in the country's political future.
 
For International Youth Day, Conciliation Resources interviewed three youth activists who are working to support a peaceful democratic transition in Fiji. They speak about their hopes for the election, what they are doing to empower themselves and other young people, and the constraints of being an activist under a military government. 
 

Alzima ‘Elly’ Bano, 27, member of the Fiji Young Women’s Forum as well as Youth Coordinator at the Citizens' Constitutional Forum (CCF), explains some of the problems facing young people in Fiji, including high unemployment and how the concept of ‘youth’ can exacerbate feelings of being marginalised and overlooked. She speaks about the importance of the upcoming elections and why she became a youth activist. 

Sina Mario, 27, a Research Support Officer at CCF, speaks about what it's like for 'coup babies' to be brought up in a context where, after a series of four coups in less than two decades, living under a military government has come to be seen as normal. Referring to the results of a CCF attitudinal survey she outlines young people's thoughts on democracy in Fiji and their hopes for the elections. 

David Whippy, 30, a Facilitator in Suva for the Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding (PCP), speaks about what it is like to be part of the Transition to Democracy team at PCP and the challenges that the current political climate presents for civil society organisations. 

Watch a video produced by the Fiji Young Women's Forum exploring the issues they are concerned about here. 

Read My Guide to Voting: Young Women's Voices Count here. 

Read more about how Conciliation Resources supports the work of local civil society organisations in Fiji here.