Healthy eating plus enterprise: Healthy eating plus enterprise: A participatory approach to Pacific youth contributing to health goals and Sustainable Economic Development

Our research objectives are to:

  1. Support youth entrepreneurs in undertaking an analysis of the opportunities and barriers to developing vegetable and fruit based enterprises, with an emphasis on their experiences and ideas and the local food system. Drawing on valuable business examples that promote healthy eating and that incorporate digital media platforms will be a key component of this analysis. To contextualise the research team will also conduct a Critical Policy Review on vegetable and fruit eating and the role of youth enterprise in the context of the Pacific food system.
  1. Guide youth entrepreneurs in the co-design and implementation of 2-3 prototype actions of their choice through workshops and digital training e.g, setting up an e-portfolio, mobile social media. These actions will take the form of either individual or combined digital stories highlighting their experiences and opinions – captured through mobile moviemaking – that are interwoven with information about healthy eating and the food industry in Fiji and the Pacific. Connecting businesses with a mentor in Fiji and/or New Zealand will be supported as part of this process.
  1. Assist youth entrepreneurs in evaluating their prototypes (such as a market garden initiative, or a website depending on youth suggested strategies) and making recommendations based on the project for fostering vegetable and fruit eating enterprises in Fiji and the Pacific. The digital dissemination of actions and outputs will benefit the wider community.  We would envisage that youth will themselves express the value of healthy eating, what they like about it, what they value, and sharing that through social media.
  1. Develop a model of youth-led support for vegetable and fruit eating entrepreneurship in the Pacific. The model of youth led support would be similar to this project; that is, based on a participatory and design thinking model. Because it is youth led, supported by those with expertise in participation, it may lend itself to different contexts in the Pacific region.

Project team

Dr Cath Conn, PI and Associate Head of School (South), AUT Public Health and Psychosocial Studies – public health, health systems, management and international

Laurent Antonczak, Research Fellow & Health Communications and Media Lecturer, AUT School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies- digital learning and youth enterprise

Dr Philippa Smith, Senior Researcher & Research Manager, Institute of Culture, Discourse & Communication, AUT – communications and media.

Dr Radilaite Cammock, Project Manager & Lecturer, School of Public and Psychosocial Studies – Fiji and public health.

Gloria Ofa Blake, AUT postgraduate Pacific student, MPH, graduate management trainee CMDHB – Secretariat of the Pacific Communities Intern.

Losi Sa’uLilo, AUT MPH graduate, doctoral candidate and Research Officer, School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies – Pacific Health, Public Health and Research Officer.

An NZIPR-PMC Project
By Brandon Ulfsby and Hele Ikimotu, final year Pacific student journalists on AUT’s Bachelor of Communication Studies reporting for a collaborative project of the NZ institute for Pacific Research and the Pacific Media Centre.

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