The Vanuatu National Youth Council (VNYC) and the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports (MoYDS) recently organised a Family Life Education (FLE) mapping exercise for its partners at the Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC) Conference room in Port Vila.

The FLE mapping exercise gathered together partners working in the related field of family life education to present their findings on what they have already been undertaken, currently been doing and yet to be doing to support young people and students as well as discuss action points and recommendations on what should be done to roll out community based FLE Training Package/awareness for marginalised group within the communities.

Partners reiterated that FLE is a very important area where young people in all category stages, students, parents and community at large should be involved in educating and supporting each other to having and maintaining a good and healthy family life for everyone.

“Most parents don’t always talk about family relationship at home with their children. Some may not have the time to and some may always think that talking about sexual reproductive topics is cultural breach,” they said.

Family Life Education is the practice of equipping and empowering family members to develop knowledge and skills that enhance well- being and strengthen home relationships through an educational, preventative and strengths- based approach.

Partners have seen that FLE should always be everyone’s responsibility within a community and have also identified that there is a need to develop skills for knowledge needed to having a functioning healthy family.

A presentation highlighted that research studies have shown that churches had the best well established network to addressing service provider gaps and using such active networks will make it easier to roll out awareness activity for young people.

Healthy family relationships are sometimes a big challenge for everyone, taking into consideration contributing factors to achieving that. Access to adequate health and lack of facility, infrastructure, and human resource is also a big contributing factor.

Partners have also shared that young people are sometimes confused and don’t know where to go to seek for health support when they are at their stage of adolescent times – which will sometimes result in them making the wrong decisions in life.

“Young people need to be informed. They need to know where to go or who to approach when needed support or in need for information. There has to be a centralized centre where young people could go to,” one partner pointed out.

Partners have seen that young people have access to FLE as a compulsory subject in schools which is a great initiative, however, responsible FLE teachers sometimes received negative feedback from parents.

“FLE is a game changer, it targets every area- NOT just reproductive health alone. We need a strong networking system, resource sharing, availability and an effective partnership cooperation to continue to do what we are doing and building it further,” they said.

Concerns have also been raised on ensuring that advocacy awareness within communities/ schools must also include people living with disability and those who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT).

“Everyone needs each other and we are all part of a community. We need to learn together- respect each other, starting small and moving upwards,” a disability member said.

VNYC Principal Administrator, Joe Kalo has also added that young people must know that their provincial youth presidents exists and they are always there to support them whenever they need support or protection.

Meanwhile, a FLE roll out community training in TORBA Province will be organised this month.

FLE is of great importance as it enables families to establish and maintain proper relationships with the members of the family, friends and other people.

Partners who were present included; the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education (VITE), Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA), Vanuatu Family Heath Association, Wan SmolBag Theatre, Care International, World Vision, Vanuatu Society for people living with Disability (VSPD) and Save the Children.

The FLE Project was funded by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).