Since teenage pregnancy is a serious threat to Vanuatu today, the Government and its local and international partners are joining hands to lift the lid from sex as “taboo talk” to reduce the now shocking statistic of teenage pregnancy in the country.

Less than 20-year-old secondary school students, youths living with disabilities, a senior elder of a prominent church, community leaders and senior health professionals including a housewife, have just completed five days of intensive workshop at The Grand Hotel to use everyday language about sex to send the message to young boys and girls in their communities to respect their bodies and not do it.

The programme on Zoom which also involved a similar group on Tanna started with noisy giggling and laughter coming up from down South because they argued that culturally, sex is “taboo” to talk about like in the workshop.

However, one of the facilitators from their island was understood to have calmed them down by explaining that in this ‘new norm’, it has to be discussed in public and without shame at the workshop, to reduce an otherwise astronomical rating showing Vanuatu way above bigger, more affluent countries in the world today.

Even the church elder agreed that talking about sex is also the church’s duty to help its young people to focus on their Christian faith and not becoming involved in sex prior to marriage.

The elder went further to suggest that it is every parent’s business to sit their sons and daughters down to start talking to them about sex to guide them in the right direction.

He said prevention is better than cure.

A housewife shared her own experience how she singlehandedly struggled to raise her children up. “Sharing my experience, my shortfall, to provide for my children, prompted tears to fall at our workshop,” she said.

“I told the young people not to repeat my experience.”

While the young people were not comfortable to begin with, one of them came forth to assure the writer of this article that she is pleased to have attended the workshop.

“Now I feel confident to talk about sex to my colleagues to help them to stay on the right side of life,” she said.

The workshop concluded with an endorsement for the participants to become trainers to take the same programme to their respective communities to pass on the message to their youths.

The facilitators will monitor the progress made by each trainer in order to grade the presenters with a certificate at a later date.