Improving sexual health awareness in Vanuatu

Save the Children is working to improve sexual health awareness amongst young people in Vanuatu.  

Our Strengthening Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health program (STARS) works with young people and their communities to promote awareness of sexual and reproductive health issues.

Why sexual health awareness is important

Young people in Vanuatu are vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. Almost 60 percent of Vanuatu's population is under 18 years old (2009 census), which is far greater than most developed countries.

Social taboos, poor information on sexual health, and a lack of treatment and counselling services make it difficult for young people to make informed decisions about their sexual health. They also have less access to contraception, such as condoms.

Save the Children's STARS program

We're helping to establish Youth Friendly Spaces adjacent to government reproductive health and family planning services in Nduindui and Lamap. These spaces provide a comfortable location where young people can chat or seek health information from our friendly, supportive staff.

Community Engagement Officers travel to different regions to teach young people, their families and entire communities about sexual health issues. Our program also uses sports activities and small-business training as a platform where we can teach them life skills, including sexual and reproductive health awareness.

How we know we're making a difference

Since the program began, almost 600 young people have accessed our Youth Friendly Spaces to receive information about sexual and reproductive health.

In the last year, more than 7800 condoms were distributed to young people – mainly those older than 18 – which is a 250 percent increase in 2012. Due to their involvement in youth club activities, 14 young people were also nominated into leadership roles in their communities.

Who makes our program possible

It is the support of generous Australians that makes it possible for Save the Children to improve the health and wellbeing of young people in Vanuatu.

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