Twenty-three church leaders in Vanuatu recently took part in a two-week training program as part of an Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) initiative known as the Blossom Project.
Topics covered included family responsibility, reproductive and sexual health, parent-child communication and basic counselling skills.
“It is a first ever training to be run by the Vanuatu Mission with the help of the Vanuatu Women’s Centre and the South Pacific Division in addressing issues of family negligence, gender and domestic violence, which in most cases leads to unwanted pregnancies and abandoning of babies,” Mission president Pastor Nos Mailalong said.
Blossom, an ADRA Australia funded program coordinated by ADRA Vanuatu, seeks to raise awareness of gender issues and women’s rights with a particular focus on preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Teenage pregnancies in Vanuatu remain an issue of concern with up to 80 pregnancies for every 1000 teenage girls in the community. Many educational institutions do not provide support for young mothers to continue their education after delivering their babies.
The Blossom Project is helping to address the root causes of this issue by providing reproductive health education and public awareness campaigns. It aims to build resilience, provide education and support for children, young women and other women in distress. The project also seeks to support young women who are pregnant and ensure that babies born to these mothers are provided with appropriate care.
The training program was facilitated by Dr Trafford Fisher, director of Discipleship Ministries—Family for the South Pacific Division (SPD), and Dr Bryan Craig, SPD Family Ministries consultant. The Vanuatu Women’s Centre provided training in issues related to gender and domestic violence. Vanuatu Mission directors of youth, welfare ministry and family life, with the assistance of a specialist midwife from Port Vila Central Hospital, also presented.
For more details on the Blossom Project go to: www.adra.org.au/project/blossom-project.