Call for more Kiribati male family planning advocates
A Kiribati youth representative says religious beliefs are stopping vital conversations about sexual health.
A Kiribati youth representative says religious beliefs are stopping parents from sharing vital sexual health information to their sons.
At an open hearing in New Zealand, Ministers, MPs and health specialists from around the Pacific discussed how to engage men and boys in sexual health initiatives.
Twenty-three-year-old David Kakiakia has been trained by Family Planning New Zealand to advocate for sexual reproductive health or SRH education.
He told Daniela Maoate-Cox talking about sex conflicts with parents' religious views.
DAVID KAKIAKIA: The parents never talk about SRH because it's cultural. For us if the parent talks to their child about SRH it's like they encourage them to have sex with anyone and sometimes it's against their church beliefs, mostly for Catholics. As you know in Kiribati, it is Christian, and Catholics sort of outnumber the number of population so for me I understand the situation that parents never talk about SRH to their children. When I grew up, my father is a Catchiest and that is like a pastor or minister in the Catholic church and he never talked to me about that because it's like it objects their church belief and what I found was that I grew up without knowing at what age I could make someone pregnant. But I learned all of this when I saw my body change and I talked to my friends so for me, we don't have to be blamed because we don't learn about SRH at the beginning. Then things happen and we don't want to be responsible for what happened but it wouldn't have happened if we had learned from the beginning.
Daniela Maoate-Cox: What do your parents think about this work that you're doing?
DK: Just before I had made a lot of films about SRH and teenage pregnancy films. My father saw the film about me and he was really proud of me. He knew what I was doing was related with Kiribati Family Health Association but he accept the fact that the key messages conveyed in the story are all related to the issues that are happening all over the island in Kiribati. But as I've been trained to be a community based distributor I found out that young men can talk to me openly about SRH because they know that I know some of what the issues and about SRH.
DM-C: Are there many other young men like yourself who have trained as well?
DK: Yeah there are many. In 2013 we were trained by the Family Planning trainers, some of is are police officers, youth officers from the Ministry of Youth, and some are from different religions.
DM-C: Would you like to see more young men take up the role you have?
DK: Yes, for me, it's like parents never talk to their children but us as young men can talk openly. It would be good if many young men were involved in this.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: