7 April 2018
Non-communicable diseases (e.g. obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer) have reached crisis level in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories and have a major social and economic impact. These health conditions undermine development as they drain government resources, have serious repercussions on the quality of life for both individuals and their families and precipitate vulnerable households into poverty. Studies have shown that teenagers are widely affected and their behaviours (harmful use of alcohol, tobacco use, poor diets and a lack of exercise) put them at high risk for developing non-communicable diseases later in life.
Yet few prevention activities carried out in the region directly involve young people. So, the WAKE UP project is designed to mobilise the region’s young people (18-25 years old) through the use of more dynamic communication techniques to address this huge health and development challenge.
A call for project proposals was issued in early 2017 to invite youth from the Pacific Island countries and territories to develop and submit proposals for video projects designed to sensitize their peers. Seven projects were selected through this competitive procedure and the winners were invited to a training session in Noumea, New Caledonia, from 21 to 23 August 2017. Over the three days, 28 youth from Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, New Zealand, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna learned about video-making techniques and non-communicable diseases. At the end of the training session, they did all the pre-production work on their films (storyboards, dialogues, identifying the technical specifications, etc).
Funding was then provided to allow each team of young people to work with production companies -though some did everything on their own- to fully realise their films. Given its success, the project will be renewed in 2018 using graffiti (street art) as the medium of communication on Non-communicable diseases and their risk factors.
Snap Profiles of Participants
Flash back on the Wake Up! Workshop
"Do it for the ones who love you!"
A loving and caring relationship between two siblings deteriorates as the brother indulges in unhealthy behaviors. He later succumbs to a stroke. The film by Kautea and Taniela Tora highlights the importance of looking after oneself and encourage individuals to embrace healthy living, if not for themselves, for the ones who love them. The authors postulate that in contemporary Fijian society, individuals are more sensitive to the pain their death may inflict unto their loved ones than their own fate.
Following a visit to the doctor, Tama, an overweight young adult, becomes suddenly aware of everything he could have done differently in his youth to be healthier. He then decides to radically change his and his family’s lifestyle. The team of young people from French Polynesia who directed this short film, engage parents on the importance of teaching children healthy behaviours from an early age.
"My story: Edouard, 13"
Following an incident that gives the whole family a scare, Edouard, 13, decides with the support of his parents to improve his health. This short anime film made from drawings by young people from the Northern Province of New Caledonia, not only gives life to the original characters, but presents a strong social critique of modern living and its contribution to the increase of health-related problems within families.
“Suka, Tā e lango kei mama’o – Diabetes, prevention is better than cure”
Four young female students of Tongan heritage living in New Zealand are mobilising against non-communicable diseases. In their film, they highlight the impact of diabetes, not only on the quality of life of those affected, but also on family members. This moving short film is a strong, sensitive and hopeful call to communities to take better charge of their health.
The Ni Vanuatu Hip Hop group ‘Confliction’ takes on NCD risk factors in this upbeat music video. The lyrics and music motivate the youth to be more active, eat healthy local foods, stop smoking and drink less. The video also portrays gender balance and sensitivity. Music is highly appealing to the youth in Vanuatu and is generally considered a great medium to engage with them on sensitive or important issues.
Meet Seleone, an elder from Hihifo district on Wallis Island. He is interviewed by Lotana, a nurse, who asks him about traditional ways of life, and how to integrate this knowledge into methods of teaching young people about non-communicable diseases. Through interviews with Seleone, the film shows how modernisation has profoundly changed the Wallisian way of life, with a focus on the abandonment of subsistence farming, hunting and fishing, and the introduction of imported processed foods.
A project led by: With support from: