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Wan Smolbag Theatre has been working with communities and schools on health issues since 1989. Much of our work has been in the area of HIV & AIDS and STIs.
Wan Smolbag runs two reproductive health clinics, Kam Pusum Hed (KPH) in Vila, and the Northern Care Youth Clinic (NCYC) in Luganville. These are friendly, confidential services providing family planning, STI treatments, HIV tests and counselling.
Smolbag nurse Leimako, at her desk
The NCYC clinic in Luganville
KPH has three nurses, one of whom visits Pentecost Haulua Youth Centre on a monthly basis to run an outreach clinic, and eight peer educators, who work with youth around Wan Smolbag Youth Centre and around town. They also distribute condoms in the town area. For years, the clinic and peer education programmes were funded by IWDA. This invaluable funding has now been taken over by Oxfam Australia.
The peer educators also run a sex workers project, bringing sex workers in for health checks and encouraging involvement by them to inform their peers about sexual health issues.
The peer educators' work featured in the Oxfam Australia newsletter of December 2008 (full newsletter
size approx 1.6mb) - or download the 2-page spread only
(size approx 300kb).
Display of WSB posters at the peer educators' stall during Fest Napuan music festival
NCYC in Luganville is based on the KPH model and has six peer educators and 2 nurses.
Wan Smolbag has been making plays and films around health issues for over 20 years. From 2000 to 2008, we ran a weekly radio drama called Famili Blong Serah, with a focus on various health issues including STIs, HIV and nutrition. It has played on the Tok Pisin Sevis of Radio Australia, in PNG and on various local stations in Vanuatu. See Feedback at the foot of this page. It is now having a second life with a complete re-run on one local Vanuatu station, starting from episode one.
We have produced over fifteen comic books about health issues from the point of view of characters in the series Famili Blong Serah.
The majority of the posters we create, too, are on health issues, largely HIV & AIDS. Some of these available in pdf format on the Downloads
Over the years, we have trained other theatre groups in Cooks, Chuuk, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia, Solomons, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvala and Papua New Guinea for the Global Fund, using plays we have written on HIV & AIDS.
We have also collaborated with the AusAID HIV & AIDS project in West Papua and as a result several of our resources have been translated into Indonesian. Three of our health resources have versions available in French; Mr Right Guy (Le prince charmant), Michel
Nancy and Love Patrol series 1 (L'Amour sous haute surveillance). The rest are in English or Bislama.
We regularly collaborate with the Ministry of Health and other partners in running a campaign around World AIDS Day. In 2008 the campaign took the peer educators from our health programme and some of our youth to community area in Port Vila, Mele. Melemaat, Ohlen, Teouma, Simbolo, Switi, Freshwater, Erakor, Manples. They decorated a truck and ran awareness sessions and quizzes on HIV/AIDS, giving out prizes for the correct answer. The campaign reached a total of 2,522 participants.
Some comments on Wan Smolbag's Famili Blong Serah programme....