Wake Up! 2018: Engaging Pacific youth in efforts to control NCDs

The goal of the Wake up! project is to get younger generations involved in efforts to control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by providing them with an opportunity to speak out on this topic through the media and the arts.

Following the project’s initial success in 2017, the Pacific Community (SPC), in partnership with the regional United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office, decided to do it again in 2018.

Fifteen young people between the ages of 18 and 30 were selected from across the region to attend a training workshop at SPC Headquarters in Noumea from 21 to 23 August 2018. The workshop allowed these youth – from Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna – to learn more about NCDs, and it introduced them to street art (graffiti).

NCDs (including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases) are the main cause of death in the Pacific, and they hamper the economic and social development of Pacific Island countries and territories. These diseases are closely linked to lifestyle and unfavourable environments, and are the result of unhealthy behaviours that begin in childhood, such as poor diets, a lack of physical exercise, smoking, and drinking alcohol.

By the end of the three-day training session, the young people better understood the burden that NCDs are for the Pacific region. They were also able to analyse their own lifestyles and discover how to use street art to communicate on health-related issues. They will now create murals in their home countries under the supervision of professional artists to raise awareness about NCDs in their communities.

Flashback on the three-day workshop

The participants’ reactions to the workshop

The teams

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*An environmentally responsible project: all spray paint cans will be recycled by a specialised company

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