The It Takes a Village project is divided into four workshops. Each workshop is about two (2) hours long. The workshops are held as close as possible to each other and completed within a two-week period.
A facilitator presents the workshops. Each facilitator has at least one co-facilitator. Co-facilitators are familiar with one another and work well together. The project is designed for 6-12 participants. Because many activities are designed for pairs, it is important that all participants have at least one other participant who they already know. Couples, friends, and relatives are encouraged to participate in the project together.
The It Takes a Village project establishes and maintains the communal bond you will find woven throughout the Pacific in this concept of a village.
In the islands, important village issues are discussed by members of the village council. Participants consider themselves as members of a village council.
In the islands, the village council hosts village meetings or fono to discuss important issues. Participants view the workshops they participate in as fono.
The name of the project It Takes a Village was chosen by community members and mirrors the Pacific way of life. In many Pacific Islander societies, both towns and districts were often divided into village communities. This communal, reciprocal, and collective practice was critical for survival in the vast Pacific Ocean. The purpose of the It Takes a Village project is to establish and maintain this communal bond you will find woven throughout the Pacific in this concept of a village.
The village council
Pacific Islanders engage in the practice of meeting in councils as families, extended families, clans, and church members. In the islands, important village issues are discussed by members of the village council at a village meeting or fono. During the It Takes a Village project, participants begin to consider themselves as members of a village council and the workshops they attend as village meetings or fono.
During each fono, the village council learns about and discusses important issues affecting the larger village community. Each issue is explained in the context of Pacific Islander cultural beliefs and practices. These cultural concepts improve participants’ understanding of the issues and strengthen their motivation to develop skills to address them. The fono are an opportunity for participants to gain knowledge, develop skills, and connect with their culture in a way that will benefit the village community. Ultimately, participants will become valuable resources for others.
Fono 1: Our village and our legacy
Participants form a village council. They review the practice of nurturing relationships or the pan-Pacific concept of vā. They become aware of how infant mortality or the death of an infant before its first birthday impacts their community and develop skills to start this conversation in their community.
Fono 2: Nourishing the fonua or fanua before pregnancy
Participants discuss Pacific Islanders’ connection to the land and environment or fonua or fanua, which includes the mother’s womb and placenta. They learn about the importance of preconception health (the health of women and men before pregnancy). They gain experience navigating health resources.