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.
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.
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.
Participants acknowledge the importance of passing on cultural knowledge and wisdom from one generation to the next through the practice of storytelling on the mother’s forearm or kaliloa or ‘aliloa. They learn how birth spacing or spacing between pregnancies can support this practice. They map out how they will share what they have learned with their kin members and community.
Participants review all they have learned and reflect on their growth. They focus on communal and continual learning that took place around the kava or ‘avabowl, traditionally called the tāno‛a or tānoa. They commit to preserving the future of their culture, their children, by making a larger impact on their community through a village project related to the knowledge and skills learned in the fono.
Since 2012, the Utah Office of Health Disparities along with public health and health care professionals and community partners has been working to address birth outcomes disparities in Utah’s Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities. The final product of these efforts is the It Takes a Village: Giving our babies the best chance project. Grounded in Pacific Islander cultural beliefs and practices, the project raises awareness and educates about maternal and infant health.
The Utah Office of Health Disparities (OHD), is committed to advancing health equity and reducing health disparities in Utah. OHD’s vision is that all people have a fair opportunity at reaching their highest health potential given that health is crucial for well-being, longevity, and economic and social mobility.