Healthy Relationship Programme Development

In response to calls from parents and community leaders, Shama is creating a healthy relationships programme for ethnic young people. We know our young people need strong community networks and have specific family relationships and obligations. We want to address and celebrate ethnic family relationships and community dynamics as part of healthy relationships – it’s not all about romantic relationships.

To develop our programme, we have two key ways to ensure our ethnic communities guide us in developing appropriate resources alongside team. 

Our first step was setting up two advisory groups to help us develop the programme – one for Ethnic Young People and one for Ethnic Parents and Caregivers. We define “ethnic” as anyone in Aotearoa New Zealand who identifies their ethnicity as Middle Eastern, Latin American, African, Asian, and Continental European. Our second step is developing an online survey so more young people can inform our work.

At Connections! 2019, ethnic communities identified gaps in culturally responsive healthy relationships programmes for ethnic young people in Aotearoa New Zealand, and key values that must underpin such programmes.  Ethnic young people need strong networks of community around them to mitigate social marginalization, and addressing and celebrating ethnic family relationship and community dynamics are part of healthy relationships for ethnic young people – it’s not all about romantic relationships. 

Shama wants to work with ethnic young people and parents and caregivers to develop a holistic healthy relationships programme to meet these needs. 

Key values identified in Connections!

  • Education – to increase availability of information for all community members
  • Respect – to develop respect for different gender, cultural and religious identities, develop respect in relationships and what it truly means to respect others as human
  • Openness – to establish processes for addressing violence or issues within communities
  • Acceptance – to grow acceptance for all community members to address stigma and collective community shame, including around disclosing violence or talking about sex
  • Justice – is highly valued as a restorative process for communities to challenge dominance and create fair community dynamics

  • Communication – strengthening the value and practice of talking about difficult topics enables protective conversations within relationships, families and communities

  • Healthy physical contact – many communities value healthy physical contact within families to strengthen social bonds. Intercultural dialogue allows us to explicitly explore and check boundaries rather than make assumptions

  • Culturally oriented communications/practice – positive valuing of ‘normal’ cultural values 

  • Human rights – extending education about awareness of rights in the context of violence

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