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When you cannot dance, but you can recite: promoting the sexual health of young people with refugee backgrounds

When you cannot dance, but you can recite: promoting the sexual health of young people with refugee backgrounds

Edutainment, the use of entertainment to educate, has traditionally benefited the learning of individuals from communities with rich oral traditions. This presentation reports on the valuable lessons learnt from the implementation of ‘Hip Hop for Health Project’, an edutainment project that was implemented in refugee communities in Victoria. The project, by the Multicultural Health and Support Service (MHSS), a program of the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health, has been running since 2010. It was informed by the popularity of hip-hop among young people, including those with refugee backgrounds.

The project uses dance and music to pass on sexual health messages to young people and the public. The dance crews are required to attend several sexual health education training sessions and use that information to compose ‘sexual health’ lyrics. The groups then take part in a competition with audience coming from the general public.

The success of the project in reaching young people with refugee backgrounds in Melbourne has been significant. However, it has not been able to engage effectively with young people from particular refugee communities that do not have a strong dance and song culture; hip-hop has not been as popular with them. To reach young people from communities where poems and storytelling are used to educate people about their culture, religion, language and health issues, the program is seeking ways to include other art forms.

The presentation discusses some of the ways that edutainment projects can be refined to increase their reach to young people with refugee backgrounds and diverse cultural backgrounds.

Speakers: Alison Coelho

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