TFHA Filitonu gender and human rights training

16/05/2011 11:16

WCCC facilitated a week long workshop in gender and human rights for the Tonga Family Health Association (TFHA) Filitonu Drama group.


The Filitonu is a health promotion drama group that promotes healthy messages through drama. They perform at schools, Churches and community events.


The week long workshop was facilitated by WCCC’s Male Advocate, ‘Usaia Hemaloto and Community Education Trainer Lesila Toia. It included topics such as basic rights and entitlements that men and women should have equal access to, and excuses that are used to justify behavior that violates human rights.


Filitonu member Jimmy Ongosia attended the training and found the concept of human rights to be the most interesting part. “Everyone has the right to information, confidentiality, access, dignity, comfort, safety privacy and an opinion. Ultimately everyone is allowed to make choices, and every choice has a consequence.”


The difference between sex (which is the biological differences between men and women) and gender (the learned, behavioral differences between men and women) – the was also an eye opener. “Sex and gender are two very deep words that I hadn’t thought much about the meaning of before. What, really, does masculinity mean? We are all born free and importantly, equal” said Ongosia, demonstrating that masculinity is a learned or gendered behavior.


Each morning sessions covered human rights, gender, domestic violence, and rape and child abuse. In the afternoons Australian Youth Ambassador Nathan Stoneham facilitated drama sessions to apply the learning of the session. Participants were encouraged to embody their learning. One exercise encouraged participants to take a family portrait that demonstrated the face shown to the public, and what is going on in private. It explored the impact of domestic violence on families and especially children.


“The training helped to make our dramas more realistic and focused. Now when we make dramas we think about gender equality and human rights to help audiences think more about issues and empower the rights of women and children.


We are all equal before the law, no one should be held in slavery or by force” said Ongosia.