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Mooditj Leadership Training experience

1 Aug 2023

Holly Fazulla from SHINE SA reflects on a Mooditj Leadership Training course she recently completed in Alice Springs. Now, she’s prepared to deliver the Mooditj program, a resilience, relationships and sexual health education program for young Aboriginal people aged 10-14 years.

With a back­ground as an Abo­rig­i­nal Health Prac­ti­tion­er and Abo­rig­i­nal Mater­nal Infant Care work­er work­ing in met­ro­pol­i­tan Ade­laide, over the past year I’ve moved my focus towards Abo­rig­i­nal sex­u­al health. This is with the aim to make change through deliv­er­ing edu­ca­tion in response to the con­tin­u­ous­ly, dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly neg­a­tive health out­comes for Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple and neg­a­tive sex­u­al health out­comes for Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties. I am also high­ly moti­vat­ed by my per­son­al expe­ri­ence with­in my own fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty relat­ed to poor health care out­comes.

Being in the sex­u­al health space I am often asked about the strate­gies and/​or edu­ca­tion­al tools that peo­ple can use to effec­tive­ly and appro­pri­ate­ly edu­cate Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple around sex­u­al health and rela­tion­ship well­be­ing; and of course, I can­not give a short, sweet answer that fits all. So, when I received an email with an expres­sion of inter­est to attend the Mood­itj Lead­er­ship Train­ing devel­oped and deliv­ered by Sex­u­al Health Quar­ters WA, I was instant­ly inter­est­ed and ready to go!

I trav­elled to the beau­ti­ful Alice Springs to attend the four-day course which was an incred­i­ble expe­ri­ence. The course itself was amaz­ing! So infor­ma­tive, fun and full to the brim with infor­ma­tion I had been seek­ing. Rob and Jye from SHQ were fan­tas­tic edu­ca­tors and I’ve been inspired by their work to gain trac­tion with the Mood­itj training.

The Mood­itj lead­er­ship train­ing is a train-the-train­er mod­el course, designed to edu­cate com­mu­ni­ty workers/​members work­ing with Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple. This pro­gram equips work­ers to deliv­er the train­ing in a cul­tur­al­ly safe way, to edu­cate about healthy rela­tion­ships, sex­u­al health and well­be­ing. The con­tent was clear­ly explained, it includes three core parts: Mood­itj me; Mood­itj Mates; Mood­itj More than Mates.

At its core, the Mood­itj train­ing sup­ports Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple to build their strength and con­fi­dence in their iden­ti­ty and learn where to seek help if need­ed and how to man­age them­selves when faced with strong feel­ings. It also teach­es Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple how to grow sol­id, trust­ing rela­tion­ships with their mates, the impor­tance of con­sent, respect and how to keep them­selves and their sex­u­al part­ners safe when explor­ing sex­u­al relationships.

Once you’ve com­plet­ed the course you become a Mood­itj leader and can inde­pen­dent­ly run the Mood­itj course with Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple in almost any edu­ca­tion­al set­ting. The con­tent is aimed at Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple between the ages of 10 – 14 but can be ben­e­fi­cial for any age.

Sex­u­al health con­tin­ues to be a stig­ma­tised top­ic in our com­mu­ni­ty, and it is my mis­sion to break the stig­ma par­tic­u­lar­ly around con­dom use and STI test­ing, so that Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple can expe­ri­ence healthy sex­u­al rela­tion­ships free of shame and wor­ry around STIs, BBVs and oth­er chron­ic ill­ness relat­ed to sex­u­al health.

The Mood­itj train­ing gave me the tools and edu­ca­tion­al mate­r­i­al to answer many of the ques­tions asked about how to sup­port Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple with con­ver­sa­tions around sex­u­al health.

I high­ly rec­om­mend this train­ing to any­one that works with Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple and wants to sup­port Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple to improve their health and well­be­ing out­comes for their community.

There are so many ways for us to make a change and break stig­ma, remind­ing me that I was pleas­ant­ly sur­prised to see how acces­si­ble free con­doms are in Alice Springs. Free con­doms could be found in PVC pip­ing con­dom dis­pensers in local parks, creek areas and hang out spots around town. I think this is a great way to break the stig­ma around using con­doms, giv­ing them a sense of nor­mal­i­ty, being so read­i­ly avail­able as they are. Although the work around break­ing stig­ma con­tin­ues, this feels like a good start!