Reaching The Island.

Telling the story of VSO & Mbabala Island.

“Amidst rampant teenage pregnancy and disease, watch how one community came together to tackle sexual health taboos in our short film.”

VSO have been working tirelessly over 3 years to educate Mbabala Island on the dangers of underage sex and the importance of contraception.

We spent a few days on Lake Bangweulu visiting the local educators they have recruited, the medical team and the amazing volunteers who have successfully seen a drop in underage pregnancies and STI rates, and a rise in school attendance rates.

“Tackling sexual health taboos on a remote Zambian island”

“In the beginning they thought we were promoting promiscuity, just by distributing condoms,” says VSO volunteer Monica Atim. “Sex is not something that is discussed openly in our African culture.”

But that taboo around sex, especially for young people, was creating big problems on Mbabala.

The silence around sex bred dangerous misinformation,

such as the mistaken belief that contraceptives cause cancer.

This remote island in Zambia’s immense Lake Bangweulu is home to 2,000 people. They have just one primary school and one health centre with a single nurse. For most, poverty means the mainland – along with developed sexual health services and contraceptive choice – is out of reach.

Taken from Reaching The Island.

  • Camera Callum Whiteley
  • Editor Callum Whiteley
  • Client VSO International
  • Agency The Service
  • Produced Lucy Taylor