This month we were required to ensure our office was abiding by COVID-19 safety protocol. This meant we had to work from home for a few days as our Senior Finance and Admin officer undertook a course to ensure safe business operations, as we awaited approval from the Ministry of Health to sign off on our Standard Operating Procedures.

The Ministry of Health approved our SOP while also lifting restrictions for Port Vila, allowing public gatherings which meant we could plan for the remaining activities for this financial year. We are incredibly blessed that the community outbreak has not been as fatal as other countries and we are thankful to our frontliners for doing their best to keep us safe! We are also thrilled that our borders are finally opening in July and we can connect more with our regional partners and work.


Sista Gat Style, Vanuatu Daily Post


This month we are featuring the amazing Inspector Lily Joel Mawa. Hailing from the tiny island of Epi, Lily has travelled the world and has enjoyed seeing new places and people. 

A woman devoted to the service of her country; this is Lily’s 29th year of being in the Police Force. A proud single mama and a sewing and baking enthusiast, Lily has dreams of starting up a cooking and sewing business one day as a way to support single mothers. 

Lily lives by the quote “Persistence is the key to success” and lives each day giving the best of herself, whether it’s to her children, her service as a police woman or to her own self!


Dress by Eliane Thomas – Eliane Passion Sewing & Designs

Inspector Lily was wearing an outfit from Eliane Passion Sewing and Designs. Eliane Thomas is a fashion designer from the island of Ambae, Penama province. Her designs were inspired by her mother who was a tailor, Eliane started sewing as a young girl. She was inspired to start sewing again four years ago to create clothing that was suitable and unique to her.

Penpena Mouri – Distribution of packs to single mothers at Ekipe community, FRIDA FUND

april-newsletterOn April 19th, Sista supported Penpena Mouri, a grassroots organisation that empowers single mothers, to distribute packs to 23 single mothers at Ekipe community and hold an activity promoting self worth. The need to support single mothers during the time of Covid community transmission and lockdown was highlighted during these vulnerable times.

This activity was made possible through the FRIDA Fund to support single mothers. 


Collecting VAWG and GBV resources, Spotlight Initiative 

Sista and HCDI are collecting VAWG (Violence against women) and GBV (Gender based violence)  resources from stakeholders in Vanuatu, under the grant of the Spotlight Initiative, to create an online resource hub where all stakeholders can freely access and utilize GBV resources, tools and materials for training and other useful information.

This has been challenging as we have restrictions with many organisations working from home, or not allowing face to face meetings. Another challenge is that many hard copies are no longer available in soft copy.

This has required us to either scan or retype the information, and only highlights the need for a library so that soft copies are not lost. 


Conducting survey on Sexual Harassment in the workplace – Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM)

As part of our work with FWRM, we are trying to understand the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. FWRM has been leading this work in the region and we contextualized the work to Vanuatu context, and disseminated online surveys in Bislama and English through our social media platforms.

We also contacted the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry who positively responded and disseminated the survey throughout their networks and newsletter. We also did phone call interviews as we were restricted with Covid-safety protocol at the time. 

The purpose of collecting this information is to help us to design and implement changes to protect women’s rights in Vanuatu.

This work is being implemented by Sista with the support of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement through the European Development Fund under the project- Safe Workplaces: Translating commitments into meaningful change for Pacific Women. 


Planning and preparation 


The Roundtable – PACMAS and We Rise Coalition

On April 26 Markson Taiki came into the office to discuss how this upcoming podcast will look like and basically laid down a foundation in our planning. Sista’s very first episode of the ‘The Roundtable’ podcast will be coming out VERY soon, so stay tuned!




GO! Cyber presentation


The Executive Director had the opportunity to present our GO! Cyber work to cyber security officers at PaCSON and ABCID team on Tuesday 12th April.

The ED explored the challenges and issues that young women face online and shared our approach on working on this project.

The CARE team also presented the impacts and reach of the campaign.


We Rise Steering Committee Meeting 

On 27th April, the Executive Director attended the first steering committee meeting for the We Rise Coalition and discussed the new leadership model, planning for year 4 and guiding structures for meetings.


Gender and Protection Cluster Meeting 

The Executive Director and Program and Finance Manager attended a Gender and Protection Cluster meeting on 28th April and updated the cluster on activities related to Covid response and filled out the 4 W’s (What, When, Where, Who).

Sista has identified the vulnerability of single mothers during the pandemic and intends to work more closely with them in the months to come to collect data to inform actions for support.



 Spotlight Merchandise budgeting and procurement for the upcoming launching of the Stanap Strong Akensem Vaelens website is also in progress and now Sista Finance Department is preparing payment transactions to service providers and finance reporting of the overall Spotlight Initiative Grant Budget.

We Rise Coalition and Care Finance reporting was also due this month but has been kindly requested to be postponed to back to the first week of May now that the curfew has been uplifted and everyone is slowly transitioning to the new normal. 




Regina, Sista’s Senior Finance & Admin Officer has attended VCCI’s COVID 19 Safe Business Operating  Training and received an SBO certificate as Sista’s official Safety Officer. 


New team members

On April 19 we welcomed a new team member; Chanelle Bjornum, her role at Sista will be the Office Manager & Project Support Leader. We also opened our doors to the lovely Sarah Freeman from Gate Minds as well as Nerolyn kapapa. We also welcomed  Sharon Nicholls who will be working on our podcast, The Roundtable!

We are so grateful to have them here learning and growing with us, Welcome ladies!