A group photo of participants and officials from MoH, VPAM and PSC


The Ministry of Health (MoH), the Public Service Commission (PSC), and the SANMA Provincial Government Council (SPGC) launched the second Cohort of the Women in Leadership Program (WILP) in Luganville, Santo, on Monday, March 18, 2024.

Speaking on behalf of the office of the Director General (DG), Mrs. Judith Melsul, the Human Resource Manager (HRM) from the MoH, elaborated on the background of the partnership program.

She said the idea was initiated in November 2022 by the Ministry’s executive, in recognition of the important role of women in leadership in the health sector.

This led to a design workshop supported by the Vanuatu – Australian health program in February 2023. Representatives from the MoH, PSC, Vanuatu Institute of Public Administration and Management (VIPAM), Department of Women’s Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Australian High Commission, and other important partners attended, forming the technical working group tasked with overseeing the agreed monitoring, evaluation, and learning outcomes.

Mrs. Melsul detailed that the four-month programme, which will run from March to June, will be a leadership journey rather than a normal pre-packaged training.

It is a structured journey designed to guide participants to self-discovery and self-awareness, equipping them with tools for leadership and facilitating peer learning and sharing testimonies of lived experiences.

Additionally, the training will oversee individual monitoring and coaching for participants and provide safe spaces and support to address social and cultural norms and how to break through barriers.

The HRM also elaborated that another important objective of the training is to unpack the role of men in women’s lives, which will be emphasised as an important aspect of the training.

After the four months of training, the participants will be awarded a Certificate of Professional Development in Public Workplace Leadership in June 2024.

This certificate is recognised by most regional institutions, such as the University of the South Pacific (USP).

In this training, there are seven male and 13 female participants from different departments of the health sector, unlike Cohort 1, which is only oriented towards female participation.

“The fact that Cohort 2 is held at the provincial level and is inclusive of males is an opportunity for discussions on gender equality,” said Mrs. Carol Rovo, the Acting Secretary General (SG) of the SPGC.

“Having male champions wishing for change and being inclusive leaders is an important part of the journey for women in leadership and progress towards good health in Vanuatu.”

The WILP is a partnership initiative by the PSC through VIPAM and the Management of the MoH.