The month of April commemorated Sista’s 5th birthday. The best gift was securing our long-term partnership with CARE International and celebrating our birthday with our supporters at our first ever ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun(damental Rights)’ SingSing Fundraiser.
The toughest part was saying goodbye to our beloved volunteer Katherine Bowden whose 3-month contract flew by. We know that this is a ‘see you later’ and not a goodbye! Thank you for sharing your skills and knowledge with the team, with compassion and kindness.
‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun(damental rights)’ SingSing Fundraiser
In January we began preparation for a major fundraiser but decided to scale it down after we could foresee successful grants and partnerships being secured in the year ahead. “Initially we were going to go big – a raffle, sit-down dinner and flashy musical show,” says Yasmine Bjornum, Executive Director of Sista. “But once we felt confident that funds were coming our way to support our work, it didn’t feel right to hold a fundraiser when the community could be putting their money into smaller initiatives that don’t have access to funding opportunities like we do.”
Instead Sista decided to hold a smaller fundraiser that involved an all-female singing line up at Seaside Retreat on and use this opportunity to celebrate our birthday with those who have supported us over the past 5 years. Thank you to everyone who came!
The event was successful but not without it’s challenges – as this was our first fundraiser with a young team, we underestimated how much it costs to actually set up a music event and how much work is required to set up an event. After paying expenses to cover the all-female singing line up and venue set up, we managed to raise 128,945vt. A huge thank you to all the talented singers who performed and to our sponsors: Computer World, Vancorp, First National Vanuatu, Jackie Galinie, Ck’s Rubbish Removals, Sam Store, Gaston Chocolat, Etam Vanuatu, Influence Bio Concept, Retreat Seaside Resort, Bar & Restaurant, Felixino Bule, Sun Productions Printers, Kwan Mann, Georges Cumbo, Christelle Thieffry.
On April 1st 2021, Sista and CARE in Vanuatu signed a partnership agreement to work together as long term strategic allies in support of Gender Equality in Vanuatu. This includes support for Sista’s advocacy work and to implement a set of activities between March 2021 to June 2022, from three separate projects under the CARE ‘s Gender Equality Program, all supported by the Australian Aid Program. Thank you bigwan long CARE mo Australia blong sapot mo trust blong yufala!
Participatory Action Research (PAR) Training of Trainers
On April 12th – 16th, the Sista team went to Tanna to implement a Training of Trainers for a Participatory Action Research (PAR) with the CARE team, including their Community Facilitators. Over the next few months, the Sista and CARE in Vanuatu team will work with adolescent girls to ignite them on a journey of reflection and discovery they want to action. #Advocacy #SocialChange #ChallengeInequality
PAR is a component of the Vois Blong Mi (VBM) project, which is supported by the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Program’s Pacific Girl initiative. #AustralianAid
‘Sista Gat Style’ Life and Style magazine
This month we celebrated the beautiful Amandine Fogliani Naviti, hailing from Makira. A helper at Peter Pan school, Amandine says that her hobby is ‘listening to music and watching love stories and comedy’ In this shoot at the road along the way to the airport, you can see that Amandine is a confident young woman – Amandine is glowing and gorgeous.
“The Women of the Blue Pacific – Leading response and recovery in times of crisis.” Side Event, 14th Triennial Conference of the Pacific Women
On Thursday 22nd April, Sista’s Program Manager Irene Abbock participated in a side event for the 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women with the We Rise Coalition. The ‘Women of the Blue Pacific-Leading response and recovery in times of crisis’ session was about recognising and understanding the role of Pacific feminist movements. The session included sharing best practices and modality of response and recovery in the context of ongoing climate disasters. This panel discussion will highlight case studies, and lessons learnt in all the Triennial’s focus areas; Gender Based Violence, Economic Empowerment, Climate Justice.
Human Rights Inclusion for People of Diverse Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Advocacy event
On April 14th, the first ever Human Rights Inclusion for People of Diverse Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Advocacy event was held at the Melanesian Conference Room in Port Vila with over 50 high level policy makers and organisational representatives attending. Sista supported VPride to mobilize attendees for the event as well as assist with facilitation during the event, with the support of We Rise Coalition.
VPride’s Executive Director, Ms. Gigi Baxter quoted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, saying “To those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, let me say: You are not alone. Your struggle for an end to violence and discrimination is a shared struggle. Any attack on you is an attack on the universal values the United Nations and I have sworn to defend and uphold. Today, I stand with you and I call upon all countries and people to stand with you, too”, and shared her hope that all those attending the event “will stand with us, supporting human rights inclusion for all”.
The United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) officially sponsored the event as part of its Born Free and Equal Campaign for diverse SOGIE inclusion. In addition to the UNOHCHR, the event was also sponsored by VPride, HCDI, Sista through the We Rise Coalition, Oxfam in Vanuatu, and Wan Smolbag.
Vanuatu Civil Society Consultation for 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women
On April 21st, Sista and CARE in Vanuatu held a pre-consultation workshop to provide space for young women to create a joint outcome statement to present to the government for the 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women. The consultation was a half-day session held at Seaside Retreat in Port Vila. The sessions aimed to provide an opportunity for young women to share their voices and collaborate to develop an outcome statement to contribute to 2021 Triennial discussions.
Sista and CARE in Vanuatu jointly hosted and facilitated the session, with funding support from DFAT and We Rise Coalition. Twenty-eight participants attended representing Sista, Solwata Sista, Vanuatu Cricket Association, Ntalpuk Ning Epang Faum (NNEFA), Gate Minds, CARE, CARE’s Young Women Leadership Program (including alumni) and CARE’s Girls Online Safety Project. You can view the outcome statement here: https://www.sistalibrary.com.vu/vanuatu-civil-society-consultation-in-preparation-for-the-14th-triennial-conference-on-pacific-women/
Ministry of Justice and Community Services
Sista is thrilled to hear that our justice system prevails! The Council of Ministers (COM) has revoked its decision to establish a Ministry of Fisheries, Ocean and Maritime Affairs. In it’s meeting early this month, COM instructed the Prime Minister’s Office to re-submit the paper following provisions of the Government Act.
The lawyer representing terminated Justice Director General Dorosday Watson Kenneth, Mark Hurley, said the judge has recorded that the government had revoked Council of Minister’s decision 179 of 2020. Mrs Watson was terminated as Director General of the Ministry when she challenged the decision of Council of Ministers. Mr Hurley said that Mrs Watson will now be awarded costs for bringing this proceeding which led to the government’s decision to revoke. Hurley said his client is entitled to file claims against the Public Service Commission on the basis of unjustified termination. He said he will claim for damages which is unfortunate as it will appear as waste of public resources and the loss of a long term civil servant. Hurley said the claims will be based on contractual entitlement and the Employment Act.
Sista will continue to monitor this space as we know it’s only the beginning of justice prevailing…
Planning and Preparation
‘Strong Mama’ Program
We have finally selected our 10 single mothers to participate in our ‘Strong Mama’ program. The program kicks off in June and it will be an exciting opportunity for single mothers to connect and create with each other.
Review of the Maintenance of Children Act
Sista liased with USP to organize law student volunteers to assist us with research and interviews for the Maintenance of Children Act, which is being funded through PPPAC under RRRT SPC. We have the pleasure of having Marisha Jones and Vepeta Tasi volunteering with us for two months. Their responsibility has been to collect key information from stakeholders in government and non-government sector. We also have Caroline Hughes who has been providing guidance to us to put the information together. We thank Caroline for contributing her time to us.
Besides key stakeholder interviews, we have also collected information from single mothers themselves by disseminating an online form to allow us to better understand the manner of proceedings and enforcement of the act. We will be validating our research and findings with a ‘Single Mama Storian’ in May.
Sista Fashion Show
Stay tuned…. we have an exciting partner we can’t wait to introduce!