A lot has happened this month for the team at Sista! 

From looking for a Communications & Advocacy Coordinator under the We Rise Coalition, to joining in the United Nations International Climate Justice Victory parade and the overall, continuous planning and preparing for the 3rd Pacific Feminist Forum in May – this month has presented a lot of new and exciting learning opportunities for the team! 

Sista also turned 7 years old this month! And to celebrate, the team reflected on what they enjoy the most about working at Sista: 

“Sista has provided me a space to grow into the best version of myself. I have built up so many professional and personal life skills since joining the Sista team. Thank you Sista for making me feel like being myself is enough!”

“I love seeing everyone develop their own leadership styles, learning how to work as a team, supporting each other, while also courageously holding each other accountable. I also love seeing everyone striving to be the best they can be, so they can give Vanuatu the best of themselves.”

“I love that there is great team work, that everyone is patient with each other’s learning journey and the reassurance that everyone gives each other when they aren’t sure about something.”

“I love that Sista has created such a free space for us to be who we are, express the way we feel all while keeping true to our values here. This space has allowed us all to build up our capacity, support each other, build relationships with other people in the movement, and overall teach us the value of respect.”

“I love seeing each of us grow in our leadership journey and seeing the impact we’re making outside of the Sista space – I can certainly see how much I’ve grown personally since working here. I also admire how transparent we all are with each other because it allows us to freely and safely share our opinions and feel united as a team!”


While the team celebrated in office, the Executive Director (ED), along with other women delegates from Vanuatu, humbly attended the Pacific Prevention Summit in Fiji!  The Vanuatu delegation inlcuded: 

The Project Coordinator, Communications & Advocacy Officer and ED, also spent a lot of their time preparing for the 3rd Pacific Feminist Forum (PFF) which is being held in Fiji from 8th – 10th May 2023. Georgilla Worwor from Gate Minds, Leikita Kalorib from CARE and Anne Pakoa from Vanuatu Human Rights Coalition, will also be attending the 3rd PFF. Watch this space to see what the team got up to at the PFF! 


Melanie Shem – Sista Gat Style, Vanuatu Daily Post 

In April we are celebrating Vanuatu’s youngest female Municipal Councilor, Ms Melanie Shem! Hailing from the island of Aniwa, Melanie’s humble yet confident personality and vibrant smile is a testament to the amazing work she does today. Melanie ensures she has a healthy life balance by spending quality time with family, playing in the North Efate Bush Pigs cricket club all while juggling her responsibilities as a teacher’s assistant at PVIS and as a Port Vila Municipal Councilor.

#SistaGatStyle #WomanAniwa #Vibrant #Humble #Inspiring #WomanLeader #Beautiful 


Sista will be designing the internship and mentorship program for the Young Women Leadership Program (YWLP). Therefore, this month the Project Coordinator met with a potential stakeholder, the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on the 6th, to talk about the work that Sista is doing with CARE and potentially find placements under their network.  

As part of the YWLP our Project Coordinator and Communication and Advocacy Officer facilitated a Feminism workshop with Gate Minds on the 21st of April 2023. This was the first time they facilitated a workshop themselves. It was a great learning experience for the team as they unpacked what feminism is, the definition and importance of gender equality, the history of feminism, and understanding what feminism means particularly in Vanuatu and the Pacific.    

For a lot of the participants, the word Feminism was new, but that did not stop them from actively engaging in discussions, asking questions, and sharing their opinions. 



Balance Of Power – Nation Builders II: Celebrating Women in the Private Sector  

In April there was still a lot of planning and preparing for the implementation of this project. We continued to liaise with potential people to be featured in this project by identifying potential participants, locking down meetings with them to figure out how much they could contribute to this work, their available time and skills. 

We met with the University of the South Pacific (USP) librarian, Shannon on the 6th of April 2023. This meeting was to help identify any interested USP students to contribute to this project as potential writers. Shannon provided the team with contact details and linked us with these students, unfortunately, these students couldn’t send in their writing samples due to their Mid semester academic commitments. And the students also admitted that they wouldn’t be able to contribute to the project. 

Later, we liaised with the Media Association of Vanuatu (MAV) to help us identify potential writers. The MAV president, Lillyrose Welwel, submitted her expression of interest to be one of the writers. So, on the 20th of April 2023, the Project Coordinator had a meeting with her to find out her availability and how many stories she could write for the project.  

The Project Coordinator, Rosina Kaimabang, then met with Telstar Jimmy from the BOP team, on the 20th of April 2023. This meeting was to discuss action points moving forward in the project, such as liaising with the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Indusrtry (VCCI) to provide a list of women in business and the selection criteria for inclusion as the project is to be inclusive in all business sectors and provinces in Vanuatu. 

On the 28th of April 2023 the Project Coordinator held a workshop for the overall BOP project team – only 5 project member attended. The purpose of the workshop was to debrief with everyone about the work that BOP and Sista are doing, reflecting on the past project Nation Builder I: Celebrating Women in the Public Servies – and introducing the next project, which is Nation Builder II – Celebrating Women in Private Sectors. After the workshop, everyone was clear with each of their job descriptions, the project timeline, the questionnaires, the consent forms and other relevant documents and notes 

The BOP project team consist of nine members, which inlcude:

  • Winona Kalpukai Project Team Leader,  
  • Rebecca Olul Editor,  
  • Christopher Malili Photographer,  
  • Jeffson Willitien Photographer,  
  • Jara Leipopot Mania Interviewer,  
  • Rachel Loughman Transcriber,  
  • Elsie Molou Writer,  
  • Junior Pikioune Writer, and  
  • Lillyrose Welwel Writer 

Towards the end of April the project team sent the list of nominations to the BOP team who then selected candidates – this process proved quite challenging. We have extended our activity timelines due to other immediate tasks for the BOP team, Sista team and other project members. Keep watching this space and the amazing women we will be celebrating in Vanuatu’s Private Sector! 


Sikmun Storian – Ambassade de France 

The Sikmun Storian booklet is funded by Ambassade de France and will be led by the Young Women’s Leadership Program Alumni (YWLP).  

The ‘Sikmun Storian’ booklet will collect stories of the experiences of Ni-Vanuatu women of all ages in both rural and urban settings as they share their menstruation journeys with the goal of normalizing discussions around menstruation and empowering women and girls to speak openly about menstruation. A component of the work will be to identify menstruation stories in the context of kastom and document these practices to better understand cultural beliefs and dispel any misconceptions. With that, this month has more to do with planning and preparation.  

On the 12th of April, our Project Coordinator met with the team leader, Georgilla Worwor, to start the discussion on the prep work. At a later date, Georgilla will meet with Care international project focal point, Juliete Matansawan to touch base on any alumni from YWLP who wishes to volunteer for this project. 


Strong Mama Project – FRIDA Fund 

The Sista Project Coordinator had a meeting with Penpena Mouri on the 4th of April 2023. The purpose of the meeting was to debrief on the work plan with Penpena Mouri for the Strong Mama Program for this year 2023 as they are leading it. There were two other meetings after with Annanda Yoga and Healing Center – one on the 13th of April and the other on the 18th of April. These meetings were held to talk about the Strong Mama Project, how their activities would look like and how it would fit into the program and the activity dates that would suit them this year. 

In the month of April, we also submitted the Mid Cycle Report for the FRIDA Fund.


Women in Leadership Video – We Rise Coalition

This month the Sista communications team and videographer from Starlight Photography, managed to lock in dates and times to film interviews and capture b-rolls with the 3 female Port Vila councilors Anthea Arukole, Councillor of Namburu Ward, Marie Liouse Carcasses, Councillor of Fres Wota Ward and Melanie Shem, Councillor of Central Ward 

The team hopes the video will not only showcase the different experiences and journeys of these 3 women but to also inspire other women who see themselves entering these political spaces for positive change in Vanuatu. Keep your eye open for this launch!  

This project is supported by Human Capacity Development International (HCDI) and the We Rise Coalition. 


Pacific Prevention Summit  

The Executive Director was humbled to attend the Pacific Prevention Summit in Fiji from 23-28th April 2023. 

The Pacific Prevention Summit was held as a gathering for governments, civil society organisations, communities, and other partners to reflect, share, learn and strategise on what works to prevent violence against women and girls in the Pacific, especially where we play, pray, learn, and engage.  

The Summit was hosted by the Pacific Community, UN Women, and the Pacific Islands Forum, through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership), funded primarily by the European Union, the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, and UN Women. 



United Nations International Climate Justice Victory Parade and Celebration 

The Sista Project Coordinator, Rosina Kaimbang, and Communication and Advocacy Coordinator, Elsie Molou, joined the United Nations International Climate Justice Victory Parade on the 6th of April 2023. 

The victory parade started from Fatumaru Bay to Independence Park. It was an opportunity to thank everyone for their contribution to the success of the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion (ICJAO) initiative. It was heartwarming to see organizations with their painted banners for the parade held up high with so much pride for what Vanuatu has achieved in such at the UN International Court of Justice. 


Other News

Financial Spot Check – International Women’s Development Agency  

This month, we had our first ever Financial Spot Check conducted by Tamara from International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) on the 20th of April 2023.  

The purpose of this spot check is to monitor the operational systems of Sista – the procurement procedures, payment process, etc – for compliance, and strengthen Sista’s overall finance system. A big THANK YOU to IWDA for this great initiative! 


Communications & Advocacy Coordinator Call Out – We Rise Coalition  

We have also put out an Expression of Interest for a Communications & Advocacy Coordinator to work under the We Rise Coalition. 

The We Rise Coalition is an ongoing partnership between 6 feminist organizations: the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (Fiji), femLINKpacific (Fiji), Voice for Change (PNG), Brown Girl Wokr (Samoa), Sista (Vanuatu) and the International Women’s Development Agency (Australia).  

They work together to advance gender equality and the human rights of women and people of diverse identities in the Pacific. This role sits in Sista but is a coalition-based role. We would like to thank all the applicants that show interest in the position and take their time to apply. The successful candidate will be joining the team next month. 


Acquittal Reports and GlobalGiving Funding 

The Human Resource (HR) & Finance Manager submitted both CARE and We Rise Finance Acquittal reports with the support from our finance consultant, Marilou – Thank you Marilou! We are very grateful to have also received a grant from GlobalGiving Funding on the last week of April. 


Coming soon 

Spotlight Phase 2 to commence

Sista and Human Capacity Development International (HCDI) were thrilled to meet Maria Plata from United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to talk about implementing the second phase of Spotlight.  

In Phase 1, we collected stories to show what has and what has not worked, and what can and what must happen to create change. Some of those stories were shared, specifically: 

  1. Tiktok videos of women, talking about how men could help
  2. Videos of 20 male champions, shared as part of 16 Days of Activism campaign and in a booklet 
  1. A website that houses many resources related to GBV in the Pacific – www.stanapstrong.com

 In Phase 2, we want to continue to expand, build on, and promote the Stanap Strong Website as a resource for other CBOs, government and NGOs working in the sector, along with support for victims, families of victims, and the general population.  Keep your eye out for this space!