The Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, arrived in Vanuatu to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Ms Stott Despoja will be in Vanuatu for two days and will be involved in a number of activities, starting with Vanuatu Government-led events this morning to end violence against women and girls. She will meet a range of groups to discuss issues facing women and girls in Vanuatu, including staff from the Vanuatu Women’s Centre, police officers, government officials, journalists and youth representatives.

Tomorrow, Ms Stott Despoja will visit the Alternative Communities Trade in Vanuatu (ACTIV) Association to meet handicraft producers and see first-hand the wide range of high quality products made by women and men across Vanuatu, including carvings, jewellery, bags and chocolate.

She will also meet members of Vanuatu sporting organisations, including the mamas from Vanuatu’s own Women’s Island Cricket program, to hear about positive outcomes for women and girls through sports programs supported by the Australian Government.

“I’m thrilled to be back in Vanuatu. Last time I was here in 2013, I met many of Vanuatu’s inspiring leaders, both women and men, who have devoted themselves to improving the lives of women and girls. I am looking forward to hearing more from them during this visit and seeing first-hand the work Australia has been doing to support their efforts,” said Ms Stott Despoja.

“We all have a role to play, especially men and boys, to ensure women and girls are free from all forms of violence so they can enjoy a peaceful and productive life,” she added.

Ms Stott Despoja’s first visit overseas after being appointed Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls in 2013 was to Vanuatu. Finishing where she started, this visit will be her last before her successor, Dr Sharman Stone, takes over the role in January 2017.