The Pro-Active Mamas (PAM) with the five Port Vila Municipal female councillors; Deputy Mayor Leimara Malachai and Councillors Marie Kalkoa, Cathy Hivo, Rose Peters and Pascaline Fred, are assisting the Vanuatu Widows’ Association with the logistical arrangements for the 5th International Widows’ Celebrations to be held at Mele Village on June 23, 2017.

PAM has sought funding from the Ministry of Justice & Community Services to run a one-day Capacity-Building Training Programme for all widows on Efate, Port Vila and Mele Village one day before the celebrations will take place on Thursday 22 June 2017.

The Capacity-Building Training Programme will be managed by Dr Andrina KL Thomas and Manina Packete at Mele Village bringing together 200 widows who will benefit from training to reduce loneliness, depression, SWOT analysis of the Vanuatu Widows’ Association’s constitution and how to strengthen it, awareness of the importance of women’s participation in Vanuatu’s society [including the family, the formal and informal employment settings]; climate change impacts and how widows can reduce green-house gazes, protect and conserve the environment; identifying aspects of empowerment and advancement that widows can aspire for; Encouraging widows to seek protection of their individual rights under CEDAW and CRC; capacity-building younger women with the skills and talents they hold; highlighting the importance of eating healthy indigenous island food also known as Slow Food to reduce non-communicable diseases; and educating widows to apply good governance concepts of transparency, accountability, complying with the rule of law in any of their micro, small and medium enterprises or business transactions.

“It is important that we understand the useful contributions that widows have made to Vanuatu’s societies. Before they became widows, they had spouses/partners and were active proponents in their family and society’s well-being. After losing their spouses/partners and with their children growing up and leaving homes, many widows have suffered from loneliness and depression. Widows are endowed with skills and talents that can be passed on to younger women of Vanuatu,” Dr.Andrina Thomas said.

“It is important that we celebrate with the widows to make them feel part of Vanuatu’s society and to also tap into the skills and talents they hold.”

Dr. Andrina KL Thomas has been assigned as the Coordinating Chair of this celebration and she is extending an invitation to all widows in Efate, Port Vila and Mele including friends of the widows to come to Mele Village and participate in these two prestigious events.