Category: We Rise Coalition

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Port Vila, VU
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NEWS

  • Women Against Crime and Corruption host Human Rights Defender Consultation

    The Women Against Crime and Corruption (WACC) organisation has organised a Human Rights Defender Consultation meeting yesterday at Golden Port in Port Vila. The meeting involved various human rights activists and defenders such as Vanuatu Young Women for Change, Family Association, Single Women Association, Tongoa Shepherds Women Association, Vanuatu Widows Association, Port Vila City Council of Women, Vanuatu Human Rights Coalition, and others. The aim of the meeting was to voice their concerns as human rights defenders to create a human rights security and protection framework in the country to help them tackle the different issues they face individually. According to WACC chairlady, Mrs. Jenny Ligo, this consultation workshop is important as it will ensure that human rights activists and defenders feel secure in carrying out their works. Ms Anne Pakoa, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Vanuatu Human Rights Coalition, expressed gratitude to WACC for organising this meeting, stating that it is good to see different human rights activists standing together in solidarity to address the issues they face. “Not just for human rights defenders, but also for those who can fall easily into the abuses of human rights,” she added. She further shed light on a common issue that most of them face which is financial support. “This is an issue that needs to be addressed, because human rights defence and activism is something that Vanuatu really needs…because we are fighting corruption,” she said. The consultation served not only to bolster the resilience of human rights defenders but also to advocate for the protection of all individuals vulnerable to human rights abuses. ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • Meet Magalie Laloyer Fiakaifonu: From scholar to entrepreneur, bringing trendy fashion to Vanuatu with Ximivogue

    Meet Magalie Laloyer Fiakaifonu, a proud Vanuatu woman hailing from Ambae and Torres, who will be celebrating her 38th birthday on August 15 this year. She’s not just a devoted mother of three children, but also the visionary owner of Ximivogue Vanuatu, the newest addition to the fashion franchise scene. Ximivogue is an international fast-fashion brand. Mrs. Fiakaifonu’s journey is marked by determination and a thirst for education. She attended École Primaire Sainte Thérèse and College de Santo for secondary education. Despite her initial hesitation, she was selected as one of Vanuatu’s best students to continue her studies at Lycée Français Le Clézio de Port Vila. Although it was challenging, she persevered, earning a full scholarship for her academic excellence. Her pursuit of higher education led her to the University of New Caledonia, where she specialised in Finance and Marketing. Despite facing financial hurdles, Mrs. Fiakaifonu’s persistence paid off when she convinced the French Embassy to support her studies abroad. After completing her degree, she embarked on a successful career, working for prestigious companies like Barrett & Partners and Sharper Image. However, Mrs. Fiakaifonu’s entrepreneurial spirit couldn’t be contained. Inspired by her own struggles to find unique gifts during her time at home due to health reasons, she envisioned a solution: a boutique that offers a variety of trendy and affordable products. Thus, Ximivogue Vanuatu was born. With her background in finance, marketing, and years of experience in the corporate world, Mrs. Fiakaifonu is well-equipped to lead her business to success. As she enters this new chapter as a business owner, she is excited to serve to the country and provide a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for locals and visitors alike. ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month focuses on ‘Building Connected Communities’

    Every year in April, Peace Corps Vanuatu joins the other Peace Corps countries around the world including the United States (U.S.) to raise awareness on the topic of Sexual Assault. The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is for individuals and organisations to raise public awareness about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse and educate communities on how to prevent them. April 2024 marks the official 23rd Anniversary of SAAM. The theme of SAAM 2024 is “Building Connected Communities”. “Building Connected Communities helps us reduce the likelihood of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment in our communities,” Peace Corps Vanuatu stated. “Any space where people come together is a community, whether in neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, organisations, or even online spaces. We are all a part of a community, often many, even when we may feel disconnected or apart from them. “Community is powerful. Community creates a sense of belonging and reminds us of how our beliefs, choices, and actions impact one another. At the centre of Building Connected Communities is ensuring our communities are safe, inclusive, and equitable. We must address all abuses of power to prevent sexual violence — in our relationships, communities, and society.” What does it take to Build Connected Communities? Addressing the social and structural determinants of health, such as education, income, employment, community safety, and social support, is crucial to improving the conditions, in which we live, learn, work, and play. “In a connected community, we can look out for one another and make choices to promote health, safety, and well-being,” Peace Corps Vanuatu continued. “Building Connected Communities brings us closer to the goal of health equity. wwHealth equity means that everyone, no matter their situation, has a chance to achieve their best possible health, creating a fair and just opportunity for all to reach their highest level of well-being. “We recognise that how we talk about sexual violence significantly impacts survivors, their families, our communities, and society. We also understand that our voices have power and that when one of us does not feel safe or respected we are all affected. As such, we must strive to create strong, connected communities that take care of one another and make decisions to ensure the safety and well-being of others to end sexual violence.” Sexual violence is an umbrella term that includes any type of unwanted sexual contact — including sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. It represents a range of behaviors. Forms of sexual violence include: rape or sexual assault; sexual harassment; sexual abuse; unwanted sexual contact or touching; sexual exploitation and trafficking; exposing one’s genitals or naked body to others without consent; nonconsensual image sharing; words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and without their consent. Awareness and Action during Sexual Assault Awareness Month “This April, during SAAM, learn how to take steps to build connected communities and enhance your knowledge of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. In addition, we invite you to explore how to create safe communities where everyone feels safe and supported,” Peace Corps Vanuatu concluded _______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • PM Salwai launches HPV Vaccination Program in PENAMA

      Prime Minister (PM) Charlot Salwai officiated the ceremonial launch of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccination Program in PENAMA Province yesterday. The event, organised by the office of the Director General (DG) of Health and Health Authorities of PENAMA, highlighted the ongoing efforts to combat cervical cancer in Vanuatu. “Today, I want to express my support for the efforts of the Ministries of Health and Education in continuing their collaborative work to achieve vaccination targets for every school-aged child from 9 to 14 years old in every school in this province,” said PM Salwai. “However, it is not just about that; parents of girls aged 9 to 14 who are not in school and are at home must also ensure their children receive the vaccine. “I believe that the Ministry of Health is providing special training to health workers to ensure the effective administration of the vaccine and coordination with school teachers and schoolgirls to learn more about HPV and its vaccine. This approach will help schoolgirls and their parents understand the importance of the vaccine and ensure its uptake.” PM Salwai encouraged cooperation from all stakeholders, such as chiefs, church leaders, women leaders, and youth leaders, to support the vaccination or HPV vaccine program that the government wants to roll out in their province. He explained that the reason for this effort stems from HPV, which is a virus that causes cancer in women in many countries around the world. In Vanuatu, there is an average of 8 women who die from this cancer every year. “The challenges we face in addressing this issue include: lack of enough doctors to provide proper treatment and advice to patients, limited access to screening for this cancer among our women and limited access to cancer treatment,” the PM listed. “These challenges are contributing factors to the high death rate from cancer in Vanuatu. Therefore, the government introduced the HPV vaccine last year, it consists of only one dose for girls aged 9 to 14. This is an effective strategy to reduce the number of cancer cases in our country. “As we did during the COVID-19 period, although we faced many challenges in carrying out vaccination campaigns against the disease through social media and various leaders of our society, we managed to carry out the COVID-19 vaccination program and alleviate worries and hesitations among the people to come for COVID-19 vaccination.  “In the spirit of understanding, wisdom, and respect for our mothers today and the mothers of tomorrow, I am making a special appeal to all the village chiefs of this province to ensure that our school-aged girls and those who are not in school but are aged 9 to 14 years old, must come for the HPV vaccine.” ____________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • Justice agencies unite to support staff wellbeing

      The heads of agencies at the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MoJCS) have joined forces to explore fresh approaches to supporting staff mental health and wellbeing. This comes amid growing concerns about the impact of work-related stress on justice sector legal professionals in Vanuatu. Launching new research on wellbeing, the MoJCS agency leaders highlighted how increasingly heavy workloads, high-pressure work environments (particularly during cyclones and other humanitarian emergencies), and exposure to distressing material and contexts place a burden on the wellbeing of professionals working across the justice sector. To tackle these issues, the justice agencies expressed their commitment to exploring new, culturally and contextually grounded approaches that support MoJCS professionals to deliver their work for communities. Leaders from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the Department of Corrections, the Supreme Court, the Public Solicitor’s Office, the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, the Vanuatu Law Reform Commission, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Office of the Public Prosecutor, united to endorse this research, jointly acknowledging the threats to wellbeing faced by justice professionals (particularly in the provinces) which include stress, fatigue, and burnout, and are known to influence decision-making and productivity. The research was commissioned as part of Vanuatu’s partnership with Australia and has been ongoing since 2022. Titled “Supporting the Wellbeing of Legal Professionals in Vanuatu,” this research initiative drew on sector-wide surveys, interviews and focus groups – from staff at all levels of the agencies. In the context of Vanuatu and the broader Pacific region where there are limited existing resources to address mental health needs, the locally led research and co-design was supported by specialist Australian research expertise. The research drew on Indigenist research and community development principles to promoted outcomes that are appropriate to Vanuatu and ensure that future wellbeing measures are designed to be locally led at all stages. Recognising that Vanuatu is a uniquely diverse and challenging environment – linguistically, geographically, culturally, and legally – and one where the destructive impacts of cyclones and related climate crises place additional burdens on institutions, the report findings also highlighted how excess work-related stress can lead to lower job satisfaction in the short term, and more serious mental health problems in the longer term. The research indicates that workforce wellbeing is important for maintaining the integrity, efficiency, resilience, and effectiveness of the entire justice sector. According to the agency leaders, this important work is linked to the MoJCS’ draft Capacity Development strategy 2023 – 2026 and will help drive sustained good practice and wellness approaches across the sector. The next step for the research team and co-design team is to support participating agencies in the rollout of the actions identified in the research. The MoJCS’ focus on staff wellbeing complements other initiatives already underway within the Government of Vanuatu, such as the upcoming launch of the Vanuatu Police Force’s wellbeing strategy, and it is hoped that Ministry’s framework and learnings will act as a template for other ministries and agencies to explore staff wellbeing activities. _________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

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