The last month of the year flew by for the team at Sista! 

The ladies only spent the first two weeks of December in office to wrap up projects, reflect on upcoming reports and officially close on Friday 15th December 2023 to rest, recoup and spend time with their loved ones.  

We started off the month by acknowledging World Aids Day on 1st December. On this day, every year, we take a moment to reflect, raise awareness, and stand in solidarity with those affected by HIV/AIDS. It’s also an opportunity to continuously encourage compassion, understanding, and support for individuals living with HIV, and continue our collective efforts to break the stigma. 

On 5th December, Sista’s Executive Director, Comms Officer, and We Rise Coalition’s Comms Coordinator, attended a celebratory event held by Spotlight. The event showcased significant transformation and impact achieved in the areas where the Spotlight Initiative has played a pivotal role. The Initiative focused on six mutually reinforcing programming pillars: Laws and Policies, Institutions, Prevention, Services, Data, and Civil Society/Women’s Movement Building. – we are honoured to have been part of this Spotlight Initiative impact in Vanuatu this year! 

Later, on 7th December, we held a “I Nogat Ikskius” panel discussion in colloboration with the Vanuatu Australia Police and Justice Program (VAPJP), CARE Vanuatu and Senei Mahuk. This half day event was an opportunity to challenge the perceptions of victim blaming while also hear about Claire McFarlane, from Footsteps to Inspire, empowering survival story.   

Human Rights Day was bittersweet for the team at Sista and for Vanuatu. We acknowledged all the Human Rights Defenders, near and far, for their tremendous work but also were saddened by the sudden loss of our friend, Dorosday Kenneth Watson.  

Dorosday was an exceptional leader – she was not afraid to call out practices that did not benefit Vanuatu and did her work with integrity and kindness. Dorosday always gave a kind word to emerging young women leaders and always praised God in all that she did, reminding us to always be thankful and to use our God gifted talents.  

Vanuatu has lost an incredible leader – but her legacy lives on. #RestInPower #RestInPeace 

 

 

Finally, the team closed off the year by taking part in a Women’s Circle which was led by the magnificent Zegasus! It was an opportunity to end the year by acknowledging each other’s strengths, connect through each other’s values, and the values we hold at Sista, and strengthen our relationships with each other, while also celebrating who we are as individuals!

 

Projects

Anthea Kay – Sista Gat Style, Vanuatu Daily Post 

To end 2023, we celebrated the wonderful Ms Anthea Kay!   

Hailing from the island of Paama, Anthea’s kind personality and outward humor can be felt the minute you meet her.    

With years of experience in different fields of work, Anthea shows us how far you can go with a little determination and a whole lot of eagerness to learn new things.   

She is Sista’s Finance and Admin Officer and we’re so happy we get to celebrate her to end this year!  

Anthea lives by the quote, “I am who I am, not who you think I am, not what you want me to be. I am Me.”  

#SistaGatStyle #DecemberSGS #WomanPaama #Kind #Funny #Mother #Beautiful  

 

‘I Nogat Ekskius’ – 16 Days of Activism Panel Discussion with CARE

Thursday 7 December 2023 was an empowering half-day as we challenged the perceptions of victim-blaming at our ‘I NOGAT EKSKIUS’ event!  

Sista in collaboration with the Vanuatu Australia Police and Justice Program (VAPJP), CARE Vanuatu and Senei Mahuk would like to challenged the perceptions of victim blaming by hosting a half day event.   

It began with a keynote address by Claire McFarlane, from Footsteps to Inspire, who shared her survival story, and was followed by a panel discussion of local experts working to eliminate GBV and with survivors of GBV.  

The Discussions Covered:

  • Theory and Context of Victim Blaming in Vanuatu
  • Impacts and Trauma of Victim Blaming
  • Excuses from Society When Women Experience Violence
  • Causes of Victim Blaming
  • Real-life Experiences of Victims on Victim Blaming

Local experts and GBV survivors, including Superintendent Iaken Ampen, Shanna Ligo of World Vision, Stephanie Ephraim, a survivor, and Peter Walker, Creative director of Wan Smol Bag, engaged in a powerful panel discussion.   

They dismantled myths and perceptions of victim-blaming. The audience, inspiring young men and women aged 18-30, participated in a Q&A session fostering inter-generational and peer-to-peer dialogue after the panel discussion. 

 Planning Workshop with WASH Team – World Vision Vanuatu

 Sista’s Project and Comms team attended a workshop on December 12th with the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) initiative project under World Vision Vanuatu.  This initiative aims to provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities to the people of Vanuatu, particularly women and people with disabilities.

The initiative is intended to be inclusive and gender-equitable, with a focus on providing individuals with disabilities with access to WASH facilities.

During this workshop, the two teams discussed and learned a lot about each other, as well as how they might collaborate in this new partnership. The teams discussed the project they are partnering on, the strengths of each organization, each other’s expectations, the history of the WASH project, and what planning will look like in the New Year.

Sista is thrilled to be partnering with World Vision Vanuatu and we can’t wait to share with everyone the amazing work we’re going to be doing.

Sista Library Reorganization  

This month the Project officer focused a lot of her time on filling up the Sista Library’s spreadsheet inventory.  

Every Ni-Vanuatu woman and girl should be able to access information on a variety of topics through this library to make informed and powerful decisions. Additionally, the government, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and civil society should be able to access gender-related reports, laws, policies, acts, and referral systems in one convenient location.  This inventory was thus necessary to determine what data we already have in our library and what more we need to update it.   

Visit the Sista Library and check out the range of information we have online 

The Round Table Podcast

As we begin the next season for The Round Table Podcast, the Communications coordinator and Officer worked closely together to produce the first two episodes of the next season. 

Episode 14 – ‘Reclaiming our Culture’: Josepheen Tarianga, who is the We Rise Coalition’s Communications & Advocacy Coordinator, and part time Law & Journalism student, joined Elsie to unpack this interesting topic. This episode was recorded on the 24th of November and published on the 12th of December and the conversation was based on the impacts of colonization and how the current generation is taking steps to reclaim our culture.  

Episode 15 – ‘Economic Empowerment’: Jemima Nalo a young woman who currently works at World Vision Vanuatu under the Climate Resilience and Livelihood Portfolio, joined Elsie to discuss this topic and unpack what it truly means to be economically empowered. This episode was recorded on the 11th of December and published on the 14th of December. The conversation in this episode explores what economic empowerment looks like in the communities she works in, the impacts it has on women, and the importance of understanding the concept.  

Check out all our Round Table Episodes on our website ! 

Other News

Showcasing progress and partnerships to End Violence against women and girls with Spotlight Initiative  

The celebratory event, held on 5 December in Port Vila, saw over 50 participants attend in-person and online, bringing together civil society, government partners, youth activists, technical experts, and representatives of the UN agencies, the European Union, and other development partners. 

The event showcased significant transformation and impact achieved in the areas where the Spotlight Initiative has played a pivotal role. The Initiative focused on six mutually reinforcing programming pillars: Laws and Policies, Institutions, Prevention, Services, Data, and Civil Society/Women’s Movement Building. 

SISTA is honoured to have been part of this Spotlight Initiative Impact in Vanuatu! And we’re glad to have had our siSTAR, and Executive Director, Yasmine, be the moderator for the first panel discussion which focused on Strategies for redefining gender norms to prevent violence. 

Read full Media Release HERE  

Photo by Spotlight


Operations  

This month, like every year, we closed the office on the 15th of December. As per Sista’s Human Resources Manual, Sista’s office is generally closed during the Christmas and New Year period for three weeks so everyone can enjoy the festive seasons with their family and loved ones. And all contracted Sista staff were paid with their annual leave at this time – this is a big achievement for us as it shows how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown as an organisation!

Movement Building with Wings 

Earlier this month, Sista signed an agreement with WINGS to provide them with a workspace so that they can continue the amazing work that they are doing. WINGS (Women In Numbers Gaining Strength) is a grassroots, community-based and charitable organization whose mission is to improve the lives of women and children in Vanuatu.  

At Sista we recognize the work of activists, women’s group, human rights organizations and development actors to advance gender equality. And despite being an emerging organization herself, Sista is committed to fostering sisterhood with other emerging organizations to contribute to a resilient and vibrant women’s movement in Vanuatu that will collectively work towards achieving gender equality for all.   

Women’s Circle 

We ended the year with a team bonding activity with the amazing Zegazus, a member of the community: Magic of Sacred Arts, at the South Pacific Memories Resort. The aim of the activity, which is called a “Women Circle”, was to enable the girls to discover their true-selves and it was also a great way to end the year. 

 

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 We’re so grateful to have been able to carry out the work we’ve done this year, to collaborate with amazing partners on groundbreaking projects, and to connect and share with others in our networks.  Here’s to the wonderful journey we’ll be embarking on next year, 2024!