It is only the second Month of 2023, and we are already starting to get super busy!  

This month we celebrated International Day of Women and Girls in Science as there is still a significant gender gap which has persisted throughout the years at all levels of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world. Even though women have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in higher education – we see and acknowledge you siSTARS – they are still under-represented in these fields.  

Every year on the 21st of February the country acknowledges the late Father Walter Lini. We celebrate and reflect on his ground moving achievements as we are reminded of him as the Father of Independence and how the nation still lives by his quote “Rispek Hemi Honorabol”. 

We finally published episode 6 from the Round Table Podcast! Listen in to the conversation of the different Menstrual Products at hand in Vanuatu and the reality of what it is like for Ni-Vanuatu women and girls. Check out the discussion on ‘Menstrual Health Management and Menstrual Cup’

A big shout out and appreciation to UN Women for their tremendous support with the COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our team! 

We received a lot of different products, from a hand santizer stand, to wipes, to latex glove and even a blue mop bucket! These supplies will not only help keep our office space clean but it will also help keep our team COVID-19 free. THANK YOU, UN Women, for your support! 

Towards the end of the month, the Executive Director and Communications & Advocacy Coordinator, had the exciting opportunity to attend the We Rise Coalition 3 Annual Planning Retreat in Nadi, Fiji! They met with our amazing siSTARS from Brown Girl Woke , Fiji Women’s Rights Movement , Voice For Change – Jiwaka,PNG , femLINKpacific and International Women’s Development Agency – IWDA! While they were away, the rest of the team in Port Vila had their fair share of work and with two members not physically present, it was a challenge, but the team managed to pull through. 

After we said our goodbyes to our dear siSTAR, Irene Abbock who has decided to begin a new journey of her own, the finance team ended the month on a search for a new Finance & Admin Officer to join Sista! Keep a lookout for next month’s newsletter to find out who’s joined the team! And a big congratulations to Regina Ova for being promoted to Finance and HR Manager.  



Velenie Jacob – Sista Gat Style, Vanuatu Daily Post  

For our #SistaGatStyle February Edition we celebrated the #BudgetQueen Ms Velenie Jacob!!  

Velenie has been leveraging social media and using her business, Nasara Consulting, to economically empower people with financial knowledge. Recognizing the gap that needed to be filled between the informal and formal sector, Velenie has dedicated her time to sharing useful information packed with practical advice on how to manage your money. Visit our website to see more on Sista Gat Style! 

Nompi Aremai Cultural Initiative Project – Erromango Cultural Association 

The team at Sista met with a few of the board members from the Erromango Cultural Association (ECA) to discuss the Nompi Aremai Project and officially sign the MOU. 

This project looks at cultural empowerment and to revive deeper understanding of cultural systems in peace-making and respect for women and children. It also focuses on the cultural value of women by utilizing the kastom philosophy for peaceful communities: sesie-naromprom-nalorolki (respect-humility-honour). The comms team at Sista will be providing support through the set-up of a new Facebook page and sharing short videos of key people in the Erromango community in Port Vila speaking about the key messages from this project. Keep your eye out for it! 

Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP) – CARE 

The Sista project team join the Gender Equality Together Team at Care’s Office to review the YWLP applications of selected participants. The reviewing of the selected participants is done according to the two locations, Tanna and Port Vila. The ones from Tanna were reviewed on Friday 10th February 2023 and the ones from Port Vila were reviewed on Friday 17th February 2023. The selection was quite challenging, but the team has managed to do the selection in accordance to the selection criteria’s. Sista has also supported the GET team in planning for the YWLP such as fixing up the new logo of YWLP including mentorship and internship plannings.  

The Round Table Podcast – We Rise Coalition and PACMAS 

We finally released episode 6 of The Round Table Podcast! Jara and the Sista comms team talked about ‘Menstrual Health Management and Menstrual Cup’ in the light of putting out more information on how great these products are, personal experiences using this menstrual product and the price range of different menstrual products in Vanuatu. Listen to this episode HERE

Celebrating Women in Vanuatu’s Private Sector – Balance of Power 

Sista is working with Balance of Power to celebrate Ni-Vanuatu women in private sectors who have contributed to the development of Vanuatu. This month the team has able to develop a Call out to disseminate through social media, newspaper, and other platforms for nominations of candidates. Also the recruitment of the photographers, interviewer and transcriber is on process at that time. 

We Rise Coalition annual planning retreat 2023  

From 20 – 24 February, the Executive Director and Communications & Advocacy Coordinator, attended the We Rise Coalition 3 Annual Planning Retreat in Nadi, Fiji where they met with the siSTARS from Brown Girl Woke , Fiji Women’s Rights Movement , Voice For Change – Jiwaka,PNG , femLINKpacific and International Women’s Development Agency – IWDA  

It was a great learning experience for the team as it was a chance for everyone in the We Rise Coalition to reflect on their journey, share their experiences, their lessons learnt and their achievements, and it allowed everyone to start the conversation on the coalitions next steps on strengthening the feminist movement in their own countries and overall, in the Pacific. 

We Rise Coalition is comprised of several feminist organizations across the Pacific, with the vision to develop, demonstrate and strengthen feminist coalitions and partnerships to grow and uphold inclusive governance, equality, diversity, justice and women’s human rights. At the centre of the We Rise Coalition is a commitment to building and sustaining women’s collective power through movements. While resistance or rebellion by individual women is easy to quash or isolate, the We Rise Coalition believe that strategic resistance, acting together on a common agenda of change, is not easily suppressed!  

Thank you We Rise Coalition and IWDA for making this trip possible! The team at Sista are excited to continue the We Rise 3 journey with you all! 

Visit our website to read all about it! 

Other News

Media Association blong Vanuatu (MAV) Election 

Sista’s Communications & Advocacy coordinator, Project coordinator and Communications & Advocacy Officer, attended the MAV election on the 3d of February to vote for the next President and MAV executive board. Congratulation to the new MAV President, and another milestone for the women of Vanuatu, Ms Lily Rose Welwel! The team at Sista look forward to working closely with the new MAV board this year. 

Preparation to attend Commission Status of Women in New York, We Rise Coalition 

The We Rise Coalition is participating at the sixty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.  With the theme of “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”, the We Rise Coalition partners hope to ensure that the voices of women from the Pacific islands are equally represented and heard in the global review process. The ED of Sista is looking forward to attending the event with other partners from the We Rise Coalition. 

Women Deliver Conference Meetings  

The ED is honored to have been selected to be part of the Women Deliver 2023 Oceanic Pacific Regional Committee in prepearation for the conference in July in Rwanda. The meetings have consisted of discussing event proposals for Pacific and Melbourne convening events as well as the Regional Convening Strategy and funding allocation. In the second meeting, we were delighted to have Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, the Minister for Women for the State of Victoria, to join us for the first half of the meeting. 

Revitalization of the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration National Consultations

In 2012, Pacific Islands Forum Leaders endorsed the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality (PLGED) in response to deep concern about the slow progress of gender equality in the region. Their endorsement, critical for progress, brought a new determination and commitment to efforts to lift the status of women in the Pacific and empower them to be active participants in economic, political, social life in the areas of gender-responsive government programs and policies, decision-making, economic empowerment, ending violence against women, and health and education.

The national Consultations are part of the wider process to revitalize the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration (PLGED). The workshops are built on the findings of the review of the PLGED that was undertaken in 2021 as well as the consultations held during the development of the 2050 Strategy.

Rosina Kaimbang, the Project Coordinator of Sista, attended the national consultation at Moorings on the 23rd of February 2023. The objective of the consultations is to provide members and stakeholders the opportunity to shape the focus and governance aspects of the next iteration of the declaration. This was led by a Pacific Leaders Forum representative with the Department of Women’s Affairs’ help.

Program & Finance Manager Farewell 

This month was our Program and Finance Manager’s, Irene Abbock, last month with us here at Sista. After serving Sista for more than 2 years, Irene decided to start a new adventure of her own. The Finance department would like to thank her for the tremendous work she has contributed to the organization. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors. – Irene, this isn’t a good-bye but a see ya later siSTAR! 

This farewell led us to do a Call Out for a Finance and Admin Officer position. We had some great candidates and would like to take this opportunity to thank all the applicants for applying. 

Coming Soon 

Nation Builders II: Celebrating Women in the Private Sector 

This year, Balance Of Power and Sista are working together to develop a second edition of Nation Builders! And we want YOU to nominate a woman who you believe should be celebrated for the tremendous work she has done in her field of work in the Private Sector.
Click HERE to find out how to nominate!