A four-day annual conference of the French-speaking women of Vanuatu, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna closed Thursday at the Vanuatu National Conventions Centre in Port Vila with a cultural night.

Over 200 participants consisting of seven-member delegations from French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, 11 from New Caledonia and 200 from Vanuatu, were at the conference of the Union des Femmes d’Oceanie (UFO), the regional organization of the French-speaking women. The conference was hosted by the Association des Femmes Francophones de Vanuatu (AFFV), a grouping consisting of all French-speaking women in Vanuatu.

Mrs. Marie-Antoinette Nirua, President of AAFFV explained that the AFFV was created following the inaugural gathering held in Bora Bora, Tahiti organized by the UFO — a regional association of French-speaking women of the South Pacific region in 2011.

“UFO is a project developed by French-speaking women in the Pacific after it was found that communication on issues relevant to women have not been fully benefiting that sector of people simply because every message coming from regional institutions were mostly in English, which meant they felt left out,” Mrs. Nirua explained.

As well as Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Tahiti and Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia also have their own associations which make up UFO.

Every year there is a conference during which they discuss issues defined following the creation of UFO in Bora Bora.

“At our first meeting in Port Vila we came up with a five-year plan focusing of five major issues and priority areas of concern which we believed would be of interest to the women.

“These areas were:- women in leadership, health, economic empowerment for women, and this year discussions are on the issue of violence against women closing the five year plan set b UFO.

“This meeting will come up with some resolutions that will define the roadmap for the future, the duration of which will be set by this meeting,” Mrs. Nirua continued. READ MORE