The Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MoJCS), through the Department of Women’s Affairs (DWA) will commence research on the experiences, barriers, and constraints faced by women business owners and operators next month to inform the development of a national action plan on economic empowerment.

In partnership with the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI), the DWA will survey at least 180 Ni-Vanuatu businesswomen running formal and informal business across all six provinces.

Ni-Vanuatu businesswomen will be asked to share their experiences in business in terms of (i) access to capital, (ii) access to training, and (iii) business formalizations. DWA and PSDI will also hold at least 12 focus groups on these topics.

“The Department of Women’s Affairs is grateful for the technical support from PSDI to conducting this work. The results of this research will inform the development of the Women’s Economic Empowerment National Plan of Action in the areas of women’s Access to Capital, business training and business formalisation,” Smith Pakoasongi, Economic Empowerment Officer said.

PSDI conducted a training session with surveyors in Port Vila, with data collection scheduled for July and reporting expected by October.

There will also be a report specifically focused on the data relating to Ni-Vanuatu women operating tourism-dependent businesses, in conjunction with the Vanuatu Tourism Office.

DWA is the coordinating body of Vanuatu’s National Gender Equality Policy 2020–2030, through which a National Action Plan on Women’s Economic Empowerment is under development. PSDI is providing targeted support for the establishment and implementation of the action plan.

“PSDI is pleased to provide support to Vanuatu’s National Action Plan on Women’s Economic Empowerment, and hopes through this research to better understand the barriers that Ni-Vanuatu women in business face in establishing, formalising, and growing their enterprises,” PSDI Coordinator Serah Obed said.

PSDI is an ADB technical assistance program in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand. It supports ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to achieve inclusive, private sector-led economic growth, including thorough reforms designed to enhance the economic empowerment of women.