In the month of independence Sista, as always, was in full swing! The highlight of this month is most definitely the Feminism Workshop where the stakeholders had the opportunity to explore the difference between gender equality and feminism, unpack the myths and misconceptions of feminism and understand what feminism looks like in Vanuatu and the Pacific. As we continue to march forward, Sista wishes Vanuatu a HAPPY INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATIONS!
Sista Gat Style – Life & Style Magazine, Vanuatu Daily Post
For Vanuatu’s Independence month, we celebrate the gorgeous Rose Molsir who is a proud young Ni-Vanuatu woman hailing from Pentecost and Ambae island. Rose is passionate about the betterment of her beloved country and is an aspiring Economics Analyst who hopes to work for the government to help find ways on how Vanuatu can improve its economy and standard of living. In her everyday life, Rose lives by the Bible verse: “Pray and have faith, be thankful and trust the Lord. He has a plan and purpose for you.” – Philippians 4:6, 7, 8.
See Rose’s July issue in the Life & Style online magazine HERE
The ‘Round Table’ podcast, We Rise Coalition and PACMAS
On July 11 we released the 5th episode of our Podcast that focused on empowerment through Entrepreneurship. Our guest Alice Athy talks about her passion and knowledge for seaweed. She started a business making natural organic seaweed products for hair and body, and has now expanded into making seaweed food products.
When starting-up and driving a business forward, there are so many experiences and lessons that will be part of that journey.
Join us as we shine the light on the benefits of seaweed from ‘Vanuatu Ocean Products’ and explore what it is like to start a business from scratch.
This podcast is supported by the We Rise Coalition and PACMAS.
Listen to more episodes or read the transcripts HERE
Young Women’s Leadership Program workshops in Tanna – CARE
On July 4, our Finance & Program Manager Irene Abbock and Communications, Advocacy & Events Officer traveled to Tanna to carry out 3 workshops with the YWLP participants in TAFEA. The workshops focused on Feminism, Social Media and Online Safety and Organising & Advocacy.
The lack of access to fuel on the whole island in the one week they were there made it difficult to mobilise the participants from their places of residence to where the workshops were held, which was at the Tafea provincial chambers. Most of them lived quite far and struggled to find vehicles that had fuel and were willing to give them a ride.
However, despite that challenge, the workshops ran smoothly and we got more participants than we expected to have given the situation.
The workshop was not only about information sharing and training for YWLP, but more of an in depth understanding on what are the real issues that the YWLP participants in Tanna are facing with their everyday lives and how we can support each other in this movement to better develop our homes, our communities and as individuals ending the act of sexism, oppression and ivtersectionalities that are affecting our livelihoods.
Sista is grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this and for the chance to meet these wonderful young women!
Feminist Workshop with Stakeholders working in Gender Equality, CARE VANUATU
On Tuesday 5th of July, Sista and CARE held a feminism workshop at Melanesian Conference room with stakeholders working in the space of gender equality. The workshop was led by Executive Director of SISTA, Yasmine Bjornum.
The workshop was an opportunity to explore the difference between gender equality and feminism, unpack the myths and misconceptions of feminism and understand what feminism looks like in Vanuatu and the Pacific.
For many people, the word ‘feminist’ has negative connotations and the concepts and theory of feminism are often overlooked. We are grateful for our open hearted and open minded allies and friends in the movement for their willingness to deepen their understanding on intersectionality, privilege and power, and agree to work together more closely in the future for an equal and just society!
Thank you again to those organisations and stakeholders that have attended this workshop including Dipatmen blong ol Woman, VNCW, Vanuatu Women’s Centre, VPride, VSDP, IsraAid Vanuatu, Oxfam in VanuatuVanigf, MFAT, World Vision Vanuatu, Spotlight CSO chair, Wan Smolbag, Engineers Without Borders in Vanuatu & Pacific People Advancing Change (PPAC).
Women Writers Mentorship – We Rise Coalition
Following the workshop that was led by accomplished author Rebecca Tobo Olul-Hossen on May 17, supported by the fabulous Sarah Jade Freeman from Gate Minds who shared insight on the role of language to create imagery as well as the power of persuasion.
We were glad to work with some of Vanuatu’s up and coming female writers, provide mentorship and assist in producing some amazing pieces of writing.
These pieces were published to Sista’s new website as well as Facebook and Instagram pages from the 18th to 29th of July. Sista was very happy to share the incredible and talented work of some of Vanuatu’s emerging writers!
See the pieces written by the participants HERE.
This project is made possible with the support of the We Rise Coalition.
Development of inspirational journal for YWLP – CARE
Sista has been brainstorming to develop an inspirational booklet for participants of CARE’s Young Women’s Leadership program. This booklet will assist them as they move forward with their leadership journey.
Self-care day – Sista and Care GET team
On July 22nd the Sista Team as well as the CARE’s GET (Gender Equality Team) came together at the Ananda Yoga and Healing Center to have a day of self-care!
Team building session with Jinny Ruben
On July 15 We were fortunate to have had the lovely Jinny Ruben – Life Coach join us in our office for a Team Building session.
During this session, Jinny covered what makes a good team and what Sista’s values are. We will refine this in months to come!
This session with Jinny helped us identify our values which are:
Thank you Jinny Ruben – Life Coach for this wonderful session, and we will be seeing you again to finish what we started.
Communications observation visit – VPride
On the 27th and 28th of July VPride’s Communications Officer – Malone Wilson paid a visit to our office to learn from and observe our own Communications Officer. It was a pleasure having Malone and sharing skills and knowledge in Comms to our fellow grassroots NGO. We look forward to doing more together in the future!
Stakeholders Consultation on Sexual Reproductive Health Services
The Vanuatu Family Health Association is planning to launch a campaign on issues in relevant to the Sexual Reproductive Health Services with the support of its partner FM107 and VBTC. Before that, a consultation meeting has been intentional to get ideas or opinions from different stakeholders on relevant issues such as access SRHS for people with disabilities access SRHS for SOGIE Community, Condoms & Contraception for decreasing rates of STIS, Family Planning for decreasing teen pregnancy, HIV testing to reduce/prevent AIDS & Misconceptions of Family Planning.
Sista has been invited to be part of this one-day consultation meeting.
This consultation meeting identifies the barriers that allows people not to access Sexual Reproductive Health Services such as religious barriers, Cultural barriers, educational barriers, lack of information in community level, ignorance, do not trust health professions, Stigma and no access to test for STIS.
This consultation meeting is purposely to contribute to that campaign by shining out the light to the mentioned issues and barriers and how to work together with the government and the people of Vanuatu to solve them.
Sista was also invited to do a presentation on better access of referral Maternity Care services to the young ni-van mothers and women for instance strengthening the postnatal care service, prenatal care service and antenatal care services within all the four structured health systems that are publicly operated. This was presented by the Program and Finance Manager who is currently the Acting Executive Director Irene Abbock.
Opening of Victim Support Center and Official Launchings of Public Prosecutors Legal Manuals
The Victim Support Center is a comfortable Center built for victims of crime to access any support when submitting their case to the judiciary system in Vanuatu, mainly with the Public Prosecutor. It is a milestone in Vanuatu and even in the Pacific to have a Victim Support Centre that is comfortable and safe for the Victims of crime.
This Victim Support Center has a Farea, playground, a small pretty sitting room, toilet, consulting room and a Victim Support Office. It is colourfully painted with the colour of the Victim Manual which is light green and yellow. The idea behind these bright colours is for psychological purposes. When the victims of gender-based violence, domestic violence or any other criminal offences enter this compound they will psychologically fit into this space. It has been stated that Vanuatu is one of the countries in the pacific and also around the globe that victims of sexually offences and violence are mostly under 15 years old. Therefore, the setup of the Victim Support Centre will be a great benefit in this situation. Victims can have their kids play on the playground to keep them busy while they concentrate on their cases with the assistance of the Victim Support Office or the consulting Officer which is the psychologist. Mental issues are highly recognised in this Victim Support Centre.
Sista was invited to attend the launching of this Victim Support Centre on 26th Tuesday July at the Public Prosecutors Office at Joint Court and also to witness the launching of the 2nd Edition of Victim Support Manual, the Mutual -Legal Assistance Manual, the Anti-Corruption Investigators Manual and the Anti-Corruption Database. It is also a milestone for the Vanuatu Judiciary to finally have these manuals and the database.
Coaching sessions for leadership and capacity building, FRIDA FUND and CARE
To support the leadership development and improve management skills of the ED and Program and Finance Manager, a commitment has been made to provide mentorship and support with Jinny Ruben supporting Irene and Steve Goudswaard supporting Yasmine in months to come. We would like to thank FRIDA FUND for Jinny’s support and to the amazing team at CARE for recognising the need to provide assistance to Yasmine, and enabling this opportunity with Steve.
Human Resources Consultancy, CARE
This month we secured a consultant, Carmen Meyer, with the support of Nelly Daniel, HR Manager at CARE, to assist with the development of Sista’s HR System. We are grateful to CARE for recognising the need to strengthen our HR system so we are able to effectively do our work. Some of the work that will be done in coming months includes reviewing and updating human resource documents, including policies and the HR manual, finalising organisational structure and salary scale,
In August Sista will be releasing an advertisement for the recruitment of a communications coordinator and we suggest you keep your eye out if you are keen to join our team!
Feature in IWDA website
The ED was interviewed by IWDA’s Communications Coordinator Annelise to talk about the beginnings of Sista and how Yasmine’s personal story became the catalyst to advocate for change.
Read more HERE.
Fraud Awareness Training
The fraud awareness training was led by Damira from International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) via zoom call, there were 15 organisations in attendance including Sista.
Regina found the training to be a refreshing, interesting experience and enjoyed the training and instruction.
One of the stand out points from the training are the three reasons that could lead someone to commit fraud (the fraud triangle: Incentive, Rationalisation & Opportunity)
To avoid that, every organisation must work to ensure that all their staff are familiar with the fraud policy, what the penalties are for anyone who commits fraud, how to make a report and that it’s everyone’s responsibility to report suspicions or allegations of fraud.
Thank you to IWDA for organising this training.
Participating in VBTC’s talkback show on Sexual Harassment
Our communications and advocacy officer hopped onto VBTC’s talkback show with George Worbor to talk about sexual harassment. Let’s keep this discussion going so we can stop normalising harassment at work and on the streets for a safer Vanuatu!
July Sista Finance Department Progress
The highlight for July, Sista Finance & Admin Department is the fact that Sista has managed to clear off all it’s core staff’s outstanding VNPF payment for September 2021 – June 2022 and at the same time systemise a standard monthly VNPF payment procedure that is then integrated to Sista’s draft Finance Manual.
The Program and Finance Manager also scheduled a 10 weeks timetable for Sista’s Finance Consultant Tasks & Responsibility; to redefine the Finance Manager Role, including supporting the recruitment process of FM position, and most importantly Strengthen the existing Sista Finance Systems and Procedures, ensuring they are well aligned with Sista’s HR and Admin Departments
Sista has locked in a business plan package with Vodafone as part of the Sista’s Organisational Strengthening Process, to ensure that Office WiFi is affordable and sustainable.
Thanks to Sista’s two key partners; We Rise Coalition and CARE International Vanuatu, Sista has the opportunity to have a Finance Consultant who is also temporarily filling in the FM position whilst the PFM is wearing the acting ED hat as Yasmine is currently in Israel and she is officially about to take her one month annual leave as of the first few weeks of August.