Vanuatu’s Independence month was bustling with positive energy, and it showed in the tremendous work Sista carried out in July 2023!

While we were busy juggling different projects, meeting different people, there were also wonderful events happening at the Melanesian Arts & Culture Festival (MACFEST)!

The Projects team powered through many more interviews with the women candidates selected for the second edition of Nation Builders, wrapped up the Strong Mama Program with a wholesome Women’s Circle and spent the first two weeks carrying out two sessions with CARE in the Young Leaders Workshop Program in Port Vila AND Tanna.

Sista was very fortunate to have been able to work with and support Melanesian Women Today (MWT) with two workshops this month! It was an honour for the team to work with the founder and Executive Director of MWT, Mere Tari Sovick, and we hope we get to work with her again in future.

We were also fortunate to have Rose Ephraim Lekal join the team in the month of July! She re-organised the Vanuatu Feminist Library, updated the library’s catalogue and supported the Sista team! Thank you Rose, we hope to work with you again in future.

Our online platforms were filled with posts celebrating World Youth Skills Day, Childrens Day, MACFEST activities and of course, Vanuatu’s 43rd Independence Celebration!

The Communications team supported VPride with a one-day event where they hosted a panel discussion in the morning and ended the evening with a soft launch of their new documentary. Watch their space as they will be releasing their documentary in the coming months!

Sista’s Executive Director (ED) spent the month planning and preparing for upcoming projects and partnerships as we started the New Financial Year.

After many different challenges, as well as accomplishments, the team finally wrapped up the Round Table Podcast! We were able to release 8 episodes this year, where we explored the different issues affecting young women and girls in Vanuatu today. Listen to them all HERE.

A very big THANK YOU to everyone who supported Sista, to the guests who made time to be part of the episodes and to We Rise for their patience and continuous support.

And keep your eye out as we are already planning for the next 10 episodes!



 Jennifer Kalpokas Doan – Sista Gat Style, Vanuatu Daily Post

In July we are featuring the incredible style icon, Jennifer Kalpokas Doan.
Hailing from the offshore island of Lelepa, Jennifer is a mother of three sons and the Executive Director at Balance of Power (BOP), a social norm change program that uses an innovative approach to support islands across the Pacific to achieve inclusive and effective leadership.

Balancing her roles as a wife, mother, community leader and high-profile career woman whose work calls to serve Vanuatu, this committed Christian lives her life appreciating every moment, knowing the best is yet to come, as she believes that with age, there is always a milestone to be achieved.

As we celebrate Vanuatu’s 43rd year of Independence, we also celebrate Jennifer, the daughter of one of Vanuatu’s founding fathers and second Prime Minister of Vanuatu – Mr Donald Kalpokas, and honor her as she follows in his footsteps with her passion to continue to build and develop the nation.

#SistaGatStyle #WomanLelepa #Mother #Beautiful #Passionate

Nation Builders II: Celebrating Women in the Private Sector – Balance of Power

 This month, the project team continued reaching out to the selected candidates for the second edition of Nation Builder Booklet. We scheduled interviews and photography sessions, transcriptions, editing photos, writing, and editing stories.

On 12th July 2023, the Project Coordinator met with the Project Team leader, Editor, and the Writers. This meeting was to check-in where the writers were with their stories and what their challenges and highlights were. It was also an opportunity to meet with the Editor, Rebecca Olul, in person, and get to know more about each other.


Strong Mama Program supported by FRIDA Fund – Women’s Circle with Tehya Skye

 To end this empowering program, Tehya Skye Vanuatu facilitated a Women’s Circle on Saturday 8th July, 2023.

The Women’s Circle was new to a few participants who joined later in the program, but it was a powerful and much needed activity. A lot of emotions were felt, and it created a safe space for the ladies to reflect on their personal journeys so far and how they can rely on each other for support should they need it.

Sista is happy to have been able to bring these Strong Mamas together to be part of this program. We hope the women leave feeling like they’ve built long lasting connections with each other.

Thank you to Port Vila City Council of Women for providing space for your members to be part of this! And a big shout out to FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund for their continuous support, and to Penpena Mouri for collaborating with Sista.


VPride Panel Discussion and Documentary Launch

On Friday 7th August, the team at Sista attended a panel discussion and the soft launch of a documentary created by VPride!

The panel discussion was based on the hate speech that was seen online last month during Pride Month, but it also focused on how we, as partnering organisations and key stakeholders, can support and provide an allyship to Vpride and overall, the SOGIE community.

Later, Vpride hosted a lovely evening where they gave us a sneak peek of their NEW documentary. It showcased their journey as an organisation and community. It was very moving and inspirational, we can’t wait for them to officially launch it on their platforms!


Young Women’s Leadership Program with CARE

 The Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP) began in May this year and on Thursday 6th July and Friday 7th July, Sista facilitated the Feminism workshop which was followed by the Social Media and Advocacy Workshop on the Friday.

The Feminism workshop focused on the definition of Feminism, clarifying what feminism is not, and what feminism looks like in Vanuatu.

The Social Media and Advocacy Workshop focused on understanding what social media is and the positive and negative impacts it can have on our lives, but most importantly, how to navigate the cyber world safely and what referrals there are in Vanuatu if you have been violated.


Later, on the 17th and 18th July 2023, Sista’s Project Coordinator and Communications & Advocacy Officer, facilitated the same workshops with the YWLP participants living in Lenakel, Tanna.


The Sista team also had a meeting with the Voes Blong Mi (VBM) team at CARE’s Office on the 21st of July 2023. During the meeting the VBM team did a presentation about the Participatory Action Research (PAR) material which was carried out in 2019 to 2022 in Tafea Province.

The Sista team are excited as we will be supporting the VBM team to convey the issues raised during the workshops into videos. Watch this space as the videos will be released in coming months!


YWLP Internship Placement with CARE

In early July, Sista shared on their platforms the opportunity for businesses and organisations to take on an intern as part of the YWLP this year.

The purpose of the internship is to increase participants learning and allow them to experience a work environment. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for the organisation and workplace to bring in fresh perspectives, discover new ideas from young women, enhance the supervisory skills of your staff and have an extra pair of hands to support their work.

Watch this space as the team updates you on the opportunities given to the young women!



Melanesian Sisterhood Creed Workshop with Melanesian Women Today and Haus Storian supported by We Rise

 On Friday 28 July 2023, Sista, through the We Rise Coalition, supported Melanesian Women Today (MWT) and Haus Storian in facilitating the first ever Melanesian Women’s Creed Writers Workshop!

20 women from different countries, with different interests and writing experiences were invited to a safe space to explore how contemporary Melanesian women express their life experiences through literature.

It was empowering to see all the women share their own stories and wisdom gained from navigating life in Melanesia.

Dr Mere Sovick from Melanesian Women Today, and the wonderful Anna Naupa, facilitated the workshop by using techniques of sharing, creating and weaving to collaboratively craft a Melanesian Sisterhood Creed that can be referenced to provide strength and inspiration to all our Melanesian sisters in everyday life.

 Read the Creed HERE!

Other News

 Sista’s Business Cards

These business cards have been on our wish list for a while now, so we are super excited that we finally have them in office. As we continue to learn and grow in our journey, we are especially proud of this little win as it shows we are stepping up and strengthening as an organisation.


Partnership meeting with World Vision

Sista meti with World Vision on July 5th to discuss a strategic partnership that will include skill and knowledge sharing, and begin with an advocacy campaign for the second phase of the Inclusive Climate Resilient WASH project. We are so excited to work with World Vision, a leading humanitatrian organisation in Vanuatu, that has local knowledge and expertise that we can’t wait to learn from!

Engagement with Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)

The ED was thrilled to sit with the VCCI team to discuss each other’s work on July 11th. We are grateful for Joanna and Esta to make time to visit our office and assist Sista to secure intern placements at host organisations through the Young Women’s Leadership Program. The placements commence in August and we look forward to hearing how the young women’s journies will go!

Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival (MACFEST) SYMPOSIUM

The ED attended the MACFEST symposium organised by National University of Vanuatu at the Convention Centre on July 26th. She had the pleasure of listening to different subjects, including a poem by West Papuan artist Esther Haluk, the powerhouse Solomon Islander Millicent Barty speaking about her gamechanging organisation Kastom Keepers, a sweet poem dedicated to her grandmother by Vanuatu’s very own Telstar Jimmy and an interesting panel called ‘Life Writing in Melanesia’ that featured Rebecca Olul, Anna Naupa, Sethy Regenvanu, Dame Carol Kidu and Therese Miku. Thank you to the organisers, it was an inspiring event filled with rich discussions.

MACFEST Spoken Word and Dinner

Sista’s Communications & Advocacy Coordinator and the We Rise Coalition’s Communications & Advocacy Coordinator, took part in a Haus Storian event where they each presented their own poems.

This event was then followed by a lovely dinner organised and paid for by Haus Storian! The dinner was an opportunity to bring together all the creative writers, especially those who traveled in from countries around the region to be part of Haus Storian and the Melanesian Arts & Culture Festival (MACFEST). It provided an opportunity to network, speak about each other’s work and draw inspiration from the different experiences and stories.

Tankio tumas (thank you very much) to Haus Storian for organising this dinner and the other literature events during MACFEST.


Women Deliver Conference, Kigali, Africa

The ED was supposed to attend the Women Deliver Conference in Kigali Africa, but unfortunately did not go. We are thrilled our partners from We Rise Coalition attended and you can see more information HERE.

Finance training

On July 12th, the ED and Finance team went through the previously named ‘Finance Manual’ which is now going to be called the ‘Operational Manual’ and diligently went through roles, responsibilities, finance calender, asset management, appendixes and templates with work continuing to progress to ensure we can create a manual appropriate to our small organisation. We are very grateful for our finance consultant, Marilou, for her patience and training, and never knew finance could be so satisfying, thank you.

Beginning of a New Financial Year

This month is the beginning of the new Financial Year with our Partner We Rise Coalition and the beginning of the fourth and last quarter with our other partner Care International.

The finance team started off the month by preparing and submitting the finance acquittal report for both our partners. In the last few months, we have had a lot of help from our Finance Consultant, Marilou Cajot, to support Sista’s finance team and strengthen Sista’s overall finance procedures. We are very happy to see that our donors are satisfied with the submitted reports.


Focus Group Discussion with Annie Douglas

On 21st July, the Sista team spent the morning in a focus group discussion with Ms Annie Bayly Douglas, a student from the University of Melbourne. She is doing her PHD research on work with young women to understand their ideas of empowerment and their visions for themselves and their communities. Thank you, Annie, for spending time with the Sista team! We look forward to reading the outcome of your research and hope to work with you again in future.