Vanuatu Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (VANGO) is driving the localisation of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) across Vanuatu.

This is a noteworthy step towards improving community-led initiatives.

The mapping exercise undertaken by VANGO has shown commendable progress, with new registered members from the provinces of TAFEA, MALAMPA, PENAMA, SANMA, SHEFA and TORBA.

The increase in membership, with over 200 new CSOs registered across all six provinces, reflects an increasing interest in community engagement and social entrepreneurship.

The registered CSOs diverse categories, encompassing Faith-Based Organisations, Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), National NGOs, International NGOs and small to medium-sized social community enterprises.

The newly registered CSOs’ key areas of focus identified include Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), Health, Education, Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods, Community Agro-business, Climate Change and Adaptation, Youth programs and Community Church and community recreational activities.

During the mapping exercise, CSOs highlighted critical challenges, including a lack of governance management, limited access to grants support, and insufficient capital resources for initiative implementation.

Ms Mary Jack of the Mitingar Women’s Association, a CBO in Tanna, remarked, “We possess the necessary skills and local knowledge, yet lack essential resources, governance structures, and institutional support to actualise our community projects.

“We envision a partnership with local provincial authorities and donors to develop our community-based initiatives.”

Echoing this sentiment, Mr. William Nasak, Chairman of VANGO, emphasised the important role of CSOs in spearheading transformative change within communities.

“We want CSOs leading community projects to foster positive change,” stated Mr. Nasak, highlighting VANGO’s commitment to fostering collaboration with the government at national, provincial, and grassroots levels.

VANGO will launch its comprehensive map in early May 2024, showcasing the vital setting of CSOs across Vanuatu.

The Association extends its gratitude to the Government of Vanuatu, particularly the Department of Strategic Planning, Policy and Aid Coordination (DSPPAC), for their invaluable partnership and financial support towards this mapping exercise.