March is always a busy month for Sista, as we are busy preparing for International Women’s Day on March 8th. We were very excited to showcase our ‘Women’s Wisdom’ postcards at the annual IWD exhibition held by Alliance Francaise and join the Department of Women’s Affairs #BreakTheBias campaign. We had also hoped to march through town in solidarity with other allies in the movement to progress gender equality and celebrate the winners of the Australian High Commission’s International Women Day Awards. Unfortunately we had to press the pause button in all these activities.
After two years of Vanuatu remaining Covid safe, Vanuatu experienced it’s first community transmission with Efate and offshore islands moving to an alert level 3 on March 7th. The Sista team commenced working from home immediately due to the lockdown and also took some time off for self care. It took some time to get used but we eventually found our flow! Thankfully we are an organization that uses arts, media and communications and were able to adapt some of our activities online. The new norm is here!
Sista Gat Style, Vanuatu Daily Post
In accordance with International Women’s month, we celebrated Aureline Konkon who is from the biggest island in Vanuatu (Santo) and is a young woman with big ambitions to progress Human Rights. A mother and an independent woman in her own right, Aureline works for the South Pacific Community as a PPAC (Pacific People Advancing Change) Officer. A very humble and sophisticated lady, she believes that the future depends on what she does today. She got her fashion sense from her mother and encourages others to dress however they feel best.
Aureline is also a big believer that EVERYONE DESERVES LOVE AND RESPECT!
Social Media & Online Safety Workshop, Young Women’s Leadership Program, CARE Vanuatu
On March 3rd and 4th Sista Facilitated a workshop on Social Media and Online Safety with CARE’s Young Women’s Leadership Program participants. The first half of the cohort attended the workshop on the 3rd and the other half on the 4th. These workshops were facilitated by our Executive Director, Communications, Advocacy & Events Officer and Project Officer.
These workshops are adapted from the work that was done with the ‘Girls Online Cyber Safety’ project. The GO! Cyber project supports Australia’s objectives to promote and protect human rights online and gender equality in cyberspace.
It is always a pleasure to facilitate the YWLP workshops as it aims to advance gender equality!
Women’s Wisdom Exhibition, We Rise Coalition
To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, we asked women to share their experiences so that younger women can get inspired to transform their wounds into wisdom and pain into power!
The submissions were printed into cards to be displayed at the International Women’s day exhibition was supposed to be held at Alliance Française de Port-Vila‘s annual International Women’s Day exhibition but unfortunately Vanuatu had its first Covid community transmission. We received 35 submissions and were happy to host an ‘online exhibition’ due to the situation Port Vila is in at the moment. We began posting the submissions on the 22nd of March and will end on the 2nd of April.
This project is made possible through the We Rise Coalition (LINK) and is supported by the Australian Government and implemented across the Pacific, including Sista in Vanuatu.
Planning and preparation
International Women’s Day: Andy Lynch and Hanson Mataskelekele Awards 2022
The Sista team supported the AHC in terms of taking photos, editing bios and creating posters for the nominees of IWD awards 2022. We brought in a photographer from CARE’s YWLP alumni Ann Ruth to capture the nominee’s photos. There were also some nominees who are living in the outer islands so requested they take their own photos and send them in. We also assisted in creating posters for the nominees in prep for the event that unfortunately did not happen.
Website Revamp, We Rise Coalition
Our Team Building & Communications Strategist Consultant and Intern Project Officer have been working on re-categorizing categories and writing up biographies of each of the categories on our website. We have also been working with our website guru Polina from Poinet.com to create a new format for the website, making it more simple and direct for our viewers and followers.
We cannot wait to launch this new website for all to see!
We have been planning and preparing for a writer’s workshop for young women writers. Our Team Building & Communication Strategist Consultant and Intern Project Officer have been working on outlining the workshop plan for the Women’s mentorship workshop that was supposed to be held on March 10, but sadly had to be postponed due to our covid outbreak situation in Port Vila. The writers were to be mentored by Rebecca Tobo Olul.
We hope to still do this later on when our circumstances allow us.
Feminism Workshop cancelled – Young Women’s Leadership Program Alumni, CARE
On the 9th of March, Sista was supposed to lead the YWLP Alumni on a workshop about Feminism. Sadly, this could not happen due to the community outbreak we had in Port Vila
Tanna workshops cancelled – Feminism: Organizing & Advocacy, Young Women’s Leadership Program, CARE
On March 14 our Finance & Program Manager along with our Comms, Advocacy & Events Officer were meant to fly out to Tanna, Lenakel to hold a series of workshops covering Feminism – Organizing and advocacy.
We hope this is still possible in the future and look forward to meeting these young women and sharing knowledge with them!
CSW Side Event: Women of the Pacific – Policies to Practical Realities
The side event explored and shared best practice responses from feminists, governments and INGO actors in responding to the immediate challenges of climate crisis while holding the line to protect human rights norms, climate justice and gender equality in Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Australia.
The session provided Pacific feminists from the We Rise Coalition to share effective policies that ensures the full protection of all women and girls in all their diversities, through practical engagement in local, national and regional commitments/spaces.
Sista’s Executive Director participated in the side event and you can read her full transcript HERE.
Read more about the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) HERE.
On the week of March 28th, Sista and CARE teams continued to engage with each other to put the finishing touches of the next phase of the Gender Equality Together program.
We Rise Coalition Meeting
On March 30th, the Executive Director and Program & Finance Manager attended the monthly We Rise Coalition meeting. It was not business as usual but a discussion to determine a clear governance and decision-making structure for the We Rise Coalition, and meet with the coordinators for the Pacific Feminist Forum. Keep your eye out for the Pacific Feminist Forum which will be held later this year!
This month of March, Sista Finance has been working super hard setting up its ANZ Banking with the support of ED and Sista’s current Board Members. Apart from the challenges faced in adapting to the new normal since Vanuatu’s first community outbreak this month, it has positively contributed to enforcing a more hybrid finance system for the organization.
Timesheet templates have been customized to individual staff and like other additional finance templates are accessible online. All Sista Staff are encouraged to have and set up their own office space and internet set-ups for both work from home and in office. Sista was also pleased to receive a Donation Grant of 500,000 VT from Stephanie Mahuk towards Preventing GBV (Gender Based Violence) during Covid.
Farewell to our Projects Team Leader
This month we bid farewell to our beloved Projects Team Leader Dominique Seagoe who has left us to pursue another adventure of life. Dominique joined the team in May 2021 and has contributed immensely to the work that we do. Passionate and hardworking, Dominique has left her mark at Sista and also in our hearts.
She has not only been a colleague but a friend to all in the office and will be greatly missed. It has been amazing working with you and we wish you peace and abundance in the next chapter of your life. Thank you Dominique for being part of the Sista journey!