March brought a whole load of challenges to the team at Sista but as usual, our #GelPawa and determination pulled us through!
We began this month with a visit from twin Tropical Cyclones Judy & Kevin hitting Vanuatu within the span of 3 days!! Thankfully there was no damage done to the Sista office however, there was no electricity – for 3 weeks – so the team had to work from home, have meetings in café’s and try and keep the momentum going with all our projects.
We finally gained back power and opened our office on 22nd March 2023!
We honoured #ChiefsDay by shining light on Chief Motoralivoa Hilda, one of the few female paramount Chiefs in Vanuatu, and the tremendous work she has done for the country – she was the first female MP ever elected in Parliament, she is one of Vanuatu’s foremothers and to this day is an advocate of diverse issues including women’s rights.
We also celebrated International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 March 2023! To celebrate, we shared the Balance of Power CALL OUT for “Nation Builders II: Celebrating Women in the Private Sector” and an awesome video that Jane Spitz created for us to showcase our journey here at Sista. Check out our Facebook and Instagram to watch the video!
The We Rise Coalition had the amazing opportunity to hold a parallel event organised by Pacific feminists on Digital Transformation in the Pacific where they discussed the opportunities and challenges for feminist organisations.
The event was an in-person one in New York but unfortunately, our Executive Director could not join the in-person session due to Tropical Cyclones Judy & Kevin. Another big thanks to our sisTARS for representing the Pacific on our behalf! You can watch the live stream of the panel discussion HERE
We gave a shout out to Vanuatu Water as they have generously provided water for us! – THANK YOU Vanuatu Water, we sincerely appreciate your support to the team!
Leikita Kalorib – Sista Gat Style, Vanuatu Daily Post
For our Sista Gat Style March edition, we are celebrating the beautiful Leikita Kalorib!
A mother, activist and leader who lives her life as an instrument to God – Leikita has committed her life to contributing to her community and country. She believes that being able to facilitate growth and development for young women and girls should include working with young men and boys to create a holistic and positive impact to Vanuatu’s society. She lives by this quote “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
Balance of Power – Nation Builders II: Celebrating Women in the Private Sector
The Balance of Power project was still prepared throughout March.
On the month of March, Sista Comms team published the nomination call out via social media and newspaper on the 8th and 9th of March 2023 and hang the call out posters in public spaces and offices. On the 20th of march, the project team meets with the two potential photographers, Islander Photography and JZ Photography who will take photos for the selected candidates and with the team Leader Winona Kalpukai. We also have a meeting with the BOP team on the 20th of March 2023 to discuss the Project timeline, checking up on the number of nominations and posters that were hung up in offices and public spaces including extending the due dates of nomination to the 27th of March, but nomination can be still accepted until the 31st of March. The project team re-sent emails to update stakeholders that the nomination due date has been extended. The reason for this is that the number of nominations submitted during that time was less since TC Judy and Kevin had just visited the country and people focused more on the recovery process of the affected areas. With that, the timeline of each project activity must extend to be carried out successfully to serve the Objective. Also, during the month of March, the Project team formulated the questionnaires and consent form for use during interviews.
The Round Table Podcast – We Rise Coalition and PACMAS
The team encountered a few challenges this month and so struggled to produce several episodes as planned. Fortunately, Georgilla Worwor – who has always supported the team at Sista – agreed to step in and advise the team where necessary and overall support the host.
On the 24th of March the team recorded an episode with Ruthy Alick where they had a conversation about ‘Women in Non-Traditional Roles’. The discussion was based on celebrating and recognizing women who are working in male dominated spaces and really capturing their experiences as determined women who are pursuing their careers in a workplace that is expected to be a man’s job.
The next episode was recorded on the 29th of March with our siSTAR Georgilla Worwor! On this episode they spoke about ‘Young women in leadership’ by opening the discussion on encouraging young women to be leaders in their own journeys and acknowledging the women who came before us that were and still are seen today as strong, empowering leaders.
Make sure to tune in to all our upcoming episodes on The Round Table Podcast!
Women In Leadership Video – Stakeholder meetings
Sista is collaborating with Human Capacity Development International to produce a video which will focus on Vanuatu women, sharing their experiences in Vanuatu politics and guiding others along the way. We met and spoke with several stakeholders this month to get the ball rolling as the team plans to launch this video on 15 May which is National Women’s Day! This initiative is supported by the We Rise Coalition.
Sista has supported GATES Minds financially to implement the Rising Voices and the Sista comms team assist with booklet design and printing. This Project worked closely with a group of adolescent girls to mentor and produce their own spoken word pieces that were then published as a zine. These pieces were produced to provide insight into contemporary issues experienced by young women, through the female lens. The zine was launched on the 16th of March 2023 with the contributors as well as a variety of invited representatives who are part of the collective movement so they can be used as educational resources to prompt meaningful discussions.
Correspondingly, Sista has been preparing, especially creating the workplan for this year’s Strong Mama program that will be implemented in the coming months. This is more about finding service providers and stakeholders who will be working in this year’s Strong Mama Program.
After TC Kevin and Judy, all project activities with Care have been on hold and the timeline of each has also been extended, seeing that the Gender Equality Together (GET) team was part of the assessment team to deploy to the affected areas. Two weeks after the TC Kevin and Judy deployment, GET and the Sista team met up again to touch base with each other and understand how the activities can be extended, especially the Young Women’s Leadership Program for this year.
The Sista team also met up with Jemina Kuao from the Vois Blo Mi (VBM) project which is rolled out on Tanna. The meeting’s purpose was to discuss how Sista can help with the Participatory Action Research (PAR) materials in developing them up in advocacy materials. The way forward was for VBM to send Sista the PAR materials, so that the Sista comms team can start looking at them and brainstorming on what these materials will look like this year.
Sista Team Growth
This month, the Finance team welcomed Sista’s new Finance and Admin officer, Ms Anthea Kay! And congratulations to Ms Regina Ova for levelling up as she steps into her new role as the Finance & HR Manager role. The team at Sista is looking forward to learning and growing with both these ladies this year.
Finance Consultant Support
The Finance & HR Manager had her first full day training session with Marilou this month and is looking forward to having more sessions throughout the year until August 2023. A big thank you again to Marilou for the amazing work she is doing supporting the Finance team setting up and strengthening Sista’s overall Finance system and procedures.
Sista Board Meeting, supported by We Rise Coalition
On the 28th of this month, the Executive Director (ED) and Finance & HR Manager went to Mangoes Resort and held a meeting to mobilize members for the board. The ED and a member of the board presented what project Sista is planning to implement this year and review strategic plan and agree on which direction to move in and how they can support the Sista team implement these projects. Unfortunately, not all the members could attend, and Sista is continuing to mobilize a full board by end of May.
We Rise Coalition meeting
The ED had the joy connecting back with heads of organisations within the We Rise Coalition after being disconnected for almost three weeks due to the cyclone. The meetings are held monthly to discuss the work that is being conducted, particularly in lead up to the Pacific Feminist Forum in May.
Coaching with Steve Goudswaard, supported by CARE Vanuatu
The ED is continuing her monthly sessions with coach Steve, who is providing invaluable guidance to the ED on strengthening Sista as an organisation and organisational structure. This opportunity is provided through CARE’s partnership with Sista