In March, SISTA embraced a whirlwind of activities!

We celebrated International Women’s Day by spotlighting the versatile Anolyn Lulu, while also initiating solar product distribution to Strong Mama program alumni and preparing for the Young Women’s Leadership Program.  

We carried out strategic support sessions empowered emerging organizations like Karumine Association, reflecting our dedication to catalyzing positive change. The Project team continued their follow-ups on the Menstrual Cup surveys and engaged students at Port Vila International School and Central School, in Port Vila, to highlight our commitment to gender equality awareness.  

Advancing the Vois Blong Mi Project with CARE and participating in inclusive WASH training sessions with World Vision underscored our efforts in amplifying rural voices and promoting accessibility for all.  

Additionally, our participation in various events, from International Women’s Day Awards here in Vanuatu to representing Vanuatu CSO’s at the CSW68 in New York – we showcased our approach toward gender equality and community empowerment. 

17 young women in the Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP) participated in their first workshop block this month, which focused on fundamental leadership.  The young women in Port Vila learnt about the key traits necessary to become good and effective leaders, and the importance of, and use of a range of communication skills. For example, how to develop a compelling argument for motivation and persuasion. They also learnt about human rights, gender roles and types of powers.

Projects

Sista Gat Style 

This month we celebrate International Women’s Day and we are honored to shine the light on Vanuatu’s very own #ZumbaQueen, and Table Tennis Pro, Anolyn Lulu! 

Originally from the islands of Banks and Maewo, Anolyn’s radiant smile and energetic personality shines through when you meet her. 

 Anolyn is a multi-talented woman! She is a Table Tennis athlete and has represented Vanuatu in numerous sporting events oversees, a Zumba instructor, a tailor – she made all her own outfits for #SistaGatStyle, and a mother! She is one of the many examples, that prove how much a woman can achieve when there is a good life-work balance. 

 She lives by her own personal quote, “Always have faith and never give up!” 

 #SistaGatStyle #WomanBanks #WomanMaewo #VanuatuTableTennisPro #ZumbaQueen #Mother #Tailor #Radiant #Beautiful #InternationalWomensDay 

 

 

 Global Giving Fund

Early this month, the project team started distributing Solar products and Nutrition booklet that was developed last year to our Strong Mama program alumni’s.  

 This project was supported by Global Giving and Island Reach and the team planned to distribute one solar product to each of the 33 single mothers – 29 of which have already received their product! 

 The mamas who received their solar products were so happy and appreciate Sista for thinking about them.  

 

Young Women’s Leadership Program Preparation – CARE

As part of our partnership with CARE, this month we did a lot of prep work for the activities leading up to the Young Women’s Leadership program (YWLP).  

Sista’s Project Coordinator has been liaising back and forth with the Gender Equality Together (GET) team about the YWLP workshops, mentorship, and internships that Sista is leading on. This year will be our first time to financially lead with the YWLP internship and mentorship, so the Project Coordinator spent a lot of time this month on planning, creating and costing workplans.  

 

Supporting Yuth Nambawan Rispek – DWA / Karumine

This year, Sista is planning to support emerging organizations to strengthen themselves. We trialed this with Karumine, an association based in Southeast Tanna.  

 Karumine Association was introduced to Sista by the Department of Women’s Affairs (DWA) on a project called “Yuth Nambawan Rispek”. This project was a collaboration between DWA and SAVE THE CHILDREN. The support we offered was more on how to develop a workplan and what to consider when running a workshop which will help them plan for their upcoming workshops with DWA and SAVE THE CHILDREN.   

 On 12th and 21st March 2024, the Project Coordinator ran these support sessions with Wilfred Kahu, a representative from Karumine Association. In the first session they spent 3 hours unpacking the importance of planning, what a workplan is and what to consider when doing a workplan. In the last session they created a workplan together using the ideas discussed in the previous session. 

 It is our joy and pleasure to support smaller organizations to strengthen themselves, so they can contribute to the change we want to see in Vanuatu. 

 

Menstrual Cup Survey – Ambassade de France

The Project team continued doing follow ups and receiving survey questions from women and girls who have been given menstrual cups by Sista at the end of last year and early this year. We have received 28 surveys already and have yet to receive 29. We hope to receive them in the first week of April. 

 

Internationals Women’s Day supported by We Rise Coalition

As everyone is celebrating International Women’s Day, Team Sista went to two schools in Port Vila to do a presentation highlighting the work that Sista does, shared projects, challenges women face, and how men, as male advocates, need to stand up in the fight to end violence against women and girls, among many other things.  

 It was a full-day activity where, in the morning, the presentation was held with grade 9 students at Port Vila International School (PVIS), and in the afternoon, the same presentation was also held with grade 12 students at Central School.  

 The Sista team also took with them 12 merchandise gift packs (6 packs for each school) to give out to students who interacted in discussions and answered questions. 

 

 

 

Vois Blong Mi Video Project – CARE 

This month the Comms & Advocacy Officer is moving forward with the Vois Blong Mi (VBM) Project with our partners at CARE.  

The team at CARE travelled down to the outer islands in TAFEA province, and collected data on issues that young girls are facing in rural areas. Resulting from this Participatory Action Research as a part of VBM, Sista is partnering with CARE to support them in creating 3 short films that will showcase the findings from this research. 

At the beginning of March, the Communication & Advocacy Officer finally sent the 3 scripts for the 3 films to the VBM Team Leader for final review and any additional feedback. 

Once everything was finalized the team at Sista got straight into planning and organizing! 

For Pre-production the Comms & Advocacy Officer worked with Sista’s Project Coordinator to develop a detailed workplan to guide the team through pre-production, production and pos-production. 

Later in the month, the youth actors from Wan Smol Bag were finally identified and several meetings took place with them to confirm filming dates, note down contacts, go through scripts, speak about wardrobe and overall build a relationship with them to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

While these meetings were taking place, the Comms & Advocacy Officer also spent a lot of time with Markson from MATAKAMBU – the videographer and producer for these 3 short films. They spent time confirming all the relevant little details needed for the production of the 3 films especially the timeline for pre-production, production and post-production.

We are truly excited to be working with MATAKAMBU and the very talented youth actors from Wan Smol Bag to carry out and capture the key messages expressed by the young women from the VBM project. 

 

WASH Inclusive Training – World Vision Vanuatu 

On 4th March 2024, Sista’s Executive Director, Acting Program Manager, Project Officer and Comms & Advocacy Coordinator attended a short training with the Water And Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) project at World Vision Vanuatu. 

Alison Coleman led the training as it was an opportunity for the team at Sista to get better understanding of the work that the WASH project does in various communities in TORBA, Santo and Efate. She went through the challenges of the project, a few case studies and actual responses from community members BEFORE and AFTER attending the workshops with them. 

Alison also unpacked a program that comes under the WASH project, called EPIC LIFE. This program focuses on empowering people with information about caring for people with disabilities using locally made inclusive functional equipment, like incontinence underwear, wash mitts and waterproof wheelchair seat covers. 

The team at Sista is thankful for this opportunity to learn about some of the barriers people with disabilities face when it comes to WASH. We are eager to learn more and look forward to strengthening our partnership with World Vision this year. 

Other News

International Women’s Day Awards 

On the 8th of March 2024, Sista got invited to the International Women’s Day Awards Ceremony. Sista’s Finance and HR Manager attended the event on behalf of Sista. During the ceremony, three awards were presented: 

  1. The Hanson Mataskelekele Award for Women in Leadership is presented to Lyne Rose Tule for her outstanding work promoting women’s voices, advancing women’s rights and ensuring critical counselling services reach the most vulnerable at the community level. 
  2. The Andy Lynch Award for Excellence in the Community Sector is presented to Helen Naupafor her tireless efforts in advocating for the rights of vulnerable members of the community and working closely with custom and culture to revive ancient handicraft practises and ensuring social inclusion for all. 
  3. The Mildred Sope Award for Excellence in Creative Storytelling is presented to Anna Naupa for using her creativity to capture observations about the world, creating spaces for the writing community, being a positive role model for others and inspiring others to engage in the creative space. 

Congratulations again to these three incredible women who have demonstrated exceptional commitment, perseverance and community spirit in pursuit of a more inclusive society for all. You are a true role model for the future generations. 

Commission on the Status of Women 68 (CSW68) 

The Executive Director of Sista was awarded a scholarship from UN Women Fiji Multi Country office to attend the Commission on the Status of Women 68 in New York from March 11 – 22. The key objective for this scholarship is to promote the voices of gender equality advocates at the CSW 68.  

The priority theme of the session will be Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective. There will also be a review of agreed conclusions of the sixty third session, on Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. 

The ED participated in a panel discussion with We Rise Coalition called ‘Pacific Feminist Perspectives –Sharing Poverty Eradication Strategies’.  The session focused on the lessons learned from poverty alleviation and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective. She attended several meetings including a We Rise Coalition meeting with UN Asia Pacific Director Alia El-Yassir and individually with Dennis Mello from Friends of Vanuatu (Peace Corps) and Victoria Khala for the We Rise 3 Evaluation. She met with  Malcolm Dalesa, climate attache at the Vanuatu Mission as well.  

See what else our ED got up to HERE!

MIPU Women’s network event for International Women’s Day hosted by the Public Works Department  

The Public Works Department through the MIPU Women’s network hosted an event for International Women’s Day (IWD) on the 7th of March 2024. This event intended to bring together youths through the networks of Youth Challenge Vanuatu so that they could engage in activities that featured Women working in male-dominated fields. 

There were four activities during this event. A selfie booth where the youth were encouraged to take pictures with a few key IWD messages such as #Inspireinclusion, #countherin and #IWD2024, and such. The second activity was a draft Policy Discussion which was set up for the youth to assist MIPU in understanding how it can better support young people in the key areas of employment, training, and cadetship opportunities, community involvement, and creating accessible infrastructure. These ideas will then be used to develop a MIPU youth action plan. Thirdly, a panel discussion was hosted with 4 panelists who work in male-dominated fields to talk about what they do and how other women are able to do it and lastly, the booth sessions where several women working in male-dominated areas were placed in booths and the youth went around from booth to booth asking the women questions about their work and careers.  

The event was attended by over 200 youth. These young people were split into groups of 4 and rotated from activity to activity in 25-minute intervals. The We Rise Coalition Communications and Advocacy Coordinator participated in this event on behalf of Sista as the emcee.  

She opened the event with introductions of the day, introducing the MIPU Acting Director and The Australian Deputy High Commissioner before walking the attendees through how the activities would work. After this, she moderated the panel discussion activity. Once the activities were done, she closed the event with an engaging activity done by the Chairlady of the MIPU Women’s Network and Youth Challenge Vanuatu before directing the photo set up for the large group to end the activities before lunch.    

Sista is proud to be able to have supported the MIPU Womens network in carrying out this activity reaching many youths.  

Co-Designed Candidate Training Curriculum Consultations 

The Vanuatu Electoral office (VEO), in partnership with UNDP/VEEP, conducted a workshop to co-create modules for a proposed 5-day Candidate Training program aimed at increasing female candidates’ participation and engagement in political party activities. The modules are designed to be inclusive, targeting both men and women, individuals with disabilities, and youths across political frameworks. 

Sista, a key participant, joined 38 representatives from diverse organizations and female leaders in municipal and parliamentary levels. A panel discussion featuring MP Gloria Julia King, Councilor Jenny Regenvanu, Director Rothina Ilo Noka, and Councilor Patricia Rose Packete highlighted essential insights for potential candidates. 

MP King stressed community collaboration in her election victory, while Councilor Regenvanu emphasized proactive engagement in municipal governance for change. Councilor Packete shared her journey from government work to community leadership, and Director Ilo Noka emphasized empowering women in political participation and the need for having a vision of change before entering the elections as a candidate.  

The workshop concluded with discussions on essential preparations for election candidacy, including input from attendees on program delivery partnerships. The workshop’s outcomes include module recommendations for the “Step Up” Candidate Training program, enriched by the panelists’ practical experiences. 

 

New additions to the Finance and Admin team 

At the beginning of March, Sista published an expression of interest for a Logistics and Procurement Officer. This role is fully supported by CARE International. The aim is to find another person to help support the finance team with Sista’s daily operations. Her main responsibility will be to manage all procurements and ensure that they are completed in a timely, effective, and efficient manner, in compliance with all Sista and donor policies and procedures. We are excited to have this new addition to the team.