Port Vila, Vanuatu (February 3, 2021) – Partners of the Markets for Change (M4C) project in Vanuatu, including the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs Hon. Maau’Koro Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau joined Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner H.E Clemency Oliphant and other stakeholder representatives from the local governments, municipal councils, market vendor associations, and government departments for the M4C Phase II Design Validation Workshop on Monday.
The workshop is one of the final steps of a consultation process towards the finalization of programme documentation that would strategically guide the implementation of Phase II of the M4C project.
“The values and skills revealed at markets are multifaceted. The engagement of families in the market economy or informal sector is outstanding,” said Hon. Kalsakau. “Markets for Change has helped drive the productive sector and vendors in this economy successful beyond belief. The entrepreneurship skills and empowerment coming forth in this sector is amazing. Therefore, on behalf of the government of Republic Vanuatu I wish to commend the work of UN Women through Markets for Change in seeing this transformation in our community livelihoods.”
“It is because of the citizens and the asset that they possess, which is land, freely given and that the current Government through Prime Minister (Bob) Loughman, invests in the productive sector. It is fitting that we meet this week to validate the Phase II of Markets for Change Project in the Pacific.”
Markets for Change has been a Pacific flagship project on women’s economic empowerment.
Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner H.E Clemency Oliphant said Australia remained committed to working with the Government of Vanuatu and other stakeholders to support the economic empowerment of women in Vanuatu.
“Australia’s support to Markets for Change is part of Australia’s broader partnership with Vanuatu to empower women. When women participate in the economy it leads to better outcomes for their children, families and communities and contributes to Vanuatu’s national economy. The incredible mama’s markets also support Vanuatu’s food security. This work is an important part of Australia and Vanuatu’s enduring partnership,” Ms Oliphant said.
Sandra Bernklau, the Representative of the UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO) acknowledged the partnerships in the project and thanked the Government of Vanuatu for the successful implementation of Phase I and the Government of Australia for their longstanding partnership and support alongside the Governments of Canada and New Zealand.
Ms. Bernklau commented also on the relevance of the project following the impacts of COVID 19 stating that “marketplaces are viewed as not just a place for vending – but as a place that can generate much needed income, as places and spaces for innovation and business ideas, as places to get services and support to people – and as places where people can earn a living, and as places of resilience to disasters. Marketplaces are critical spaces now, more than ever before”.
Markets for Changes is implemented by UN Women, and is principally funded by the Government of Australia, with additional funding support from the Government of Canada and more recently, the Government of New Zealand. UNDP is a project partner. M4C is a multi-year, multi-country initiative that aims to have marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu that are safe, inclusive, and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.