Miss Vanuatu 2017 Beauty Pageant Recommences

The President of Miss Vanuatu and Miss Port Vila Committees, Mrs Michelle Bourie, has confirmed that the event will take place at the end of the year and the exact date will be announced after everything is finalized.

“We have our major sponsors for this year’s beauty pageant and we have five months to do campaign to promote this event- it is the biggest in Vanuatu, long enough to be beneficiary for our sponsors,” she said.

“We have a committee in place that includes all relevant government representatives especially in the department of Tourism and Vanuatu Tourism Office whom we will work together to organize the Miss Vanuatu event and we have a few months to work hard to make sure this works out.”

Mrs Bourie is encouraging young females around the country who are interested to participate in the competition to give in their names and be available to take part in activities leading up to main part of the beauty pageant that will take place in December.

“Young girls or women between 18 and 25 years of age are encouraged to take part and we do have major sponsors like Digicel so this is going to be one exciting event for everyone to participate to find who is our next Miss Vanuatu 2017,” she said.


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  • Call for action to prevent suicide

    This year’s World Suicide Prevention Day theme ‘Creating hope through action’ is a reminder that suicide prevention is a public health priority and urgent action is required to make sure mortality rates are reduced. This statement was made by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on September every year. The MOH conducted a one-week awareness on Tanna to mark this year’s event. The awareness team with key stakeholders visited 10 communities, reaching over 400 students on Tanna. “The theme is a call for action to everyone, what we can do to reduce the suicide mortality rate in Vanuatu because it has now become a public health problem,” the MOH stated. “The suicide prevention awareness aimed to draw everyone’s attention to the issues of and issues related to suicide and what can be done in communities, schools, churches, government and non-government agencies, reduce stigma about mental health which is an important risk factor because people don’t want to seek help and raising awareness on this one single key message that ‘Suicide is Preventable.’” Vanuatu recently recorded an increase in the number of deaths related to self- harm and suicide over the past years, the MOH conveyed. “According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2020, fifty-four (54) suicide deaths were recorded in Vanuatu,” the Ministry disclosed. “This means out of all deaths, 2.70% is caused by self-harm and suicide. The age-adjusted death rate is 20.97 per 100,000 of population ranks Vanuatu 3 in Pacific and 13 in the world. “Suicide is a major public health problem with far-reaching social, emotional and economic consequences. It is estimated that there are currently more than 700 000 suicides per year worldwide, and we know that each suicide profoundly affects many more people.” “Creating Hope through Action” is the triennial theme for the World Suicide Prevention Day from 2021-2023. “This theme serves as a powerful call to action and reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and that through our actions we can encourage hope and strengthen prevention,” the MOH stated. “By creating hope through action, we can signal to people experiencing suicidal thoughts that there is hope and that we care and want to support them. “It also suggests that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.” The MOH assured that the WHO will continue to work with partners to support countries to take concrete measures. The Vanuatu-Australian Health Partnership is also acknowledged for its financial support. _________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • 1,000+ TORBA Parents trained to support children’s education

    Thousands of young children in TORBA Province will receive dedicated care, nurturing, and education as a result of 85 Parent Support Program (PSP) workshops conducted this year. More than 1,000 mothers and fathers in TORBA had participated in free training sessions aimed at improving their children’s education. The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) delivered the training with the support of the Australian Government funded Vanuatu Education Support Program (VESP). TORBA Province has the second lowest literacy rate for women and men over the age of 15. Parents in TORBA want to help their children improve their skills in talking, listening, reading and writing. In August 2023, MoET representatives met with early childhood care and education offices, PSP taskforce members, teachers and parents from all the islands in TORBA to identify successes and challenges of the PSP trainings in early childhood education. The 22 participants, including trainers, chiefs, church representatives, early childhood care and education teachers, principals, primary school teachers and parents, agreed that the PSP provides many benefits to the community by promoting greater parental involvement, higher school attendance and healthier diets for children. The MoET has been raising awareness of the importance of early learning since 2020. It established the PSP because it recognises that early childhood education sets the foundation for learning throughout a child’s life. The PSP is aligned with the Vanuatu Education and Training Sector Strategy (VETSS) for 2021-2030 which recognises that education and training are vital to guaranteeing a better and innovative future. VETTS is based on the principle that protecting the country’s culture and enhancing ni-Vanuatu’s well-being will ensure the nation reaches its full potential. Inclusive education, governance, partnerships and communications are among VETSS’ key priorities. The PSP today focuses on five key development areas for babies and young children’s development. They include good health, good food, showing care through actions, safety and security, and encouraging learning opportunities. The PSP delivers training and awareness sessions across the country to share good practices and improve the knowledge of parents and communities. According to Mrs. Jennifer James, VESP Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Officer, the response from parents following the awareness program has been positive, with many requesting more sessions. “I am very moved by the feedback from parents and community members. The Parent Support Program helps them to identify the areas where they can do better and how they can do it using what they already have. We keep receiving requests to run more and more awareness sessions with parents and communities,” Mrs. James said, noting that six of the 11 modules still need to be delivered. According to parents, the sessions are “eye-opening” and enhance their understanding of the role of early learning in a child’s development. “The sessions are very interesting. We did not realise as parents the importance of early learning for our children’s future. There are many ways we can encourage children’s learning. For example, we can use available resources like coconuts, leaves and stones to teach counting,” said a chief in TORBA. The MoET and schools across Vanuatu are committed to delivering the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. _________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • In Unity Our Advocacy Becomes a Chorus The women working to end violence in Vanuatu

    What comes to mind when you think of the Pacific? The rhetoric usually centres on happiness and holidays, cocktails by the beach and the cordial welcome received from locals wherever one may travel. The shout of Bula in Fiji, a Welkam in Vanuatu, or a Malo e lelei in Tonga. While that story does indeed ring true for many, there is another story that needs to be told: the work of an incredible cohort across the region working to combat, and end, all forms of violence against women. The Pacific region has some of the highest rates of violence against women in the world, with up to 68 percent of women having reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by a partner in their lifetime. This figure is more than twice the global average. Pacific Women Lead’s 2021 National Survey on Women’s Lives and Family Relationships evidenced amongst those women who have ever had an intimate sexual relationship with a partner in Vanuatu: 60 percent had experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime 68 percent had experienced emotional violence 28 percent were subjected to several forms of control by their partner 69 percent experienced at least one form of coercive control, and most of these were continuing to live lives involving physical and sexual violence Women are constantly at risk of violence and threats, regardless of where they are. Women are not safe on the streets, in their homes, at work, in places of study, places of worship, or places of recreation. Any small change is a step in the right direction The global Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls is a United Nations joint initiative supported by the European Union and other partners. The Spotlight Initiative in the Pacific focuses its work on four key pillars: Policy and legislation Institutions Prevention Data A comprehensive approach is being implemented within the Pacific nations through the targeting of multiple settings for change such as the education sector, government, churches, the justice sector, and civil society organisations (CSOs), and by working across a variety of levels of the socio-ecological model. UNDP’s support to Vanuatu via the Spotlight Initiative sees it working with small, grassroots organisations – making an impact from the ground up. Through the establishment of a grantee program, UNDP Pacific has undertaken a second phase and partnered with six grassroots organisations on empowering women in rural communities, initiating a range of activities that, in many cases, support service provision, innovative solutions and engagement activities that aim to provide information and basic services to those who otherwise lack access. These grants go a long way and have made significant impact thus far, with the program also identifying those grassroots organisations who have the capacity to engage communities nationwide in the provision of justice, health, and economic support services to survivors of intimate partner violence. However, in Vanuatu, it is a far greater challenge to change this deeply ingrained behaviour; it is the kind of change that requires more than the delivery of an awareness session in a small community, or within the nakamal, should deep, long-lasting behavioural change occur. The way we now frame the topic has completely changed   And as a result, the narrative is now changing. For sustainable, long-term progress on ending violence against women, men, women, and children; young, old and those in between, all must unite in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV). “The way we now frame the topic has completely changed, it’s no longer just a women’s problem. While the vast majority of perpetrators are men, if we want to make change, we need to realise that this can only be done via a whole-of-community approach,” said Dr. Astrid Kersten, Executive Director of Human Capacity Development International (HCDI). HCDI take a whole-of-community approach to their work, collaborating with village chiefs all the way through to younger members of the community. This approach sees a broad cross-section of voices and opinions accounted for, ensuring that through community buy-in the behaviour change work they undertake is sustainable in the long-term. As one of the recipient organisations (alongside their partner, Sista) to receive a grant via the Spotlight Initiative, HCDI and Sista focused on two key activities: The development of community resources to assist in community awareness development and collective action, related to reducing GBV; and To build on and promote the Stanap Strong website as a resource to support victims, families of victims, and the general population. HCDI and Sista are making inroads and inspiring change, no doubt, but Astrid still has moments of self-doubt as to just how much progress they are making on ending violence against women. “I do keep thinking, ‘is this really making a difference?’ It is still hard going, training and capacity building are still key right across Vanuatu, and we need continued support to help us beyond the Spotlight Initiative. “These grants may be small but with our work it doesn’t take a whole lot of money to ensure that we can have significant impact,” she said. When you lift up women you lift the entire community   When the grassroots organisation Sista was established in 2016, its main purpose was to create a space for Ni-Vanuatu women to connect, share and uplift each other. Sista began its journey as an online magazine and over the past eight years has evolved into a women’s rights organisation driven by feminist values. Josephine Tarianga serves as Sista’s Resource Coordinator, a powerhouse of a young woman. Having worked as a journalist, at just 22 she is not only working with Sista, and Vanuatu’s We Rise Coalition, she is also studying a double degree of Law and Commerce with the University of the South Pacific. Blending her passions of media and communications with furthering women’s rights, Josephine says that just because you’re a feminist, it doesn’t equate to you not being committed to your community. “Things are still very male dominated here, but at the same time change is in the air. Women are the focal read more…

  • VANGO Chairman Calls for NGO, CSO Registration Ahead of Mapping Exercise

    Mr. William Nasak, the chairman of the Vanuatu Association of Non-Government Organisations (VANGO), is calling on all Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) established in the provinces to register with VANGO before the mapping exercise visits begin. The mapping exercise will visit all six provinces with tentative dates across September and October, hosting workshops for NGO/CSOs to ensure there is better coordination between organisations and with government, increase NGO/CSOs visibility and align NGO/CSO programs and interventions to the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP). “The ultimate goal of the project, as the next step, is to develop a standardised reporting template for NGO/CSOs to ensure that their achievements and interventions in Vanuatu are recognised in the NSDP progress reporting,” Ms Abraham, Secretary General (SG) of VANGO, shared. “After the mapping VANGO will collaborate with the NGO desk office and the Department of Strategic Planning, Policy and Aid Coordination (DSSPAC) to bring this reporting template to life so NGO/CSOs can be acknowledged for their work.” As part of the mapping exercise, registered organisations will have the opportunity to complete Institutional Assessment Mapping (IAM). The IAM supports organisations to increase their profile as well as assess and map out their resources and organisational capacity, contributing to development effectiveness. This will be beneficial for wide range of stakeholders including the NGO/CSOs, international agencies and policy makers. Preparations for the provincial mapping visits are well underway with a pre-workshop to train enumerators (selected from current VANGO members) hosted on the 6th of September. To ensure the mapping is successful and reflects the wide range of NGO/CSOs across all provinces of Vanuatu, all community organisations should reach out to VANGO now to become members. VANGO acknowledges the DSSPAC Unit for the funding support to implement this exercise. It also extended its acknowledgement to the Government of Australia through the Oxfam Australia and Save the Children for the operational funding of VANGO. _________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • Quai to Launch New EP Album and Raise Funds for Children’s Ward

    Vanuatu’s music icon, Vanessa Quai, is gearing up for a special concert on the 5th of October. The primary objective of this event is to unveil her highly anticipated Extended Play (EP) Album, while also mobilising resources to support the Children’s Ward. Miss Quai revealed that her inspiration for this charitable endeavour stemmed from a conversation with a doctor from the Children’s Ward. The doctor had shared the pressing need for a new heart-scanning machine dedicated to paediatric patients, as the current one is outdated and unreliable. “Upon learning of this critical need, I felt compelled to leverage my platform to raise funds and contribute to the Children’s Ward,” explained Quai. She announced the release of six exceptional songs, marked by the lyrical inspiration she has poured into them. These tracks are the result of collaborations with talented producers and featured artists. “After a hiatus of five years since my last album, ‘Light it up,’ I am excited to release new songs this year in the form of an EP album,” she said. The concert, slated for the Warwick Le Lagon, promises to be a delightful evening reminiscent of a buffet night. Attendees can savor a sumptuous buffet dinner and enjoy complimentary drinks while being entertained. Quai will grace the stage with an hour-long performance, followed by other esteemed artists from Port Vila, including Sheila Wilz, Dalinda, Max Albert, Tujah, and the KR dancers. Ms Quai disclosed ticket details, with adult tickets priced at VT7,000 and children’s tickets at VT5,000. Attendees are encouraged to hold onto their tickets, as there will be raffle prizes to be won, and some lucky patrons may even depart with a complimentary EP album. Quai encourages everyone to support the concert, adding the money spent on tickets not only grants access to an unforgettable event but also serves as a meaningful donation towards enhancing the Children’s Ward. “Your attendance will make a real difference in the lives of our young patients,” she said. _________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

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