The Vanuatu Civil Society Influencing Network (VCSIN) publicly launched the new national ‘Vot Woman’ campaign yesterday on Malekula, calling for 50% women in Vanuatu’s Parliament.

“The Vot Woman campaign will bring big changes to Vanuatu and MALAMPA province.

“My wish is for more women to be in Parliament and we can achieve this by holding hands together.

“We have big numbers of women here in Malakula.

“Vot woman! I trust and believe that we can do this!” said Naomi Malau, Coordinator and Trainer at the MALAMPA Handicrafts Centre.

President of MALAMPA Province, Norbert Nabang, attended the launch and expressed his strong support for the ‘Vot Woman’ campaign.

“If I come back to the next council, I’ll make sure that the paper on Reserved Seats for Women is passed!” said President Nabang.

Pastor Damien Hophand, Coordinator of the University of the South Pacific Sub-Centre in MALAMPA and Jilda Timakata, Deputy Manager for TVET Skills for Partnership also attended the launch.

VCSIN elected a steering committee for the new MALAMPA branch yesterday, bringing its important work to making positive changes in policies, laws and practice for women to the province.

“We, as Chiefs, belong to the kastom nakamal, where our responsibilities lie, and not in the National Parliament,” said Chief Festa Malverus, Chairperson of the new MALAMPA branch of the Vanuatu Civil Society Influencing Network.

Vanuatu’s National Parliament is made up of 52 elected members, none of who are women.

Only five women have been elected to Parliament since Vanuatu gained independence in 1980 and, currently, Vanuatu is one of only three countries in the world with zero participation and representation of women in Parliament.

National elections will be held in March 2020.