November and December have been the busiest months for Sista as it’s prime time for advocacy and movement building due to 16 Days of Activism. The team worked day and night, including weekends, to be able to develop the two campaigns for ‘Rod Blong Jenis’ under the Spotlight Initiative. We also participated in panel discussions, attended workshops, movie screenings and tried our best to share all 16 Days of Activism activities on our social media for the wider public to encourage participation. The end of the year is now here and the entire team is looking forward to resting and connecting with our loved ones during the Christmas break. We will see you back in office on January 10th!
16 Days of activism
‘Rod Blong Jenis’ Campaign
Sista and HCDI (Human Capacity Development International) received a grant from the Spotlight Initiative to use Pacific-based storian methods to raise gender based violence (GBV) awareness and promote change. Sista came up with the concept of having two (2) campaigns – one for men and one for women.
‘Yu Save Mekem wan Jenis’ Campaign
We held a social media campaign asking women and girls to call on men for solidarity and support to be part of the change by reflecting on incidents when male figures in their lives had failed to do so. Our officers began going around and filming women and girls on the 10th of November and immediately started posting two (2) videos on our Tiktok page as well as Facebook and Instagram. This campaign began on the 10th to the 24th of November.
All of these women and girls said some very powerful messages to the male figures in their lives and it was both touching and powerful.
‘Rod Blong Jenis Hemi Stap Insaed Long Han Blong Yu’ Campaign
Along with the ‘Yu Save Mekem Wan Jenis’ campaign, Sista also produced a video advocacy campaign featuring male champions of change run by an all female production crew under the age of 30 developed the videos for the campaign.
Filmmaker and new mother Gina Ishmael from Starlight Photography led the video production with the support of our Project Officer Delta Tjiobang. Umi Nompavos designed the posters and editing scripts while Dominique Seagoe directed the production with extra helping hands from Rosina Kaimbang and Irene Abbock. This is what Gel Pawa looks like!
Here is a list of names of the male champions of change:
- Honorable Bob Loughman Weibur, Prime Minister
- Senior Sergeant Iaken Ampen, Deputy Director, Police College
- Nazario Fiakaifonu, Father, Judo Instructor & Business owner
- Honorable Ralph Regenvanu, Leader of opposition
- Dr. Jimmy Obed, Psychiatrist, Mind Care Clinic
- Johnny Marango, Director General of Ministry of justice
- Steve Williams, Father, Musician & Artist
- John Vanua, Authorized Person – Wailapa Community, South Santo
- Lulu Vola, Authorized Person – Sarete Community, South Santo
- Johnlyn Regenvanu, Male Champion Advocator
- Moses Cakau, Senior Producer, VBTC
- Wilson Toa, Balance of Power Country Manager
- John Vincent Stephens, Paradise 98FM Radio Personal, Festival & Club DJ
- Junior Gaetan Pikioune, Children’s Book Writer and Member of Spotlight CSO reference group for EVAWG
- Jonathan Naupa, Farmer, Husband and Father
- Georges Cumbo, Director of Alliance Française, Port-Vila, French – Ni-Vanuatu citizen
- Tevita Taravaki, Father
- Chief Willie Grey Plasua, President of Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs
Sista is very grateful for having worked with these amazing men who are taking a stand for change. Thank you!
UNDP Panel Discussion: Prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence in the context of COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars in every country in touches. In this context of lockdown measures and physical distancing, preventing and responding to gender-based violence in the Pacific region is more crucial than ever.
In this session, UNDP and implementing partners look at interventions to prevent and respond to GBV during COVID-19 pandemic. Sista’s ED talked about the ‘Jenis Hemi Stap Long Han Blong Yu’ campaign and stressed on what is needed to truly end violence against women and girls – the engagement of men and boys to end the cycle of violence. View the session here.
This panel session was facilitated by Anne Pakoa, founder of Vanuatu Human Rights Coalition, with panelists that include:
- Vanuatu Spotlight Initiative: Yasmine Bjornum – SISTA
- REACH project on REACH buses: PS Poole Ministry of Women, Children & Poverty Alleviation in Fiji
- GBV and Environment Degradation: Aliti Vunisea
R4D2 Project, Public Works Department – 16 days of Activism Panel discussion
Our Executive Director, Yasmine Bjornum was part of the 16 days of Activism Panel discussion organized by R4D2 Project under Public Works Department.
The issues and points that were raised by the panelists were pertaining to Violence against women and girls, being inclusive and breaking down some of the norms that are toxic and not helpful relating to domestic violence situations. Feedback from the PWD said that the panel discussion shifted perceptions on violence against women being everyone’s business and the conversation also shone a light into the areas that needed emphasis and consideration, particularly in terms of inclusivity.
The Director of Public Works Department asked the panelists at the end”What can MIPU (Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities) do for you?” in regards to the issues discussed. Judith Iaki from Vanuatu Society for People with a Disability highlighted the importance of being inclusive towards vulnerable people and ensuring their voices are there at the very beginning of planning infrastructure projects. The panelists also highlighted the need for development projects to ensure women and girls are represented in every decision-making body at all levels. This is the first step to making space for EVERYONE.
DWA Panel Discussion – Creating safe work-places free from violence and harassment
On December 9, Sista’s Executive Director, Communications, Advocacy & Events Officer and Project Officer attended the panel discussion event held by the Department of Women’s Affairs, the Department of Labour, UN Women, Sista, HCDI and World Vision with support from the EU (European Union, Department of FAT, MFAT and UN Women under the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls. Sista supported the panel discussions through communications, including the development of the banner.
- Miriam Bule, Counsellor Manager, Vanuatu Women’s Centre
- Rocky Thomas, Secretary General, Vanuatu National Workers
- Josephine Fred, Vice President, Silae Vanuatu Market Vendors
- Odina Vusi, Gender Officer, Vanuatu Christian Council
- State Prosecutor, Marcelline Tasso, Public Prosecutor’s Office
- Paul Nalau, Senior Policy Analyst for Education, Youth, Sports and Training at Department of Strategic Policy, Planning and Aid Coordinatio
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that “everyone has the right to live and work free from violence and harassment” and the Vanuatu Constitution confirms the rights and freedoms of all individuals without discrimination based on sex, race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions or language. Read more about the panel discussion here.
CARE’s ‘Young Women’s Leadership’ Alumni Dinner/Panel Discussion Night
On the 1st of December, Sista attended a panel discussion at the conference room at APTC from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
The panel discussion explored the intersection of Gender, kastom and religion as an important knowledge building session in the program. This year, to celebrate 16 Days of Activism we were invited to a dinner night alongside the YWLP Program participants and graduates, partners, mentors and gender cohort members.
The dinner night was planned by YWLP graduates and included a panel discussion with 3 special guests on “Identifying women’s space in Kastom and Religion”. The panelists were Senior Sergeant Iaken Ampen, from the Vanuatu Christian Council representative Pastor Bernard Yalimyau CARE‘s very own Leikita Kalorib. Sista’s Program Manager, Irene Abbock acted as the moderator during the panel discussion.
A big congratulations to the YWLP alumni for setting this event up. We were so happy to be a part of this event, the discussions were powerful and inspirational!
World AIDS Day – Youth Debate, Ministry of Health & Vanuatu Family Health Association
On December 1st – World AIDS day, our Program Manager and Projects Team Leader attended an event held by the Ministry of Health and the Vanuatu Family Health Association. Our Program Manager acted as a judge for the debate. The debate was based on sexual reproductive health rights and issues relating to global health on World Aids Day.
As World AIDS Day was a part of 16 Days of Activism. Majority of our registered youths have no knowledge about 16 Days of Activism, so they wanted to learn about our Rod Blong Jenis campaign, it’s purpose and why we should all be advocating to end gender-based violence.
In commemoration to World AIDS Day as part of 16 Days of Activism, Sista’s Program Manager, Irene Abbock delivered a short speech on the recognition of the 16 Days of Activism campaign and its purpose. The youths present were from youth council areas and school institutions.
“A little coffee with…” Radio show
Our very own Projects Team Leader Dominique Seagoe was a guest on the “A little coffee with…” hosted by Georges Cumbo, Director of Alliance Française, Port-Vila – French/Ni-Vanuatu citizen, a show featuring francophones living in Port-Vila asking them to talk about themselves & their commitments in Vanuatu.
During the one hour show – they talked about her journey, how she came to work at Sista, what Sista is, our past projects, our 16 Days of Activism ‘Rod Blong Jenis’ – Female campaign #BaeYuSaveMekemWanJenis (You can make a change) and our ‘Male Champions of Change’ campaign #RodBloJenisHemiStapLoHanBloYu (The journey to change is in your hands).
Go Cyber Stakeholder Workshop
On November 3rd, Sista facilitated a workshop on online cyber-bullying with CARE in Vanuatu at the Melanesian with stakeholders – OGCIO (Office of Government Chief Information Officer), Vanuatu Women’s Centre, Vanuatu Mind Care unit, VanIGF (Vanuatu Internet Governance Forum) and Ministry of Education.
The activities during the workshop followed the work Sista has been doing with CARE to develop Girls Online (GO!) Cyber communication materials in a co-design process with young women. Sista and CARE developed 3 video clips that highlight the key issues young women face online.
The purpose of this workshop was to engage key cyber stakeholders to support a national social media campaign designed to amplify the voice of your women and girls around online safety in Vanuatu, and to also increase awareness of, and resilience to, cyber hazards in the promotion of respect for the protection of human rights and upholding of democratic principles, with a specific focus on young women.
These past two months Sista has been working closely with the CAREinVanuatu team to develop the accompanying booklet to support the three videos, which will be launched in early 2022.
YWLP (Young Women’s Leadership Program) Mentor Storian
On November 4th, CARE and Sista held a lunch at PMC hall to talk about what it means to be a mentor. Women leaders in the community were invited to be part of these discussions on how we can use mentorship to share knowledge and expertise with young women, strengthen inter-generational relationships and build our own networks.
This event is aimed at raising awareness about the program and the importance of gaining increased support from other women leaders as well to support the new and rising women leaders in our communities. The key speakers were Sherol George and Jennifer Kalpokas, and was led by Leikita Kalorib.
National Victim Support Charter
On November 12 to 21st, one of our Project Officers – Rosina Kaimbang travelled with the Office of Public Prosecutor to Malekula and Santo to to help with a consultation for the national Victim Support charter.
Sista nominated Rosina Kaimbang to be part of the consultation trip to Malekula and Santo for one week and two days. The purpose of this consultation trip was to get more information from the communities’ based on their thoughts on what the support services should look like in the favor of the victims of crimes after his or her case is closed. This consultation also evaluates how the justice system of the government has been served in the community levels. The purpose is to help in the national victim charter to set out how victims of crime should be treated and what advice, support, and practical information they can receive. The key activity of this victim charter is to carry out the consultation with the people in the community.
Sista Gat Style – Life & Style Magazine
This month we celebrated the beautiful Grace Sese! Hailing from the second largest island in Vanuatu, Malekula, Grace Sese is a businesswoman who owns Majech Construction with her husband. Coming from a family of five, this inspiring mother of four is expecting her fifth child very soon and values having a healthy and happy family.
Grace is a participant of the Phoenix Women in Business program led by the Vanuatu Business Resilience Council. This project is supported by funds from the Women Peace and Humanitarian Fund and technical support from UN Women. Over the past year, Grace has been provided support through the Phoenix Program that includes a mix of life coaching sessions, mentoring, business skills coaching and leadership skills development. Yu taf tumas Grace!
To read more about Grace and to see more pictures, click HERE.
V-pride and Sista planning partnership
On the December 1, Sista and VPride met to discuss what our partnership will look like moving forward into 2022. VPride will be recruiting their first ever communications officer and Sista’s Communications Officer will be in charge of showing them the ropes. We are so happy and excited to work with VPride next year.
We look forward to working with you and growing with you VPride!
We Rise Coalition – Monthly communications Strategy Meeting
On the 9th of December, Irene Abbock, our Program Manager and Dominique Seagoe, our Projects Team Leader attended a monthly zoom meeting with our partners from the We Rise Coalition.
Points of discussion:
- DIEM strategy
- Partnership Review/Strategic Planning retreat (in February)
- WRC midterm review
- WRC participation in the CSW (Commission on the Status of women)
- Partners’ updates
We are happy and grateful to be a part of this coalition of strong women!
Sista Storian Podcast
Keep your eye out for the podcast we are producing next year. Our much-awaited for equipment has finally arrived in country thanks to ABC PACMAS and we can’t wait to have real conversations with you about issues that affect the modern Pacific women starting from early next year!
Vosa Podcast – Sex and relationships in the Pacific
On the 10th of December Vosa Podcast aired an episode featuring Sista’s very own Irene Abbock along with Guilaine Nauni from CARE Vanuatu – Jana Ali-Traill, a trained counsellor and advocate in SRHR from Fiji, Renata Ram of UN AIDS Pacific UNAIDS Asia Pacific and Todd Mulroy of RMI Youth to Youth in Health/ Jodrikdrik nan Jodrikdrik ilo Ejmour. The episode hosted by Mere Nailatikau explored sex and relationships in the pacific.
To have a listen to this episode, click HERE.
Wan Smol Bag – ‘Mat mo pig’ & ‘Twist mo spin’ film launch
Wan Smolbag Theatre invited Sista to the launching of their new films ‘Twist mo Spin’ and ‘Mat mo Pig’. The launch took place at Tana Cine on the 30th of November. The event was attended by our Program Manager Irene Abbock and Projects Team Leader Dominique Seagoe.
The film ‘Mat mo Pig’ sheds light on sexual violence in Vanuatu and the traumatic journey endured by survivors as they try to bring the case to court and the ‘Twist mo Spin’ film was based on climate change.
BOP ‘Thru the Lens’ Launch
Sista’s Program and Finance Manager attended Balance of Power (BOP) launch of ‘Thru the Lens’. The documentary series will portray ni-Vanuatu women, along with the men who have supported them, telling their stories about the work they do and the extraordinary contributions made to their communities and to Vanuatu. The documentary series aims to demonstrate inclusive leadership and the benefits when men and women choose to work together.
Australian High Commissioner Farewell
On November 23rd, the Executive Director (ED) had the opportunity to farewell Her Excellency (HE) Sarah deZoeten at her residence. The ED wishes HE a safe travel back to Australia and thanks HE for her warm and generous service to Vanuatu.
CARE Program Manager Farewell
The Sista team also farewelled the beloved Program Director of CARE, Sharon Alder. The ED farewelled Sharon at her residence and says, “Working with Sharon taught me about the kind of leader I want to be. I am honored to have Sharon as my mentor and my friend, and will miss her dearly. Thank you Sharon for your contributions to the women’s movement in Vanuatu.”
Participation in report on the state of media industry in Vanuatu
Sista participated in the the preparation of a Media Association Vanuatu/Internews report on the state of the media industry in Vanuatu. The report has found that the media industry has reached a crisis point. Trying to transition to alternative revenue models in the middle of a pandemic might be too much for some. The report is intended to encourage stakeholders and development partners to do more to support a news industry that plays a crucial role in Vanuatu society.
On November 12th, Chanelle from Tehya Skye Vanuatu visited our office to do an office blessing. Unfortunately some of our team members were out of the office but it was a wonderful little ceremony for our office. Thank you Chanelle for finding time to come do this with us we truly appreciate it.
National Child Protection Working Group meeting
On 14th of December, Sista attended the 4th quarter National Child Protection Working Group meeting. The meeting covered the Ministry of Justice’s work under the Child Desk on Child Protection for this year. This included the achievements and challenges of 2021, and priorities of 2022.
HHH Red Dress Run
On November 1st our very own Projects Team Leader Dominique Seagoe joined everyone who was there for the run held in Port Vila. The objective of this was to raise money for VSPD (Vanuatu Society for People with Disability).
“Helping People by charity is the most human thing we can do.” – Oprah Winfrey
On Thursday 16thof December, Sista ED attended the Spotlight Civil Society Reference Group in her personal capacity to review the work of Spotlight locally and regionally, and to begin planning for 2022 workplan.
Child Protection Work Group
On December 14 Sista’s ED attended a meeting with the Ministry of Justice’s Child Protection Group. The meeting covered the presentation of achievements and challenges of 2021 and the priorities for 2022.
BOP (Balance of Power) lunch
On Wed 15th December Sista’s ED, Program and Finance Manager and Projects Team Leader attended the Balance of Power stakeholder lunch at Nasama Resort to celebrate the work of BOP the past year. Thank you BOP for the lovely get-together and for the contributions to progressing women’s leadership in Vanuatu.
Sista Christmas Lunch
The Sista team closed off the year by having a buffet Christmas lunch at Kersorn Thai and going to watch 2 of their 16 days of activism videos on the big screen at Tana Cine.
“Individual actions may seem insignificant, but together the small steps of many people can have an astonishing impact.” – Hobit Lafaye