The month of November was fast paced and filled with energy as the team at Sista were wrapping up projects for the year, acknowledging 16 Days of Activism and meeting and connecting with new people!

The team started the month with a meaningful workshop with Jenny Ruben, where the team delved into what the Sista’s Values look like, while also reflecting on what each other’s Values were as well. Thank you Jinny for spending time with the team to reflect and unpack – we’re so happy to finally have our five core values at Sista!

As 16 Days of Activism grew near, so did the launch of the new and improved Stanap Strong website! Sista and HCDI finally made the official website revamp launch this month, and we’re so excited to share it all with you. Read more about the event HERE.

Sista was also pleased to have attended the launch of the Survivors-Victim a charter – the first-of-its-kind in Vanuatu, a landmark publication that provides survivor-victims of gender-based violence with a thorough guideline on how to access the criminal justice system and other support services across the entire country. Click HERE to read more about this remarkable step.

Later in the month, Sista’s Executive Director (ED) and Resource Coordinator, attended a celebratory event hosted by Spotlight Initiative! This event was an opportunity for key government and civil society partners’ to share statements and reflect on the work that has been carried out so far through conversations. There were also two panel discussions with prevention and response partners on: “Strategies for redefining gender norms to prevent violence” moderated by Sista’s ED and “Survivor centred approaches to violence, recovery and justice” moderated by Rebecca Olul, UNICEF. Check out the recorded discussions here.

Under the global 16DoA campaign we acknowledged the key dates in November: International day for the elimination of violence against women and girls on the 25th of November, International Women Human Rights Defender Day on the 29th of November

Online we helped spread awareness on Cervical Cancer Awareness day on the 17th of November. And we were honoured to see the country bid farewell and good luck to the Vanuatu athletes who were getting ready to depart at the end of the month for the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.

We were also glad to see FALE Vanuatu supporting 5 organisations.

So many things happened this month! Keep reading to find out what else the team at Sista got up to…


Talula-Fay Taribakeo – Sista Gat Style

In November, we are celebrating Ms Talula-Fay Taribakeo!

A smart, young woman hailing from the islands of Ambae and Malekula, Talula’s humble yet bubbly personality shines through the minute you speak with her.

Talula is a big believer in human rights and her passion to create a safer society for girls and women, has been built off from unjust and unfair experiences she witnessed growing up. This passion led her to apply, and later successfully complete, the Young Women’s Leadership Program in 2021!

As a current YWLP Alumni and big sister to two younger sisters, she lives by this quote, “You are a warrior woman, fierce and fearless. You have a spirit that burns bright and a will that never breaks. You have a strength that overcomes obstacles and a resilience that endures hardships. You have a goal that is worth striving for and a voice that is worth listening to. Never back down from what you believe in and what you deserve. You are a warrior woman who can conquer anything.”

#SistaGatStyle #WomanAmbae #WomanMalekula #Smart #Beautiful #Humble #Passionate


Spotlight Reflection Workshop

Sista’s Executive attended a reflection workshop to review UN’s work to end violence against women in Vanuatu, and potential opportunities to build on this effort. The UN inter-agency technical team on ending violence against women and children worked with Dalberg, a social impact consulting firm, to capture successes and learnings from the UN’s work in Vanuatu thus far, as well as future opportunities that can complement existing efforts in the country. We hope this exercise assists in laying the foundation to garner greater support for future initiatives aimed at eradicating VAWC within Vanuatu and the broader Pacific region.


16 Days of Activism – Meetings with VANGO

 Following the preparations towards 16 Days of Activism (DoA) Sista’s Communications Officer attended several meetings with Vanuatu Association of NGO’s (VANGO). The discussion was around planning for activities during the 16DoA, finding out what activities each organisation would be carrying out, and what everyone’s budget was during the global campaign.

Sista’s Comms Officer briefed the VANGO team, and other key organisations about the activities planned for the Sista team to carry out. The team at Sista scheduled 6 different posters to be published on the #StanapStrong FB page – the posters encouraged people to go and visit the Stanap Strong website as well as promoting the 16DoA. Sista together with HCDI also put up a street banner that again encourages people to visit the Stanap Strong website.

VANGO thought another great way of promoting the 16DoA was to go on a Radio show. So, they prepared a schedule for each organization to take part in this activity, Sista also had the opportunity to take part and we saw this as another opportunity to encourage more people to visit the Stanap Strong Website, particularly those who may be a victim of Gender Based Violence (GBV), or anyone who knows someone who has experienced GBV. The team at Sista also spoke about how important it is for other NGO’s, CSO’s and Government organizations to use the website to access the vast information on the platform – all resources on the website are FREE to download resources and use for awareness.


Stanap Strong Revamped Website

In November, work towards the introduction event of the revamped Stanap Strong website commenced into its phase of finalization. The event date was initially set for the 27th of October but had shifted due to an unforeseen cyclone. The event was rescheduled for the 8th of November.

In the lead up to the event, the program was finalized, a venue was secured, invitations were resent with the new details of the event and the spotlight team put together a presentation for stakeholders that captured the purpose and the journey to the initial creation of the website and the website revamp.

On the 7th of November the communications team posted up a teaser on the #StanapStong platform in anticipation of the revamped website introduction event and final preparations were made for the revamp event.

On the 8th of November, 13 stakeholders that participated in the update of the #StanapStrong Website attended the event that was hosted at the Grand hotel. The presentation was made and a walk through of the revamped website was carried out to introduce the stakeholders to the new features of the website. This was followed by an in depth consultation with the stakeholders who raised questions on distribution of website content, accessibility and how to incorporate it into their work. This consultation was followed by a lunch that provided networking opportunities for stakeholders and the Spotlight team.

Based on the feedback from the event, the Spotlight team workshopped the presentation further and created a tutorial for stakeholders on how to maneuver the newly revamped website to be uploaded onto the website and to be sent to each individual stakeholder. This was finalized by the 17th of November. In the process of the tutorial creation the communications team also created and finalized the content for the #StanapStrong media campaign that would be executed throughout the 16 days of activism. The content featured pictures of stakeholders that attended the revamp introduction event and highlighted the new features of the website. The first post under this campaign was made on the 20th of November and is continuing until the 8th of December.

The #StanapStrong team is continuing to upload resources to the website and will continue to do so. The Spotlight initiative officially closes on the 5th of December at a closing event at which the team will present once more on the #StanapStrong Website revamp.

16DOA Panel Discussion – Vanuatu Australia Policy and Justice Program (VJAP), CARE & Stehpanie Mahuk

Sista, collaboration with Vanuatu Australia Policy and Justice Program (VAPJP), CARE Vanuatu and Stephanie Mahuk would like to challenge perceptions of victim blaming in Vanuatu by hosting a panel discussion which will be on the 7th of December 2023. It will begin with a keynote address by Claire McFarlane, from Footsteps to Inspire, who will share her survival story, and be followed by the panel discussion.

Therefore, on the last week of November, the Project team developed a concept note for this event with the support of Polly Walker from VAPJP. On the 24th of November, the team met with Polly to develop the general and specific questions for the panellists. The panellists were also identified and confirmed on the last week of November. The Project Coordinator met with CEO of Vanuatu National Youth Authority (VNYA) at their office on the 28th of November to discuss can engage with VNYA and have some of their youths as the audience of the upcoming event. The project team has also sent out invites out to Vpride, Gate Minds and YWLP Alumni’s.

Other News

 Values workshop with Jinny Rueben

On Thursday 9 November 2023, the team at Sista delved into a Values workshop with the lovely @Jinny Ruben – Life Coach!

The workshop provided the team an opportunity to unpack and explore each other’s personal values and how we collectively envision what our teams’ values look like.

It was an enriching experience for the Sista team and we cannot thank Jinny enough for walking us through this learning journey. We look forward to strengthening our organisation with these values to continue to create change for our women and girls in Vanuatu!

Tankio tumas Jinny, we appreciate you for spending time with the team.


Launch of the Survivor-Victims Charter

 The Executive Director of Sista, Yasmine Bjornum and the Resource Coordinator, Josepheen Tarianga were invited to the launch of the Vanuatu survivor-victims charter hosted by the Office of the public prosecutor and the Spotlight initiative and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) team on the 28th of November at the Holiday Inn.

Under funding from the Spotlight Initiative and the UNDP, the Office of the Public Prosecutor developed the Survivor-Victims Charter. This document is the first-of-its-kind in Vanuatu, a landmark publication that provides survivor-victims of gender-based violence with a thorough guideline on how to access the criminal justice system and other support services across the entire country.

The launch of the charter was also attended by stakeholders from the Vanuatu Women’s center, VPride, HCDI, The Family Protection Unit of the Vanuatu Police force, representatives of the Vanuatu Australia Policing and Justice program, ActionAid and others.

A brief of the charter was presented, the process to its creation and its intended purpose. A link to the charter was provided to each attending stakeholder as well as summaries of the charter itself in illustrated graphics.

Following the presentation, refreshments and beverages were distributed providing an opportune time for stakeholders to network.

Feminism in Vanuatu presentation to Australian National University

On November 2nd, Sista’s Executive Director (ED) was invited to dialogue with students from Australian National University to explore what it’s like to run a feminist organisation, Sista’s participation in the Pacific Feminist Forum, experiences of backlash, and the future of feminism in Vanuatu. It was a great digital session, and the ED was grateful for the opportunity to share.


Sista Board Meeting

On Friday 10th of November, Sista held a meeting with its board of directors at Mangoes Resort from 12pm to 2pm. The purpose of the meeting was to review and approve the Sista’s Operations Manual, give an update on VFSC annual registration, review of all the Sista’s project activity timeline, give an update on the draft values of the Organization and current staff structure and finally approval of Sista’s debit card. The policies, Operations Manual and activity timeline was sent prior to the meeting for the board to review. It was also printed for the meeting.

Five board members were present during the meeting: Polly Walker Dorras (Co-Chair), Gaetan Samuel Pikioune (Treasurer), Dawn Reuben (Secretary), Anna Naupa (member) and Yasmine Bjornum (member). The two other board members did not attend the meeting due to work and personal travelling.


We Rise Coalition Meeting in preparation for CSW68 

On November 14th, the We Rise Coalition Steering Committee had a meeting to discuss if we wanted to bring the coalition to Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 68 and hold a side event. Next year’s theme is 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. The ED of Sista applied for a UN WOMEN scholarship to attend CSW68 and has been accepted to attend. She is honored to represent Vanuatu civil society’s issues to the UN Headquarters in New York in March 2024.


Review of NGO Act with VANGO

Later on November 15th, Sista’s ED met with members of VANGO to review the NGO Act consultation. It was a good opportunity for CSOs to provide input to the NGO Act as a few concerns have been raised regarding if provisions provide an enabling and inclusive environment for the work on CSOs in Vanuatu. Thank you VANGO for your hard work on this and ensuring members provide input.


Advocacy in Practice Program 

Sista’s ED was accepted into the Advocacy in Practice (AiP) program which is organised by Fos Feminista and UN Women. The program is broken into four modules of 3 hours each and will assist the ED in preperation for for the 68th Session of the Commission on Status of Women next year.

The AiP seeks to provide participants with a solid foundational knowledge of advocacy engagement at the UN through interactive sessions that address the CSW and other key UN spaces, coalition engagement, priority setting and advocacy tools and strategies. The AiP culminates with putting the training into practice through engagement at the CSW.

Fraud Control Training Refresher

This training was held via zoom call with Ana Maria from International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) to give Sista staff a solid understanding of anti-fraud, which will support a strong organization and ensure that we remain accountable to our stakeholders. It is also mandatory for the organisation, as per contract with the donor, to provide anti-fraud training on an annual basis.

Ana explained the definition of Fraud, examples of Fraud, why Fraud happens, how to prevent it from happening and how to respond to any fraudulent activity.

This training was very simple but informative, having all the team members of Sista attend was also a bonus as it will help them to better understand the importance of accountability when it comes to using funds for Projects.

Thank you to Sara, Ana Maria and the IWDA for running this important training with the team at Sista.


Impact Story Training

On Thursday 23 November 2023, Sista’s Communications & Advocacy Coordinator, Project Coordinator and We Rise Coalition’s Communications & Advocacy Coordinator attended a three-hour training which focused on the importance of an impact story and how to write an impact story.

This training was led by Junita and Emily from Pacific Women Lead (PWL), and it was a wonderful opportunity for the Sista team to learn how to write impact stories as we are realizing the need for a proper procedure in collecting case studies. It was also an opportunity to network with other stakeholders.

A big thank you to PWL for inviting the team from Sista to be part of this training! We look forward to applying the knowledge and skills learnt in the work we do.

Grant Writing Workshop – Spotlight Initiative

The Spotlight Initiative team invited the Sista team to attend a Grant Writing workshop at Ramada resort as a follow up to their prior mission conducted in August this year that includes a two-day CSO Networking and Sustainability workshop during which they acknowledged that there is a pressing need to reinforce and emphasize capacity building of CSOs, CBOs and grassroots organizations.

The finance team attended the 3 days training on behalf of Sista. The workshop’s goal was to empower CSOs with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to secure funding and effectively execute projects, furthering the cause of gender equality and the prevention of SGBV. The outcome will be a strengthened and more resilient CSO sector in Vanuatu, ready to champion the rights and well-being of women and girls.

We would like to thank Spotlight for this amazing learning opportunity and for this continuous partnership.


Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Training

Later on this month, Sista’s Finance & HR Manager and Project Officer, attended a Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) training organized and facilitated by UNDP at the Grand Hotel.

The workshop was attended by implementing partners and UNDP staff and focused on Zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse of power.

We began the training with a power walk exercise, where participants were given cards that portrayed someone else life and how much distance, gap and power an individual has to make a difference. The aim of the training was to teach, define and detect sexual exploitation and abuse and emphasize the importance of putting the victim first and being transparent in cases of abuse.


Meeting with GROW team from World Vision Vanuatu

On the 8th of November 2023, Sista’s Project Coordinator met with two staff from World Vision Vanuatu under the GROW project. The purpose of the meeting was to share about the work that Sista has done so far, especially with Women empowerment.

Launching of 16DoA 2023

On the 24th of November, the Executive Director, the Project Coordinator and the Project Officer of Sista joined the march to acknowledge White Ribbon Day and officially launch the annual 16 Days of Activism (DoA) campaign! The event was led by the Vanuatu Police Force, Department of Women’s Affairs, INGO’s, and CSO’s working to eliminate GBV.

This years theme, “Unite! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls” is another reminder to individuals, communities and organizations to take a stand against violence targeting women and girls.

We are so happy to have been able to be part of this march! We appreciate and acknowledge all the work that has been done so far to progress this campaign in Vanuatu.

DWA Meeting

The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP28, will be the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference, held from 30 November until 12 December 2023, at the Expo City, Dubai.

The conference has been held annually since the first UN climate agreement in 1992. The COP conferences are intended for governments to agree on policies to limit global temperature rises and adapt to impacts associated with climate change.

Sista was invited to attend a consultation meeting at Department of Women’s Affairs (DWA) in lead up to COP28 more related to gender. Hence, the Project Coordinator attended on behalf of Sista. The meeting was conducted by the Director of DWA who is representing Vanuatu on COP conferences specifically on climate change and gender. The purpose of the meeting was to consult the INGO’s and CSO’s who are working on this area about the priorities for COP28.


Jess Hill Meeting

The Project Coordinator also had another meeting with Jess Hill from the Interplast in Australia. Interplast is an NGO who send medical and training teams across the Pacific, including to Vanuatu, since 1983. They focus is reconstructive surgery. Currently, they are including gender and people with disability into their program. The idea of this meeting was to talk about what Sista has been doing and how can Sista collaborate with them in the future.


Coming Up

WATCH THIS SPACE as we are finally getting the Strong Mama Nutrition booklet supported by the FRIDA FUND and the Sikmun Storian booklet supported by Ambassade de France, PRINTED!! – we can’t wait to distribute these cute, powerful booklets soon!