November is gone and Christmas holidays are just around the corner!
The team at Sista started off the month by celebrating International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR)! The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) held the event from 1 – 3 November 2022 and despite it being held at Eton, it generated a huge audience. There were a number of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and government departments that came together to raise awareness on the importance of IDDRR. Unfortunately the team was not able to join in the fun but we played our part by sharing relevant social media posts on our platforms. We are currently in cyclone season so make sure you check out NDMO’s Facebook page for advice on how to prepare and plan for a natural disaster.
The Women In Media (WIM) Forum was finally held on 9 November 2022 where the results from The Oceanic Pacific Women in Media (WIM) Research 2022 survey were presented. These results were to help to understand the current status of women in the media and to better understand needs and opportunities in the future. The forum also generated an open discussion on what media organizations need to start implementing and improving, in order to create a safe and supportive working environment for women while also giving them the space to freely share their creative ideas.
The next big event for the team this month, and overall this year, was the National Feminist Forum (NFF) that happened on the 17th and 18th of November! The objective of the NFF was to mobilize Ni-Vanuatu women to share knowledge and experiences, celebrate achievements and strategize for collective action to achieve women’s human rights. It was also an opportunity for Ni-Vanuatu women to learn and grow together to advance gender equality through ‘storian’. There were over 70 people from over 20 different organisations who attended the closed event – the room was bustling with energy!
Towards the end of the month, the team welcomed a volunteer from Canada, Jane Spitz. Jane traveled to Vanuatu to explore the country but also to work with a charitable organization to capture their journey and key achievements. We cannot wait to share the video she has captured with you all!
And to close off the month, the communications team at Sista attended a meeting with representatives from the Department of Women (DWA), Stretem Rod blong Jastis, Vanuatu Women’s Centre and Balance of Power to discuss the 16 Days of Activism (DoA) official opening march and launch. The meeting was also a great opportunity for the comms team at Sista to get to know the other people working in the communications space. The comms team represented Sista and ventured out in the rain to the 16 DoA launch and brought Jane along to capture the activities going on.
As part of 16 Days of Activism, the Executive Director was thrilled to be a judge on the Vanuatu Family Health Association’s (VFHA) judging panel and left inspired by the youth of Vanuatu, and thanks VFHA for their important work.
The ED was honoured to be invited by the Public Prosecutor to share her experience as an activist dealing with the Public Prosecutor’s Office and how important it is to centre the survivor in the judicial process. Thank you to the Public Prosecutor for your trust and open-ness to allow Yasmine to speak freely on improvements and challenges.
Jesintha Tari – Sista Gat Style, Vanuatu Daily Post
This November we celebrate the beautiful and talented Jesintha Tari! Hailing from the island of Ambae, Jesintha is a quiet yet confident young woman filled with a firing passion for fashion. She is self-employed and teaches sewing classes with her mother who is the base of her inspiration with fabrics and a sewing machine! She believes that having a love for fashion can be a way to stand out of the crowd!
Make sure to check out her Facebook page, Woi2 creations, to see her beautiful designs and place your orders.
Women in Media Forum
The Oceanic Pacific Women in Media (WIM) Research 2022 is supported by PACMAS and facilitated by Sista with the endorsement of Media Association blong Vanuatu (MAV) in Vanuatu. It is a regional survey conducted in five countries, including Vanuatu, with Oceanics indigenous researcher and media practitioner, Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki, as lead researcher.
The project team held the Women In Media forum with the purpose to present the findings of the survey to the Ni-Vanuatu women practitioners who attended for validation and for input to create an outcome statement. There were a total of 17 former and current media practitioners who attended the forum.
It was such a wholesome and insightful experience for the team at Sista as the forum brought together some amazing women who have been and are currently involved in the Media world here in Vanuatu. The team at Sista would like to thank all the former and current media practitioners who have participated in this survey and for their attendance and feedback at the Vanuatu Women in Media forum.
Vanuatu National Feminist Forum, as part of the 3rd Pacific Feminist Forum
The team at Sista had about a month to prepare and plan for this two day event. This meant that all the departments at Sista had to pull together to get the ball rolling and ready for the biggest event of the year!
The communications team had the one month time frame to use the social media platforms to start up the discussion amongst the online followers about feminism and what it means, and most importantly the key messages and objectives of this event. The comms team had a fun time designing the graphics and creating short videos of each member of the NFF working group explaining what feminism meant to them. It was great to see the different perspectives and understanding around the word feminism.
The project team had all of the procurement and logistics responsibilities – from budgeting to sourcing out items and finally purchasing them for the event. It was a long process for the team but it was worth it as the venue looked wonderfully organized and put together.
The Finance and Administration Coordinator had a massive role to play before and during this event. Along with Georgilla Worwor, who provided major support in the preparation for the forum, they had the responsibility of piecing everything together. They were in charge of contacting people, asking people to make speeches, ensuring everything went according to plan, and many more tedious tasks.
Vanuatu Women’s Centre Coordinator, Tatavola Matas, opened the first day with a speech about her journey at the Vanuatu Women’s Centre, highlighting their achievements and their challenges.
The team was honored to have the Third deputy speaker and Hon. MP Gloria Julia King who opened the second day with an empowering speech about her political journey.
And Leikita Kalorib from CARE in Vanuatu mentioned that, ‘even though feminism is a new word to us in Vanuatu, the movement is historical and on going.’
The forum created such an empowering space for everyone to share their opinions! The outcome statement which Dr Astrid Kersten from HCDI put together, will help guide and hopefully create a stronger and more meaningful foundation to support the women’s movement in Vanuatu.
16 Days of Activism (DoA)
The 16 DoA campaign started on 25 November! The communications team at Sista, along with several other Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) and governmental departments, came together at Independence Park field to launch the annual campaign and acknowledge the theme, ‘UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls ‘. The comms team at Sista have also taken to the social media platforms to help spread awareness during the campaign, by re-sharing 16 DoA campaigns from the previous years such as Rod Blong Jenis and Rispek Hemi Honorobol. And on 29 November, which is International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, SISTA was recognised by the Australian High Commission for the work done to empower women and raise awareness on issues affecting women and girls in Vanuatu.
Donation by Stephanie Mahuk
The team at Sista would like to thank Stephanie Mahuk for her generous support.
We used some of her donation to purchase 3 filing cabinets, 2 shelves, a five tier book case for the Vanuatu Feminist Library, and stationary and cashbox for the finance and project team. These items have created a positive shift in the office space at Sista as it has given us the opportunity to organise and store things better.
Thank you again Stephanie for your continuous support with the work we do at Sista!
Jane Spitz Visit
The team at Sista have had the privilege of meeting Jane Spitz who uses her skills and experience through filming to end inequality and injustice for women and children. She traveled all the way from Canada to Vanuatu and offered to shoot a film to uncover Sista’s journey. This film will include positive impacts of different projects and initiatives that have been carried out in the Sista organization over the years. The team at Sista would like to thank Jane for her time, effort and vibrant energy she brought to our office and wish her all the best in her future endeavors!
This month, the finance team has assisted the project and comms team to prepare budget activity for the NFF event.
Sista has engaged an Operational Consultant, Tiffany Peters, to support the Finance team to establish and strengthen Sista’s overall operational processes. Tiffany has developed a budget forecast for 2023 which will be very helpful for the Finance team next year.
In addition to that, we have purchased some filing cabinets for the Finance department, thanks to our wonderful donor, Stef Mahuk!
We have also finally received the 20% tranche payment from Fiji Women’s Right Movement for the Sexual Harassment project that was implemented in March until July this year.
Dissolution of old board and development of new board
Sista officially registered in 2019 and as of 2022, the original board has fully dissolved from November 4th 2022, with many moving forward to be part of the Advisory Committee, which Sista will include in its governance in its restructure in 2023.
The original board dissolved fully in 2022 with some members resigning in past years due to personal reasons (leaving the country, conflict of interest, etc) and others for competing priorities such as heavy workload.
As of December 2022, the new board is still being put together after meeting in person and virtually on November 10th 2022. Personal IDS and documents are still being gathered before the board meets again in February 2022 for the first official meeting.
Board governance and strengthening is made possible with the support of the We Rise Coalition
Finalization of Human Resource Consultancy
Sista is pleased to finally announce we finished our Human Resource (HR) consultancy with Carmen Meyer and it’s been a wonderful learning journey for everyone. It gave us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of policies and procedures to ensure effective, transparent and accountable governance. We have now updated our policies, manuals and contracts including our organizational structure to ensure they reflect Sista’s feminist values, Vanuatu labour laws and donor requirements. Who knew HR could be so exciting!? On a serious note, it really is, because it ensures sustainability of the organization and sets us up to enable strategic and succession planning. This consultancy was made possible with support of CARE in Vanuatu.
Sista hired Tiffany Peters for an operational consultancy to establish and strengthen appropriate operational processes and practices. Her primary role has been to coordinate the relevant departments to ensure that the business component of SISTA runs smoothly and align the finance department, human resources, information technology, compliance, communications and administration.
This organizational strengthening is made possible by We Rise Coalition and Ambassade de France.
Development of organizational strengthening activities, project timeline and donor finance tracker for 2023
As we held our first board meeting with new board members, and were undergoing two consultancies for HR and Operations, we also developed a list of organizational strengthening activities for the year 2023. This includes report writing workshops, team building exercises, PSEAH and CP refreshers and much more! We also developed a timeline on all the projects we are rolling out and a tracker of all our donor grants and reporting timelines. Every month we feel ourselves getting stronger as an organization and it all comes down to PLANNING, COMMUNICATION, DELEGATION AND TEAMWORK!
Menstrual cup campaign
Sista is thrilled to receive a new grant from Ambassade de France and is developing a campaign to open a new dialogue and direction on menstrual health and hygiene management in Vanuatu that provides an alternative option to promote dignity and good practice in hygiene. Keep your eye out in the coming months for the campaign and distribution of menstrual cups!
Sista would like to inform the public that our office will be officially closing on the 16th of December at 12:00PM until the 9th of January 2023.
We are wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2023!!