Two months left of 2021!

Workshops, workshops, workshops! Yes there were quite a few workshops this month, some we lead and some we attended! But that’s not all we did, just like previous months, October has was quiet a busy month for the Sista. The Finance team were hard at work doing what they need to do, our project officers were hard at work on the ‘Journey to change’ project. Also prepping and planning for the annual campaign 16 Days Of Activism, so stay tuned to see what we do!

The highlight of this month was sending our two Project Officers to Santo to conduct interviews with stakeholders on Gender Based Violence & Intimate Partner Violence. This was the first time that Sista has sent a Project team to the outer islands. The more this year draws closer to the end, we can’t help but look back to how Sista first began and how far we have come! Although we were happy this month, we were also sad to say goodbye to our beloved Volunteer HR & Leadership Consultant, Megan Rossiter. It was great to have her in with us these past few months.


Planning and preparation


Spotlight Initiative – ‘Journey to change’ interviews & filming

On October 22nd, our two Project Officers, Rosina Kaimbang and Delta Tjiobang flew to Santo, Luganville.


They were sent to conduct a series of interviews with the head of the Crime Prevention Unit and five Authorized Persons about intimate partner violence. They got down to business and conducted their first interview right after they landed with the head of the crime prevention unit in Luganville. The next day they went to the community of Nambaouk to interview the AP (Authorized Person) based there, the journey was long and tough due to the very  poor road conditions.


To interview their next AP, they went to Fanafo – 0ne of the largest communities in Santo, then to Sarete and finally Wailapa.

The three (3) key questions they asked the head of the crime prevention unit (Luganville) and all the AP’s (Authorized Person) were:

          • What is your role as an AP (Authorized Person) in your community?
          • What kind of challenges do you face doing this kind of work?
          • What do you think are the ways out of intimate partner violence?

All of these AP’s are based in communities that do not have access to the Police. They also have the authority to have an individual arrested for violence. The Family Protection Act helps the Aps (Authorized Person) to provide for an offence of domestic violence and family protection orders in cases of domestic violence, and for related purposes.



All in all our girls enjoyed their trip very much and are content with the information gathered from their interviews. They can honestly say it was quite the adventure! However they pulled through till the end and we are so proud for their leadership on this.

We look forward to sending more of our team to the outer islands to do what we do; INFORM, EMPOWER & ADVCOATE!



YWLP (Young Women’s Leadership Program) – Alumni Advocacy Workshop

On the 12th of October, Sista’s Executive Director Yasmine Bjornum and Communications, Advocacy & Events Officer Umi Nompavos in partnership with CARE, lead a workshop based on Advocacy with the alumni from the YWLP cycle’s Alumni ranging from the first to the third YWLP cycle. The workshop was held at the conference room at the Public Library.

Throughout the workshop we refreshed the girls memory on what Advocacy was and further elaborated on the topic. We asked the participants; what is something you would like to change and what could you do to provoke this change? We then went around the room for each girl to answer the question then gave them a piece of paper each so they can write down more of the change they want and their ideas.

The main issue we saw that came up with a lot of them was that they feel like most girls gossip about each other, instead of uplifting one another and gender inequality. As 16 Days Of Activism is coming up, we informed the girls that we could provide some assistance if they wanted to get involved in the campaign.


Feminism workshop – YWLP (Young Women’s Leadership Program)

On October 7th and 8th Sista held its first ever workshop on feminism in partnership with CARE in Vanuatu’s 4th cycle of their YWLP (Young Women’s Leadership Program) participants. Supported by the Australian Government through CARE’s Gender Equality Together program, it aims to build women’s leadership skills, develop their confidence and amplify their voice and influence in their communities through specialized workshops and one-on-one mentoring from established women leaders.
This year the program welcomes 40 new young women, twice the amount compared to last year’s cohort! CARE in Vanuatu and Sista are excited to be to co-delivering the program together and feminism is just one out of the many workshops the program offers.
Here a couple of topics the workshop explored:
• Understand what feminism is & is not
• What does feminism look like in Vanuatu and the Pacific and how it has changed over time?
• Introduction to Grace Mera Molisa and her work (1st Ni-Vanuatu woman to gain a university degree, a senior government post, publish a book and much more…)
• “What it means to be a Feminist in Vanuatu today” by Human Rights Activist & Feminist Stephanie Ephraim Lekal
• Breaking down the myths and misconceptions about Feminism
• Exploring Privilege and Intersectionality in the Feminism context
Women today have the right to an education, voting, equal pay and many more rights because of feminism! We also reminded the participants that feminism fights against Sexism, NOT MEN. Sexism hurts everybody, especially women. So, by talking to these girls about feminism, we are equipping them with an empowering tool that has helped women in the past fight against sexism and will continue to do so in the future.
We would like to thank our partner CARE for giving us the opportunity to INFORM and EMPOWER the next generation of women leaders in Vanuatu!
A feminist is a man or a woman who says, “Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it. We must do better.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie



Intersectionality Workshop


On the 21st of October, our Projects Team Leader attended a workshop on Intersectionality at The Grand, hosted by V-Pride.

Supported by the international LGBT+ rights organization Kaleidoscope Trust with funds from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the workshop was led by Roshika Deo, a Fiji-based gender equality and human rights specialist, and was locally facilitated by Dr. Astrid Kersten, Executive Director of Human Capacity Development International (HCDI). This workshop provided a space for civil society organizations and activists to explore general concepts and principles related to intersectionality.

The morning sessions focused on defining intersectionality and how it relates to human rights, social justice, equality and the NSDP. The afternoon sessions were about the different ways in which intersectionality can be applied in our work, community, or organization to enhance human rights and inclusion for all, making sure that “no one is left behind”.

The highlight of the workshop according to our Projects Team Leader was learning how, we as a feminist NGO, can properly accommodate to all of these intersections that define our many diverse identities when advocating for women & girl’s issues in Vanuatu.

It is important that we recognize the power dynamics and consider the historical, social and political contexts. Intersectionality also helps us to better comprehend how policies, services and laws impacts people.


WaterAid Australia & Mama’s Laef – Galvanizing Action on Menstrual Health Workshop
On International Day of the Girl Child, Mamma’s Laef Vanuatu jointly hosted a Workshop with WaterAid Australia (zooming in from Australia). Sista’s Project Team Leader, Dominique Seagoe and Communications, Advocacy & Events Officer Umi Nompavos attended on behalf of the team and to learn about the issues surrounding the topic.
Organizations in Vanuatu who are or have been working in the menstrual health area, met to discuss how we can collectively progress better outcomes for girls, women, men and boys when it comes to menstrual health.
During the workshop we covered WHAT menstrual health is and is not, just a few months ago, a group of global menstrual health experts through the Global Menstrual Health Collective published a revised definition of menstrual health. It more aligned to the global definition of good health, and it recognizes some of the gaps and areas that MH (Menstrual Health) definition has not previously covered.
The full definition is:  
Menstrual health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to the menstrual cycle 
Achieving menstrual health implies that women, girls, and all other people who experience a menstrual cycle, throughout their life-course, are able to:
  • Access accurate, timely, age-appropriate information.
  • Care for their bodies during menstruation such that their preferences, hygiene, comfort, privacy, and safety are supported.
  • Access timely diagnosis, treatment and care for menstrual cycle-related discomforts and disorders.
  • Experience a positive and respectful environment in relation to the menstrual cycle, free from stigma and psychological distress.
  • Decide whether and how to participate in all spheres of life, free from menstrual-related exclusion, restriction, discrimination, coercion, and/or violence


Mini Literature Festival for ‘Sista, Stanap Strong! (SSS) Women’s Anthology


To celebrate Port Vila International School (PVIS) introducing the SSS anthology into their curriculum today, PVIS held a Mini Literature Festival for the Year 11 students of the school. This wonderful initiative was led by Ms Jane Willey.

Contributors from the anthology including Carol C. Aru, Telstar Jimmy, Roselyn Qwenako Tor, Busi Vasconcellos-Neill, co-editor Rebecca Tobo Olul-Hossen and Sista’s very own Program and Finance Manager Irene Abbock were invited as guests to answer student’s questions and read excerpts of their pieces. We also had Joan Niras from perform her heart-warming song ‘Paran Latan/Tanna Women’ which also features in the book.

‘Sista, Stanap Strong!’ is Vanuatu’s first ever women’s anthology that was launched Friday 25th of June 2021, which is a collection of poetry, fiction, essays, memoirs and songs with a narrative arc that stretches from the days of blackbirding to Independence in 1980 to Vanuatu’s coming of age in 2020, all written by a group of 30 women from Vanuatu.

Thank you PVIS (Port Vila International School) for your support to Ni-Vanuatu literature, we hope that this is the first of many events to come for this movement and inspires young women and men to start writing their own stories as there is room for us all!

ABC COMMS Training


On  October 26th, Sista’s Projects Team Leader along with the Communications, Advocacy & Events officer attended a Communications training facilitated by ABC’s COMMS guru Anthony Stewart via Zoom. The training was informative, quick and simple!

Key points discussed in the training:

    • Grabbing your audience’s attention them in early
    • What is the hook? 
    • Using multiple formats 
    • Photo cards
    • Releasing beginning of video
    • Premiere video: (doesn’t always work)
    • Think of time of day 
    • Identify online risks 
    • Option 1: hiding comments
    • Option 2: disabling comments 
    • Cross posting (E.g. one account posts on YouTube, another account Facebook etc.)
    • What does the audience want? What is the most relevant account?
    • The page the videos should be shared to is the one that reaches the most women
    • How to export statuses
    • Engagement
    • Order of importance: number of likes, number of comments and lastly the number of shares
    • Active engagement
    • Being ready to respond to commentators

    ANALYTICS (How to measure it)

    • Reach: number of people who will have seen the post 
    • Engagement: clicked, like comment
    • Engagement rate reach figure by engagement figure

Sista would like to thank ABC Australia for this opportunity to learn and grow! We are grateful and look forward to learning more from you.


We Rise Coalition Meeting

On October 28th, Sista had a meeting via zoom with the We Rise Coalition. During this meeting the coalition discussed and explored climate change, how the Pacific island is prone to disasters, commission status of women and budget. The sisterhood is learning and growing together!


GO! Cyber Workshop

On the 7th of October our Executive Director and Communications, Advocacy & Events Officer attended another GO! Cyber workshop at the Grand. Lead by CARE, they showed the other stakeholders the first draft of the three (3) video clips, written by the young women who were recruited to attend a series of workshops beginning from November 2020. These workshops were facilitated by Sista and the objective was to find out what issues they face in their online lives and come up with a way to advocate for these issues. They decided to do videos and a booklet to compliment it and give more insight to the videos.

After the videos were shown to the stakeholders, the facilitators (from CARE) gave everyone the opportunity to give any feedback or constructive criticism if there were any. After that we then moved on to discussing the booklet and how it should look. CARE had invited Daryl Abel, a booklet consultant to come in and learn more about the project as we needed his assistance in writing this booklet.


Sista Board meeting


On October 1st, the Sista board came together to review and endorse Sista’s finance manual and Child Protection policy, Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment policy and Fraud policy.

The meeting also approved new changes for Sista’s financial systems including opening another bank account to accommodate a key donor as well as adding the Program and Finance Manager as a signatory. In the new year, Sista will have a new board and we look forward to welcoming them.


Farewell to another Sista team member

In the crazy busy month of October we bade farewell to a beloved member of our team. Megan Rossiter has been our Volunteer HR & Leadership Consultant these past few months.

It was such a pleasure to have her in our office these past few months Megan! Sista thanks you for your service to the movement Megan, you will be dearly missed in the office!