World Water Day


Praise Water, Praise Woman

Woman Vanuatu is the rain

That falls on the crops

Which feed the home


Woman Vanuatu is the river

That runs through villages

Used to wash and cook


Woman Vanuatu is the ocean

That connects the islands

Which define Ni-Vanuatu culture

And unite the people


Like water,

We assume that Woman Vanuatu will always give

Even when we take too much from her spring

And dry her rivers and pollute her seas


Like water,

We expect Woman Vanuatu to flow,

To heal, to nourish,

To run from the tap,

And to be available whenever we need


Like water,

We do not realize her worth

Until she is no longer there.


Without water

Without woman

How can we sustain life?


Praise water

Praise woman

Who carry the power of life.


Selection of poetry from the collection Art Blong Mi, Heart Blong Mi by Yasmine Bjornum, featuring at Alliance de Francaise for International Women’s Day 2018.

This poem was inspired after I met a woman in North Tanna who would walk several kilometers everyday with her toddler and infant to collect water. She only had enough to wash her children before using the same water to wash herself. The little that was left was used for cooking. With limited access to water, women face hardships that are disproportionate to men and these experiences are often associated with socially constructed gender roles. As Vanuatu faces the impacts of climate change, we need to ensure that gender is integrated into policies and programming to address these inequalities – YB.