It’s almost the end of the year! 

 With upcoming deadlines, preparation for upcoming events, and continuous networking, the team at Sista powered through September. 

 Throughout this month, the Communications team shared content from our earlier projects funded by the Spotlight Initiative – Rod blong Jenis, Rispek Hemi Honorobol and Stanap Strong Akensem Vaelens. A handful of videos were selected under each project to be shared again on Sista’s Facebook page, Instagram story and TikTok account. This was to highlight the work that has been done and refocus the publics attention to the Stanap Strong (hyperlink this) website as the team have been in the process of revamping it for Phase 2. Keep your eye out for it! 

 Sista’s Project Coordinator provided immense support with the Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP) this month. As part of the YWLP team, she assisted in organizing the mentorship session, where powerhouse panelists had a storian with the YWLP participants, the closed forum, where the YWLP participants shared their experiences, highlights and challenges throughout the program, the open forum, where the YWLP participants listened to keynote speakers, and of course the long-awaited graduation.  

 The Project Coordinator also played a huge role in organizing and preparing for the Nation Builders book launch with Balance of Power (BOP). She made sure that all the printing, from the portraits for the exhibition to the book itself, was ready and in line with everyone’s expectations, she was in constant communication with the graphic designer ensuring the book layout was completed on time and so much more. The team was fortunate to have also found an Event Coordinator for the launch. Venda Moses from V&K Wedding and Event Planner oversaw organising the whole event, from procuring a fridge for the caterers to use, to bringing in a decoration team, she went all out for this event! And we couldn’t have been more pleased with how it all went – if you’re ever looking to hire someone to plan your event, Venda’s your girl! 

 Towards the end of the month, Sista’s Executive Director (ED), Communications & Advocacy Coordinator and We Rise Coalition’s (WRC) Communications Officer, were in preparation for the WRC Strategic Planning Retreat in Nadi, Fiji. The retreat dates have been confirmed for 9 – 13 October 2023. 

 Sista’s ED also had the wonderful opportunity to meet and speak with Louisa Hall, Aotearoa New Zealand Ambassador for Gender Equality in the Pacific. We are grateful that Sista was recognized and invited into this space, and we look forward to many more opportunities like this. 

 This month we celebrated International Equal Pay Day to acknowledge the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value, and shine light on the structural unequal power relations between women and men. We want to live in a world that’s fair and it takes the effort of the entire world community to do just that. 

 The team at Sista also received a generous donation from P&O Cruises! Adrian and Lynne from P&O came to deliver the chairs and tables themselves and we are truly grateful – tankio tumas P&O Cruises! 

We also bid farewell to the wonderful Sarah Freeman! Some of you may know Sarah from the organisation she runs, Gate Minds Over the last eight weeks, she has been supporting the team at Sista as the Support Program Manager.

She has assisted the team with our various projects, like the Strong Mama Program, Nation Builders II: Celebrating Women in the Private Sector and the Sikmun Storian booklet! She has been a great addition to the team and we’re going to miss her around the office. Thank you, Sarah we appreciate your support with us at Sista and we look forward to working with you again soon!

Online we were glad to see several different national and regional events take place. Like the Diva for Equality in Fiji public webinar where they spoke about ‘Love in a time of Ecocide: how do we talk and act from love, in such a time?’, the Vanuatu Made Trade-show, the Panel of Peers workshop held by the Office of the Public Service Commission, the Safe and Equal Online Spaces Symposium held in Fiji – we were glad to see Vanuatu was represented by one of CARE’s staff – the Pacific Women Lead Annual Reflection and Analysis Workshop held in Fiji, and the Vanuatu’s Human Rights Committee’s first consultation on the Universal Periodic Review. 

A lot happened of things were achieved and learnt in September, keep reading to find out what else we got up to!


Lillyrose Welwel – Sista Gat Style, Vanuatu Daily Post 

In September, we are celebrating the lovely Lillyrose Welwel!   

 Having worked in the media industry for over 10 years, Lilly brings a wealth of knowledge to the table as the President of Media Association of Vanuatu (MAV).  

 She lives by the quote “treat others the way you want to be treated” and aims to inspire and encourage unity for the young people and Women of Vanuatu through her actions.   

 A true role model, Lilly believes in embracing what makes you unique and having fun with it!  

 #SistaGatStyle #Inspirational #Passionate #Mother #Strong #Humble #Beautiful  

 Wrap up of Young Women’s Leadership Program 2023 – CARE 

Internship Placements 

Internship placements is a key component in the Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP), and it is led by Sista.  

 The overall purpose of the internship placement is to create an opportunity for the YWLP participants to gain work experience in a professional working environment. They’re provided with the opportunity to learn new skills, build their professional knowledge, and boost their confidence.  

 The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce played an important role in this activity by providing the list of potential placements in the private sector that Care and Sista could match the participants to.  

 The internship placement occurred over a period of 20 days, it began on 21st August 2023 and ended on 15th September 2023. During the 4-week placement, Sista made weekly visits to support both the interns and host organisations. There were a few challenges experienced during the internship placement, but this didn’t stop any of them from continuing their internship. Major highlights for the team were that two of the YWLP interns were offered a full-time job after their internship placement, 5 host organisations recommend their interns as potential employees and they agreed that their interns were of great assistance and/or exceeded their expectations.  

 A big thank you to Fine Food Limited, Yumi Wok, Pacific Advisory, Casino 21, Rapid Electric, Care and Sista for providing their works spaces for the YWLP interns.

Mentorship Session
On the 22nd of September 2023, Sista’s Executive director, Project Coordinator and Communications & Advocacy Officer attended the YWLP Mentorship session with partners from CARE. The topic of the session was Intergenerational dialogue. 

 This event was organized for the YWLP Participants to be part of discussions and listen to the experiences from Anthea Arukole, a Port Vila Municipal Councilor, and Dawn Ruben, who was part of one of Sista’s programs in 2021. The two women shared their knowledge and experiences from the challenges they faced going through their years of building their working ethics.  

 One of the key messages the young women came away with is – don’t wait for space to be created for you – GO and CLAIM IT YOURSELF. The two women spoke about the importance of talking to those who inspire you, creating connections and building your network, seeking knowledge and wisdom from your elders and understanding the importance of doing the small tasks and taking small steps. 

 Thank you to our powerhouse panelists, Anthea Arukole and Dawn Rueben, for making the time to storian with the YWLP participants and share their experiences. 

Final Forums & Graduation 

On Tuesday 26th September 2023, Care facilitated a closed forum with support from Sista. The closed forum was held to give the YWLP participant a space to share their individual challenges, highlights, and experience in this year’s YWLP. These discussions were necessary as it didn’t only allow the participants to reflect on their journey but it will also contribute to how YWLP is conducted in the next phase.  

 Finally, the most exciting part of the program this year was the open forum and Graduation which was held on Wednesday 27th September 2023.  

 The opening forum was opened by Isabel Charlie, Gender Portfolio Manager at Care. Seman Dalesa gave the opening remarks before asking some of the YWLP participants talk about their experience in the program. There were different speakers who spoke on different thematic areas which was great, and it was clear that the participants wanted to learn more from them. Polly Walker from the Stretem Rod blo Justice who spoke about the challenges faced when accessing Justice services, Grace Sese Florie shared her experience in Women in business as the owner and Manager of Mojech Construction and Telstar Jimmy from Balance of Power who shared her journey in literature. The Open forum ended with group discussions on these thematic areas.  

 This was followed by the long-awaited graduation! Families and friends came to witness this important moment of this year’s cohorts who are now YWLP alumni. Congratulations again to all our #YoungLeaders this year, we look forward to seeing you all grow in your leadership journeys! 

 We acknowledge the Australian Government through DFAT for their continuous support with the YWLP. The program has shaped very confident young leaders in Vanuatu.  


Working Group for piloting Men’s Project – CARE 

On 21st September 2023, Sista’s Executive Director, Comms & Advocacy Coordinator and Project Coordinator, attended the first working group meeting for a new project that Care is designing.  

 The Men’s Project looks at similar activities carried out in the YWLP but it’s for men. They’ve designed it in a way so that it’s rolled out at a similar time as the YWLP, and it’s been created in the hopes that the program, and the male participants, will help support and strengthen what is currently being carried out with the YWLP participants. 

 The meeting was just an opportunity for CARE to hear each organization’s feedback and get a better understanding of what needs to be done to strengthen their current design. We look forward to hearing more about this project in coming months! 


Nation Builders: Celebrating Women in the Private Sector – Balance of Power 

 The Project team managed to collect all stories through interviews which were done face to face, through phone calls for those who reside on another island and through answer sheets. This month, all stories were completed and approved, ready to be put in the book. Most of the stories have been edited, there were only a few that were still in the process of editing, but all stories should be complete by the first week of October.

The launch date for the Nation Builders booklet has been confirmed for Thursday 12th October 2023, and so the team tried their best to have all the exhibition pieces and the booklet ready for the launch. The team met with Madame Christian Russet on the 19th of September at Tana Russet to talk about the venue of the launch and exhibition – big thanks to Madame Christian Russet for providing us a space, FREE of charge, at Tana Russet for the launch and the two-week exhibition! The team has been working with the printers to get quotes and print some of the women’s portraits on canvases. The events Coordinator – V&K Wedding & Event Planner, and Caterers – Pacific Catering, were also communicated to start planning for the event. 


Sikmun Storian supported by Amabassade de France 

 This month was spent finalizing the graphic designs and putting all the stories together. Keep an eye out for this powerful book as it’ll be out in coming weeks! 


Strong Mama Program: Nutrition Booklet Design supported by FRIDA Fund 

 For the third cycle of the Strong Mama Program this year, Sista collaborated with Penpena Mouri to engage with the Port Vila City Council of Women’s network of single mothers to participate in the program. The program started and closed with a women’s circle hosted by Tehya Skye Vanuatu, followed by workshops that explored nutrition, meditation and yoga with Ananda Yoga.  

The participants took what they learned from these sessions to develop their own recipes and self-care tips. All of which will be put together in a booklet! This month the Communications team worked on designing this Nutrition Booklet that will also contain their self-care tips.  

 We believe that this booklet will be a way to encourage other mothers to cook healthy nutritious meals and generate discussions around the importance of healthy eating as a form of self-care. Watch this space as the booklet will be available soon! 


Spotlight initiative: Implementation of Phase 2

In September the Human Capacity Development International (HCDI) phase 2 Spotlight Initiative team mobilized to carry out consultations and start work on revamping the website.

Guilaine Nauni joined the spotlight team as the Spotlight Consultations support officer to help schedule, carry out consultations and compile the new resources collected from all the different organizations that have done consultations with the spotlight team.  

 Polina Hapi, who is Sista’s IT support person, is working with the Spotlight team as the Website designer who will be working with the team to revamp Stanap Strong website. Initial meetings regarding the website design changes have taken place and several core features of the website have changed for maneuverability and accessibility for site visitors. 

 The Sista and HCDI Executive Directors carried out a meeting with the Malvatumauri council of Chiefs where the Malvatumauri council of Chief’s CEO, Jean Pierre Tom described the work of the Chiefs in communities as guided by the council and the willingness of the council to work with NGO’s to combat GBV in communities.  

 A communications strategy has been developed by the Sista Communications and advocacy team to help promote and showcase the resources on the website. Additionally, a survey on the Stanap website has been created and circulated to key stakeholders, partners, and on social platforms for the public to help quantify the reach of the website. 

 HCDI has compiled a list of summaries for all resources on the website currently and for those without descriptions as well as the new resources that have been collected during the last few weeks of consultation. These resources have all been uploaded onto the Stanap Strong Website.

 The team faced some difficulty in securing consultations with major stake holders and other NGO’s and CBO’s working in the Gender Based Violence space, but continuous efforts are still being made in securing a time for consultation for sharing of resources with consideration to the availability of these bodies. The team has extended flexible consultation times and methods with a face to face, email, google meet or zoom option available for this. 

 Despite the challenges, the Spotlight team continues forward adapting to these challenges and has set a date for Spotlight events in October.  


We Rise Coalition Website Design 

 In September work on putting together the demo website began with the preference provided by each of the Coalition partners in mind.  

 A database was created for all the coalition partners and will be used to collate all the information and resources from each of the partners. This database will translate onto the website itself. The WRC Communications and Advocacy Coordinator has reached out to the partners to collect fundamental information regarding projects to put into this database and in support of this efforts, she is currently reading the past reports of the WRC. Polina Hapi is the Website designer that will support her in building this website. 

 The WRC Comms Coordinator also met with the Communications and Content Coordinator of the International Women’s Development Agency, Annelise Lecordier. The two discussed the upcoming WRC retreat and how to utilize it to create content for the WRC platforms but also how it will help in the website development. 

 In anticipation of the retreat, a demo of the WRC website has been created to present to partners.  

Other News

Awaken Your Inner Champion – FRIDA Fund  

 The Executive Director attended the eight-week program “Awaken Your Inner Championship” from August 2nd – September 23rd to inspire a healthy work/life balance. Hosted by Tu Pham and Steve Andersson, the program worked to build strength, harmony and wisdom physically, emotionally and mentally through mind-body yoga, nutrition, inner healing, champion mindset tools and practices to promote high performance. Thank you, Steve and Tu, for supporting the ED in her journey as a working mother.  


P&O Donation  

On Monday 25 September 2023, Sista received a generous donation from P&O Cruises!
Adrian Mooney and P&O’s Public Relations and Media Communications Lead, Lynne, came into the office to hand over six chairs and two side tables.

Thank you, P&O, we appreciate the tremendous support! We can’t wait to use these assets in our upcoming projects. 


New Zealand Gender Equality Ambassador Meeting 

On 29th September 2023, Sista’s Executive Director was grateful to have been invited to meet Louisa Hall, Aotearoa New Zealand Ambassador for Gender Equality in the Pacific.

It was an intimate gathering to explore gender issues and share Sista’s work with Ambassador Hall at the residence of the New Zealand High Commissioner in Vanuatu with other partners working in the gender space.

We look forward to progressing Gender Equality in Vanuatu with our Aoteroa siSTARS! 


Finance Consultant Support 

On the 15th of September, the finance team had a full day training with our finance consultant, Marilou Cajot. Before that, we spent a half day going through the operations manual which the Executive Director and Finance and HR Manager gave their final feedback and comments to Marilou before we finalized the operations manual.  

End of Financial Year with CARE  

This month also marks the end of the Sista’s financial year with its partner CARE International. Sista and CARE have been working together as long term strategic allies in support of gender equality in Vanuatu since 2021. Thank you CARE for this wonderful year!