CARE Vanuatu has released a short film to share its experience of using a local approach to disaster recovery to help the people of South Pentecost rebuild after Tropical Cyclone Harold.

Produced with the support of the United States Government, The Solution is Local film aims to provide other responders with insight into the challenges and successes of the shelter recovery approach CARE used in South Pentecost, which focused on local resources and knowledge sharing. The film can be viewed at

In the aftermath of TC Harold, shelter was one of the most urgent needs for the people of South Pentecost. It was also one of the hardest needs for humanitarian responders to meet.

With the support of the US Government, International Organisation of Migration through the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, International Hotels Group, Shelterbox, the European Union, and the Australian Government through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership, CARE Vanuatu’s response put localisation into practice at every level to overcome the challenges of responding to disaster in such a remote location.

CARE supported people from local communities to draw on their traditional knowledge, and supported knowledge sharing from other islands about how to use the limited resources that were available on the ground after the cyclone, such as using coconut leaves for roofing.

CARE’S Recovery Program Manager Jill Aru says training Shelter Focal Points to teach others in their community to build back safer was an important part of the approach.

“We taught people to learn how to make their houses stronger and safer by following the Vanuatu Shelter Cluster’s key messages, and distributed materials such as nails, saws and chainsaws to allow them to process the building materials in their own community,” Ms Aru says.

“Local skills and knowledge are absolutely critical to recovery after a disaster – and being better prepared to face future disasters.”

CARE also encouraged women in communities to play an active role in shelter recovery, with 40% of trained Shelter Focal Points being women.

“In the future if another disaster hits us, now that people have received this training they can help their community,” says Peter Watas, Chief and Chairman of the South Pentecost Malpangpang Area Council.

Visit to see the film.