Ruth-AmosVan2017’s mascot Nasi is observing the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, February 11.

The aim is to promote the full and equal participation of women and girls in education, training, employment and decision-making processes in the field of science.

Nasi the Nasiviru honours Vanuatu role model for future women and girls in Science – Ruth Amos.

This is her story.

Personal Background

My name is Ruth Amos (née Kanas). I was born at the Presbyterian Memorial Hospital (PMH) on Iririki Island on Efate in July 1967.

I am married to Moses Amos, formerly the Director of Fisheries but who is currently the Director of Fisheries, Aquaculture, Marine Environment (FAME) at SPC in Noumea, New Caledonia. We have three children. My parents are the late Euan Jack Kanas from Siviri Village, North Efate and Eveline Ellen Kanas (née Maelalo) from Malaita, Solomon Islands. My father worked in the Agriculture Department before Independence and then after Independence as a Quarantine Officer until his retirement in 1998.  My mother worked as a nurse and then as a Nursing tutor until her retirement in 1992.

I am the eldest of five children. I have two sisters and two brothers:  Jane Kanas, Beverleigh Joshua, MP Jerry Kanas and Tony Kanas.

Educational background

I attended British Primary School (currently Port Vila Central School) in the 1970s. From 1980 to 1986 I attended Malapoa College.  In Form Upper 5 we sat the Cambridge ‘O’ levels.  The subjects I took were: English, Mathematics, Home Economics, Physical Science (Physics & Chemistry), Biology and Geography. I earned a Division 1 pass which was the highest pass one could earn in those days for that Certificate.

While at Malapoa College I gained a scholarship to study in New Zealand through the NZODA program. I attended Form 7 at New Plymouth Girls High School where I gained University Entrance to study at the University of Otago in Dunedin in the South Island. I graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Chemistry in 1991.  In 2001, I pursued Post Graduate studies at the University of the South Pacific and graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Chemistry.  The area of my focus was in Natural Products Chemistry.

Why did I choose to study science?

In high school I decided to study science for two reasons, one, because I initially wanted to work in the medical field and two, six years after independence, there were no women studying pure sciences. A few had attempted but were not successful as they found it too hard.  At University, my interests drifted from the medical field to chemistry.  I decided to focus on chemistry because it fascinated me.

Finding a job that can use my qualification

In the early ’90s, there was nothing in Vanuatu that would be able to use the chemistry knowledge I had apart from the teaching field. I decided that rather than waste my qualification, I should keep it alive by teaching the subject. I taught Chemistry at a variety of educational institutions such as Malapoa College, USP, Matevulu College and the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education (VITE).  I enjoyed teaching and communicating my knowledge and seeing students make sense of chemistry.

After 20 years in the teaching service I made a bold decision to leave and apply my knowledge elsewhere. In my current job I am able to apply all those science concepts that I had been teaching students all those years to real and relevant issues in trade.  I now work as the Manager of the Food Technology Development Centre and Analytical Unit.  This Unit is part of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business.  I enjoy being able to assist the industry sector of Vanuatu by using my knowledge in science and the skills learnt in the science field.


I have always loved challenges. I try to find the positive side in every challenge.  Sometimes the negative seems to outweigh the positive, but if you give yourself enough time to ponder the situation you will be surprised how much you can learn from it.  If something does not work out now, be patient, never give up, it may not be the right time.  Challenges change your outlook on life and make you see life from another perspective.

Advice to young Ni-Vanuatu women

I would like to encourage young women to have a goal in life and work towards achieving it. Do not let challenges in life make you give up from pursuing your goals.  Do something that you are interested in and love.  Martin Luther King, the great African-American civil rights leader said “I HAVE A DREAM…” so what is your dream?

It is a joy and a proud moment for Vanuatu when we can see young Ni-Vanuatu women overcome major challenges to become scientists, pilots, doctors, mechanics, engineers and many more other professions that 36 years ago was just a dream for the fathers of independence.

Listen to good and sound advice and act on them. Surround yourself with successful people and above all respect your parents, teachers and elders.  They have been through life and are in the best position to advise you.  Above all, never forget to pray and read your Bible.

Van2017 is pleased to join the celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and encourages females to study Science, Maths & Engineering for rewarding careers in Technology fields.

– Van2017 Marketing & Communications