PC: Adorina Massing

The 6th International Day of Rural Women commemorated yesterday (Monday) has reminded rural women and girls in Vanuatu about their role in building community resilience given their functions in essential sectors that livelihoods depends on such as agriculture, fisheries, livestock and water.

Rural women of Efate and nearby offshore islands who are members of the Silae Vanua Market Vendors Association that grew out of the UN Women’s Market for Change (M4C) Program organised a celebration at Teouma to mark the event.

Rural women are at the forefront when natural resources and agriculture are threatened by climate change, worsening the existing barriers of empowerment and equality, said the UN Women Vanuatu Country Programme Coordinator, Betty Zinner Toa.


“Climate change affects women’s and men’s assets and well-being differently in terms of agricultural production, food security, health, water and energy resources, climate-induced migration and conflict, and climate related natural disasters,” she said.

“However, when you give a rural woman a voice, allow her to participate in decision-making power, give her access to productive resources and assets, public services, such as education and health care, and infrastructure, including water and sanitation, compensating her unpaid labour and share her responsibilities, she is fearless in the face of climate change.

“For us at UN women, supporting and ensuring that rural women, have the opportunity to improve their lives and advance economically is foundational for all of our work in Vanuatu through the M4C project.

“Women are powerful agents to address climate at scale. They are key actors in building community resilience and responding to climate-related disasters.

“They tend to make decisions about resource use and investments in the interest and welfare of their children, families and communities.”.international-rural-womens-day-vanuatu-2019

‘Rural women and girls building climate resilience’ is the global theme of this year’s International Day for Rural Women.

Both the Area Administrator of the Shefa Provincial Government Council (SPGC), Allen Sope, and the representative from the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs, Freddy Boblang, commended rural women and girls for their contribution to the national and global sustainable development plans in ensuring food security, reducing poverty and non-communicable diseases.

President of the Silae Vanua Market Vendors Association, Rachel Metak, said the event is special for them as it promotes women empowerment and recognizes their contribution to enhancing rural economies.

She thanked the governments of Australian and Canada and UNDP for their continuous assistance, including SHEFA Province and the host community.