SHEFA Provincial Government Council (SPGC), the United Nations (UN) Women, and the Silae Vanua Market Vendors Association hosted a 2-day celebration in Mangaliliu Village, starting on Monday, October 16, 2023, to honour International Day of Rural Women.

First Secretary to the Australian High Commission, Ms Stephanie Kimber, who stood in for the Australian High Commissioner, reflected on why it is essential to celebrate women living in the rural areas.

The global theme for this day is “Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All,” but in Vanuatu, the local theme is “Protecting our local food.” This local theme is particularly important in Vanuatu because the country often faces natural disasters. However, rural women play a vital role in ensuring there’s enough food for families even after these disasters.

In Vanuatu, many women in rural areas are growing and selling food at local markets. This shows how important women and girls are in making sure Vanuatu has enough food, especially during tough times.

The Acting Secretary General (SG) of SPGC, Liah John Kaltoi, spoke about SPGC’s plan to empower women in SHEFA Province. They want to help women in rural areas do well in their businesses because it not only helps their families but also boosts the country’s economy.

She also mentioned that women in rural areas face many challenges. Some don’t have the resources or money to start businesses, and they might not have access to education or training. Sadly, some of them also face violence and abuse at home. Climate change is making things even harder for them because they’re often the ones looking after their families.

SPGC is working with different groups, especially the government, to help women in rural areas with their challenges.

The International Day of Rural Women usually happens on October 15, and it’s just a one-day event. But in Vanuatu, they made it a 2-day celebration with stalls where mothers could sell their food and products.

This 2-day event ended yesterday.