The women of remote Western Santo are demonstrating sustainable livelihoods through an environment-focused locally led gender empowerment program.
Now one year and three months after the devastating impact of Cyclone Harold, Western Santo has seen almost no external recovery support. Thus Women have stepped up and shown their resilience and taken the lead in repairing houses, replanting gardens and finding ways to generate sustainable income.
This week, the Santo Sunset Environment Network (SSEN) handed over prizes acknowledging the incredible craftsmanship of local women in weaving pandanus products. Pandanus grows well in dry places like Western Santo, can live in sandy soil conditions, and doesn’t require forest clearing. After a hugely popular recent tradeshow in Luganville, Western Santo women were able to generate over 260,000vatu in profits from their pandanus products, including an additional 300 orders for more items. The most popular woven items were unique feathered fans, colourful laundry baskets, backpacks, shoes, turtles and fish, and even woven diaper covers.