PVCC’s youngest councillor, Melanie Aniel Shem

The youngest councillor in the newly elected Port Vila City Council (PVCC), Melanie Aniel Shem, never thought she would be a politician one day.

Speaking with Daily Post this week, 23-year-old Shem said it is a milestone for her family from Aniwa and Efate to have one of their family members as an elected councillor for Vanuatu’s capital. Shem’s father is from Aniwa and her mother is from Efate.

Shem shared that she was trained in Fiji to teach students in the classroom, but never though that she will be a politician one day.

She said her main priority is to serve the needs of her voters who are mainly young people like her, and encourage them to take part in politics and become leaders. The young councillor said if she can become a councillor, other young people can also contest the election. Shem said she became a councillor because she is part of a Youth Association from Central Ward, which constituted her main base during the recent municipal election.

She said after her term as a municipal councillor, her dream is to become a Member of Parliament one day.

Shem was among two other female councillors who were elected in the recent municipal election. There were over 20 female candidates who contested the election.

The Department of Women’s Affairs (DOWA) has welcomed Shem’s election and other two female councillors, acknowledging the government’s initiative to create an avenue for women to take part in decision-making through reserve seats.

The DOWA said Vanuatu has ratified the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and there are obligations that it has to meet.