Quick facts

  • 1.2 million people
  • 13.2% living on less than USD $1.90 / day
  • 60% of women have experienced intimate partner violence

Ni-Vanuatu society is founded on strong family and kinship networks. Traditionally these strong family ties, together with the church, provide a social safety net for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Hardship, however, is widespread. The World Risk Index rank Vanuatu #1 exposed country in the world to natural disasters including earthquakes, cyclones and volcanic eruptions. The impact of natural disasters is set to worsen with rising sea levels. The country is experiencing the slow onset of a changing climate affecting crop production and extreme weather conditions. Events such as Cyclone Pam, combined with economic shocks further impact on people’s livelihoods.

Oxfam Australia is working to reduce structural barriers and inequalities that constrain the opportunities and voice of women, young people and people with disability. Overall, our aim is to increase resilience and wellbeing in Vanuatu.

Key areas of work

Effective Leadership and Governance, Resilience and Disaster Response, Sanitation, Gender Equity and Sustainable Livelihoods

One story of change

Port villa, Vanuatu: Launch of Leleon Vanua Party
Jeannette Lini-Bolenga. Photo: Sarah Doyle/OxfamAUS

“We dream of a world where we, as ni-Vanuatu women, can have a real say in the important decisions that shape our lives. Today, we are lighting the way to a brighter and fairer future for the women and girls of Vanuatu.”

Jeannette Lini-Bolenga manages Oxfam in Vanuatu’s Governance, Leadership and Accountability program, and her dreams for ni-Vanuatu women are big and bold for good reason. Right now, Vanuatu is one of three countries with zero participation and representation of women in parliament — but Jeannette wants to change that.

“We’re empowering women and girls to know who they are as Indigenous ni-Vanuatu with the same rights as men and boys in custom, church and as leaders and potential leaders at all levels of decision-making, including in government for policy making and in parliament as legislators,” she says.

With the support of the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), this year the project reached more than 18,000 women through Oxfam’s partners and networks — “women who now know their rights and responsibilities and have greater confidence to accept leadership responsibilities”.

Jeannette couldn’t be prouder of the program’s progress so far. A recent forum, facilitated by Oxfam and attended by more than 100 women leaders, resulted in ni-Vanuatu women delivering an historic Action Plan to the Acting Prime Minister Nerua, calling on the Government to commit to 50% representation for women in the National Parliament.

Jeannette says, “I’m encouraged by the program, its partners and networks, and the women of Vanuatu on these achievements and the new journey for the 2020 general election and beyond.”

Key projects

Australian Humanitarian Partnership: Disaster Ready – Vanuatu

Oxfam Australia is working in Vanuatu through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership’s Disaster Ready program to strengthen resilience, disaster preparedness and response.  This four and a half year program (2018-2022) is working closely with government and three local partners to strengthen resilience at the community level, establish a cash transfer after disasters capability, and enhance humanitarian coordination.

Vanuatu Governance, Leadership and Accountability

Oxfam Australia is supporting civil society organisations in Vanuatu to represent the voice and priorities of women, youth, and people with disabilities to decision makers in order to achieve shared objectives and bring positive changes to their community. This seven year project (2012-2019) is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

Vanuatu Gender Justice, Youth and Livelihoods

Oxfam Australia is working to support gender equality and economic empowerment of women, youth, people with disabilities and LGBTQI+ people in Vanuatu through sustainable livelihoods, equitable access to resources and an enabling policy environment. This three-year project (2016-2019) is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

Pacific Climate Change Collaboration, Influencing and Learning

Oxfam Australia is working to strengthen the influencing capacity of Pacific climate change networks to ensure that action on climate change in the Pacific region and globally is more effective, inclusive and collaborative. This four year project (2018-2022) is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

UnBlocked Cash: Piloting accelerated cash transfer delivery in Vanuatu

Oxfam Australia is developing and testing an innovative multipurpose cash transfer delivery platform using blockchain technology. The aim is to support disaster preparedness and increase the speed, transparency and cost efficiency of delivering cash in Vanuatu and the Pacific. This one year project (2018-2019) is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).




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