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Project report

Empower women to be community leaders in Vanuatu Vanuatu , RUN BY: CARE Australia | STATUS: COMPLETED

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 17,510

Raised from 5,013 people

Project Background

In Vanuatu, three quarters of the population lives in rural areas and on remote islands – many lack access to clean water, education and essential healthcare. Women and girls are most disadvantaged by poverty as cultural norms and high rates of violence limit their opportunity to attend school, earn an income or share in community decision-making.

  • 60% of all women in Vanuatu are the survivors of physical and/or sexual violence.
  • 31% of women nationally reported being sexually abused under the age of 15 years.
  • Vanuatu has the highest rate of child marriage in the Pacific. 9% of girls are married before the age of 15 and 27% are married before they turn 18.

With your support, CARE’s Leftemap Sista II project has supported 1,255 people (including 937 women and 318 men) to ease their poverty and live free from violence and abuse.

CARE provided life-saving community services and support, as well as developing networks that give women better access to finance, education and essential healthcare. As a result, these women will have the skills and confidence to step into leadership positions and participate meaningfully in decision-making at all levels, with the support of the men in their communities. Together, we are giving these women and girls a powerful means of overcoming poverty and abuse, so they can lead healthy, happy lives.

Key Project Activities

  • Provided technical support to eight Women's Economic Livelihood (WEL) groups, and two Village Saving and Loans Association (VSLA) groups completed a second cycle share out, providing economic support to families. VSLA groups were established in seven communities 
  • Family Financial Management (FFM) training was delivered to 53 participants, and overnight stay methodology was implemented in five communities for reflection and learning.
  • Held two community dialogue sessions for feedback and reflection from leaders, and Finding Your Voice training was delivered in Lounara to 24 participants with an updated manual to ensure inclusiveness. 
  • Delivered Good Relationships Free from Violence (GRFV) training to 40 people, and a GRFV animation video was piloted in two communities. The GRFV manual was adapted into five short episodes and broadcast on radio.
  • Delivered Menstrual Health and Hygiene management workshops in seven communities.
  • Provided technical support to partner Live & Learn Solomon Islands (LLSI) 
  • Provided support to YWCA for conducting fraud investigations, including recommendations for strengthening their organizational operations.
  • Established a virtual learning exchange between local partners on FFM, and completed an end-of-project formative evaluation. 
  • Supported the Ministry of Health for COVID-19 response through provision of supplies.

Key Project Outcomes

The Leftemap Sista II project has promoted respect and equality in relationships, improving women's confidence, income, and leadership skills, and enhancing community services. The project has trained 254 people in gender issues and equal rights, held community dialogue sessions, and provided Good Relationships Free from Violence (GRFV) training. Evaluation of the GRFV training has shown improved awareness and understanding of healthy relationships and prevention of violence against women and girls.

Finding Your Voice training ensured inclusiveness, provided financial services to 381 people, and established new Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) groups in seven communities, including 198 members with total savings of approximately AUD $40,175. A high proportion of Women’s Economic Livelihood (WEL) group members have become members of VSLAs. The project has also involved 15 people with disabilities.

Sustainable measures have been established through reflection and learning workshops involving 215 people from five communities. The evaluation has shown that the project has empowered women and young women to engage in economic activities and achieve improved income-generating activities, including diversification and effectiveness. The project has provided technical support on handicrafts and agriculture, good governance training, Foundational Leadership training, Family Financial Management training, and GRFV training.

Community Involvement

This project has focused on educating women, men, youth and community leaders to change the social norms and ensure sustainability at the community level. Overall, the evaluation findings suggest that the project has made progress towards ending violence against women and girls while also highlighting the importance of long-term interventions for promoting changes to traditional cultural norms that define and maintain inequitable gender relations.

In the past year, seven communities were educated in Menstrual Health and Hygiene management. 

Prior to the COVID-19 community outbreak, the team was ready to support the rollout of a new methodology for inclusive community-led advocacy activities in all project communities. When this approach became impossible due to COVID-19 public health restrictions, the team adapted the Good Relationships Free from Violence (GRFV) manual into 5 short episodes for broadcasting over radio. Episodes were broadcast through FM104 (Tafea community radio reaching communities 100% of west Tanna and 70% of central, west, south, southwest and north Tanna & south Erromango). This alternative approach provided excellent reach to communities (within and beyond the project target communities).

What’s Next?

The project’s strong focus on implementation in partnership with Vanuatu Government and local community support officers will also support the sustainability of the project outcomes. Project activities were all done in the context of the broader goals of project partners and participants were given a say in how activities were implemented – all aimed at the work continuing in FY23 under Pacific Partnerships for Gender Equality project.

The new Pacific Partnerships for Gender Equality project – operating from July 2022 to June 2027 – will continue to extend on this progress by developing community-led versions of this project’s activities in the context of stronger relationships with local authorities. 


With your support, Leftemap Sista II has supported women and girls in Vanuatu's southernmost province, Tafea, to feel confident, respected, and safe as leaders and decision-makers. 

The Australian Government funded Disaster Ready project complements this support by recognizing Vanuatu's vulnerability to environmental disasters. Being part of these groups has provided new spaces for women to take on leadership roles in their communities, as well as creating big changes at home, including more equal roles in decisions on family finances.

Margaret Rasai, from Tanna Island, describes the impact of her involvement in both the Leftemap Sista and Disaster Ready programs, saying, "The Foundational Leadership workshop has made me realize that I am confident in my leadership abilities. I can lead other women in my community to come up with initiatives that will support our community."

Margaret describes her husband as her biggest support, encouraging her to attend CARE activities. After the Family Financial Management workshop, which she attended with her son, Margaret returned home to discuss budgeting as a family. Subsequently, she established a fish nursery as an additional source of income, and she now teaches the skills she learned in the workshops to other women in her community who cannot attend themselves.

The project has empowered the women in her community—something that Margaret sees as just the start of better things to come. She says, "Women in our community support development. We work with men to make changes in our community because men cannot make a change by themselves."

By empowering women like Margaret, you helped break patterns of poverty and abuse and gave them the opportunity for healthier and happier lives.

How was it this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
World Nomads Canada
Travel Insurance Direct AU
Travel Insurance Direct NZ
World Nomads Australia
World Nomads NZ
World Nomads UK
World Nomads Global
World Nomads Europe
World Nomads Ireland
CARE Australia

CARE is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. As a non-religious and non-political organisation, CARE works with communities to help overcome poverty by supporting development and providing emergency relief where it is needed most.

Last year, CARE assisted 122 million people across 84 countries through 1,015 poverty-fighting projects.