VSO has been working in Vanuatu for over 40 years, but in recent years work has concentrated on the areas of participation and governance and HIV and AIDS. Because Vanuatu is made up of over 83 islands spread over 1,000 miles, accessing health services, governmental institutions and public information can be a major challenge, especially on the outer lying islands.
Participation and governance
In participation and governance, VSO volunteers are working with government institutions and community agencies to ensure all people in Vanuatu – particularly those who live in the most remote areas and outlying islands – are able to participate fully in society and access their basic rights in terms of education, healthcare, legal entitlement and making their opinions heard in relation to political decision making.
Volunteers are specifically working on improving management processes in community agencies so they are better able to act on behalf of poor communities and work with the government to ensure they are considering poor people, and particularly women, in their policies. In rural communities volunteers are also involved in promoting employment opportunities so that individuals can earn a living and become self-sufficient.
HIV and AIDS
Although only a very small number of cases of HIV infection have so far been reported there is a very high rate of other sexually transmitted diseases, which implies the virus could spread quickly if sufficient precautions are not taken. All volunteers are involved in raising awareness in the workplace and local communities. Additionally, volunteers are working with the Ministry of Health and National AIDS Committee members to implement a nationwide HIV and AIDS strategy and to increase access to confidential and accurate testing and counselling services.
Get in touch with VSO Vanuatu at:
VSO Programme Office, PO Box 514, Port Vila, Vanuatu