Young Women’s Economic Security Linked to their Protection – Vanuatu

“Our members are living on the edge. We want to feed the children, we want our members to be able to purchase sanitary pads when they need it. We want our members and their families to eat a daily balanced diet. We want them to have a mask available to wear it when they need it,” says Sabrina Brown, the CEO of the young women-led organisation. VYWC is a member of the Shifting the Power Coalition and GPPAC Pacific.


And so as a result of the support of the DFAT supported Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development the Shifting the Power Coalition emergency grant mechanism has provided to AUD5000 to VYWC to provide immediate relief to more than 150 young mothers bringing additional relief for around 300 children.

Due to COVID19 restrictions on kava nakamal and 20 vatu market operations in Port Vila, the Vanuatu Young Women for Change have organised to provide young women and girls rice, flour and biscuits to young women and girls who are at risk of hunger in this crisis. These young women are not able to benefit from the Vanuatu National Provident Fund ( VNPF) COVID19 relief package – “They aren’t members,” explains Brown.

VYWC will also lobby with authorities to consider the changing the operating hours of at least several 20 vatu nakamals to operate until 7 pm so that young women and girls can earn a living from selling their food parcels:  “Over 80% of unemployed women and girls and those living on minimum scale salaries are very much dependent on these 20 vatu markets, small kava nakamals and for some, small retail stores. Most of these 20 vatu markets and nakamals usually operate from very shanty rubbish tin sheds, quite ugly looking but they do operate as platforms for most disadvantaged women and girls to earn theirs and their families living every day” explains Brown.

And VYWC is also committed to contribute to improving the standards of the 20 vatu markets in line with national on COVID19 prevention guidelines: “So that these small businesses will operate with good hygiene practices – we start with the supply of buckets and cleaning products.”