2024 News

Promoting Dignity, Inclusion and Protection in Vanuatu

Wednesday, 5 June 2024

Priscilla is a mother of two and the wife of a local pastor in Vanuatu. She has always been told that her role is inside the home. Priscilla says it is very common for husbands to decide all the roles and responsibilities. “They think the mamma’s work inside the home.” 

While she lives in a loving and safe home, sadly, many women like Priscilla do not. 

In the Pacific region, approximately 68% of women and girls experience gender-based violence.  

Women are not the only ones who are vulnerable. Churches need to strengthen their child protection policies and implement methods of inclusion, especially for people living with disability.  

The Churches of Christ Conference in Vanuatu (CCCV) is working towards this through the Promoting Dignity, Inclusion and Protection (PDIP) project. This project is aimed at church leaders because in Vanuatu, for example, church leaders have significant influence throughout their communities. 

The training unpacks a strong theme in Genesis, that all people are created in God’s image. This provides a strong foundation for participants to look at everyone in their community through this framework. The workshops challenge the participants to implement their learning, promoting dignity, inclusion and protection in their households, churches and wider communities.  

This training is also vital for the churches to invest in and implement development outcomes. During most recent workshops, the Child Protection Unit of the Port Vila police led a session for the participants in Port Vila, Efate. Then Churches of Christ Medical Santo led a session on including people with disability during the workshops held in Luganville, Santo. Both sessions encouraged the church leaders that they are not alone in including and protecting vulnerable groups in their communities. 

The Promoting Dignity, Inclusion and Protection workshops began as a pilot program in Fiji in 2023. Since then, it has also been implemented in Vanuatu twice with Global Mission Partners staff and on various islands in Vanuatu by local CCCV facilitators.   

Esline Toamavute, the only woman to be the Secretary-General of the Churches of Christ in Vanuatu is one of the facilitators. Pastor Samual Gavare from Malo also facilitates the PDIP workshops together with Esline. She says, “While running the training on the islands, I have seen the joy, interest, and compassion from the participants. It has given me much joy and hope for a positive impact in the churches”.  

Because of the Promoting Dignity, Inclusion and Protection workshops, pastors now use the Made in God’s Image theme in their preaching, are planning to build ramps to make their church buildings more accessible, and include women in leading their family devotions or other church activities. Participants also shared how they have better appreciated their spouse or other relationships with women.  

Even Priscilla can now say her husband thinks differently! 

During the most recent workshops in April, Priscilla and her husband, Pastor Presley, learned how they can work together inside their home - that he can help too. “Now pastor can cook! Something he didn’t do [before]. The training helps him to [think to] do that.”   

In partnership with DFAT’s ANCP, the Promoting Dignity, Inclusion and Protection project will continue with further workshops for other locations in Vanuatu and is considering expanding to other GMP partner countries.  

Learn more. 

Promoting Dignity, Inclusion and Protection is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP)

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