Amplifying commuity voices and building capacity for resilience in rural Vanuatu

Members of a rural community on Gaua Island proudly displaying their WASH Action Plan captured on three large pieces of poster paper. The group of women, men, children, and a man in a wheelchair are gathered outside a community meeting room constructed of timber and woven leaves.

 Members of the Namasary community proudly display their WASH Action Plan (World Vision Vanuatu / Ray Woodfield Mol) 


The community of Namasary in rural Vanuatu has big plans for climate-reslient and inclusive water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in their Gaua Island village. Here, community members proudly display their WASH Action Plan, which is driving their goals.


Mr Jackson, the acting Area Administrator of East Gaua Area Council in Torba Province, is supporting the Namasary community in these endeavours. Recently, Mr Jackson participated in training with World Vision Vanuatu as part of the baseline activities for the Australian Government-funded Water for Women project, Inclusive Climate Resilient WASH in Vanuatu (ICR-WASH), obtaining new knowledge and skills in data collection for this important work.


Before undertaking the training, Mr Jackson would conduct community profiling and mapping by asking for information on the communities under his perview from a few key individuals. He relied on paper-based surveys, which sometimes got damaged or lost.


Following the training, Mr Jackson understands the importance of a good quality data collection process and is enthusiastic about using some of the baseline tools and approaches he learnt to capture more representative information in his ongoing community profiling and mapping activities. Amazed by how inclusive and participatory the ICR-WASH baseline data collection process was in the community of Namasary, where key informant interviews, focus group discussions, transect walk, community mapping and community action planning was undertaken, Mr Jackson also recognises the opportunities and need to ask questions related to WASH facilities and identifying climate-related risks.


“It was much easier to understand the community’s WASH needs, the effects of climate change, and how we can adapt and create ways to address it, as we live in coastal areas where sea level rise is our biggest challenge. When we participated in the baseline activities it gave me a clear picture on how I can support Namasary community as well as other communities in the East Gaua Area council.” 

- Mr Jackson


Mr Jackson also admired World Vision Vanuatu staff using tablets and the Kobo application for conducting the household surveys in Namasary, noting the challenges he has had with completing paper-based surveys. Mr Jackson also presented the ICR-WASH baselines tools and approaches to his national office; Vanuatu's Department of Local Authorities.


Through Namasary’s WASH Action Plan, the community identified some climate change and WASH-related issues, including insufficient water systems, limited accessibility for vulnerable people, poor hygiene and sanitation practices, poor access to WASH facilities and insufficient wind breaks for the coastal areas to reduce destruction from strong winds, landslides and soil erosion. 


With their WASH Action Plan now in place, the community of Namasary aims to have a reliable water service, provide better access for vulnerable groups to WASH, and consistently use good hygiene practises, to contribute to strengthening their climate resilience. And the community is now employing the baseline tools and approaches used in developing their WASH Action Plan to conduct mapping and integrating the transect walk into other community activities. 


In Vanuatu, two thirds of all households have unreliable water access and half the population only has access to basic sanitation. During any given two-week period, around one in 10 children under five years old are at risk of having diarrhoea, and approximately one third are stunted.


Water for Women partners with World Vision Vanuatu and local partners to improve access to climate-resilient and inclusive WASH for an estimated 22,600* people living in Vanuatu’s two northernmost provinces of Sanma and Torba. These communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and its affects on WASH. Partners are also collaborating with sector actors, including rights holder organisations, organisations of persons with disabilities, and authorities, to strengthen national, subnational and community-level systems to reduce vulnerability and improve gender equality and social inclusion for sustainable outcomes.


*Project targets are based on partner Civil Society Organisations (CSO) baseline studies. Project targets are updated periodically in response to changes in context as appropriate. To see our latest progress towards targets, see our progress.


World Water Day is observed annually on 22 March and this year's theme, 'Water for peace', emphasises the importance of working together to balance everyone’s needs, to ensure that no one is left behind in access to clean water and safe sanitation, and to make water a catalyst for a more peaceful future. 

As the lifeblood of any community, when water is scarce, polluted, denied or usage unfairly shared, conflicts can arise or intensify. For women and girls, people with disabilities and other marginalised groups, water insecurity exacerbates inequities and has disproportionate impacts, including on their health and well-being. Water conflict also increases the risk of violence.

Throughout the world, women are at the frontlines of climate change and it's impacts on water security. With primary responsibility for meeting caregiving and household water needs, including for sanitation and hygiene (WASH), women are water experts in their communities.

Every day, women are brokering peace, driving sustainable agriculture for food security, and delivering WASH for the health and well-being of their families and communities. Women and water can lead us out of this crisis

But women cannot do it alone. As climate change impacts increase, and populations grow, we must unite to advance gender equality and accelerate progress on SDG6 - Water and sanitation for all. Everyone has a role to play in creating a fairer and more cohesive society

Throughout Asia and the Pacific, Water for Women partners are working with communities, governments, researchers, rights holder organisations, and service providers in 16 countries to deliver climate-resilient and inclusive water and WASH services for all. Together, we are accelerating progress for SDG6 for a water secure and peaceful future for all.



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