World Vision works in four provinces in Vanuatu including Tafea, Sanma, Efate and Penama. We work with many communities in these provinces on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), agriculture, economic development, education, early childhood development and disaster risk reduction and preparedness.
Vanuatu is vulnerable to natural disasters because it sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Cyclones, droughts and flooding also pose a threat to the country. Due to the geographical challenges of Vanuatu and the government’s lack of capacity to assist its citizens in a disaster, emergency responses are slow. World Vision trains volunteers to identify the risks for their community and assists them to prepare their own disaster plans. These plans look at how the community can mitigate risks and help reduce the impact of natural disasters in their community.
Maternal and child health
Vanuatu’s health system suffers from a lack of facilities and qualified staff, especially midwives, doctors and specialists. The reliance of families on processed and imported foods also means many children are malnourished. World Vision’s Maternal Child Health & Nutrition (MCHN) projects work closely with families to strengthen nutritional knowledge and eating practices. Our staff also support families in the cultivation, collection and preparation of nutritious foods within households.
We monitor the growth of children and when a child is underweight, they are referred for special care. World Vision also works to improve existing health delivery systems at the grass roots level and encourages communities to use the government health services, such as the provision of immunizations, vitamin A and assistance with family planning.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
World Vision’s assessments have found that many communities in Vanuatu do not have year round access to safe drinking water and must walk up to three kilometers to draw water for drinking and bathing. Typically water sources are traditional unprotected wells, rivers, streams and swamps, and are often open to bacterial contamination. In addition, insufficient knowledge of safe hygiene behavior has been linked to a high prevalence of water borne and water related diseases such as diarrhea, Hepatitis A, intestinal worms, conjunctivitis, scabies, and various skin infections.
World Vision Vanuatu is working with communities and the government to improve access to safe drinking water and promote hygiene, sanitation and community management of facilities. The aim of our WASH projects is to make sure there are safer water supplies closer to the community to reduce the time it takes to collect water and the incidence of water-borne diseases. We also ensure the community are empowered to plan their own water, sanitation and hygiene interventions.
Education in Vanuatu can be expensive and schools can be difficult to get to for many children living in remote areas. This means many children, especially girls, miss out on the opportunity to receive an education. World Vision Vanuatu has established community-based pre-schools or Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres in many communities to improve primary school enrolment and attendance. In these centres children are taught valuable life skills and numeracy and literacy skills that will set them up to succeed in primary school.