Ausaid in Vanuatu

Aid Activities in Vanuatu

Economic reform and governance

Australia's aid program builds on a history of support to strengthen financial controls and processes and improve public service recruitment and management. An independent completion report published in 2006 found that without Australian assistance the country's financial management would be worse, and its civil service more politicised and corrupt. Australia is now renewing its focus on the broader goals of improving policy, strengthening growth, and reducing poverty.

Governance for Growth Program

  • Contribution: $50 million (est.)
  • Duration: 2006-2015

The program supports reforms that will provide better quality expenditure and public investment. The program aims to improve public financial management and statistics and will include technical inputs from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The program also supports reforms to telecommunications competition, rural electrification, commodities marketing and airline reform.

Land Program

  • Contribution: $1 000 000
  • Duration: 2006-2008

The Land Program is country-driven and modest because of the national sensitivity of the sector. Current support provides technical assistance to promote the reform agenda outlined by the National Land Summit of 2006 and coordinated by the National Land Steering Committee. The committee comprises the Vanuatu Government, Malvatumauri (National Council of Chiefs), civil society and private sector representatives. Australian aid enabled an analysis of the existing lands administration system and land legislation and policy. It supports the development of a long-term reform strategy aimed at improving sustainable social and economic development.

Vanuatu Kastom Governance Partnership

  • Contribution: $2 500 000
  • Duration: 2006-2011
  • Partners: University of Queensland and the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs

This project aims to strengthen and extend contributions from kastom and community leadership to change and development. The project focuses on conflict prevention, community governance and community development.

Wan Smolbag Partnership

  • Contribution: $2 895 000
  • Duration: 2007-2011
  • Partner: Wan Smolbag

This activity focuses on unemployed youth. It extends service delivery to populations in greatest hardship especially in isolated rural communities and informal settlements in urban areas. Wan Smolbag provides reproductive health services and is the leading provider of media content on issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, relationships and reproductive health.

Program of Support to the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation

  • Contribution: $2 970 400
  • Duration: 2006-2009
  • Partner: Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Through a twinning arrangement between Radio Australia and Radio Vanuatu the partnership is developing an accessible, responsive and professional national public broadcaster, managed by an effective and respected Corporation. Expansion of the reach of Radio Vanuatu to rural audiences will be a major first step.

Vanuatu Women's Centre

  • Contribution: $3 462 908
  • Duration: 2007-2012
  • Partner: Fiji Women's Crisis Centre

The centre aims to reduce violence against women and children, and has placed the issue on the national agenda as a major social and economic problem. As well as providing counselling services, the centre was the major advocate in lobbying Parliament to pass the Family Protection Bill. A major component will be a baseline survey of gender-based violence throughout Vanuatu to measure progress against the centre's goal.

Gender and Development Program

  • Contribution: $100 000
  • Duration: 2007-2008

Australia supports a Vanuatu initiative - Women in Decision-Making and Leadership, that aims to advance women's representation in politics. It aims to raise voter-awareness and provide leadership training activities. Australia expects UNIFEM Pacific will provide further assistance beyond 2007.

Drivers of Change

  • Contribution: $60,000
  • Duration: 2007-2008
  • Partner: FSP Vanuatu

The Drivers of Change analysis (November 2006-April 2007) highlights the challenges of reform and transformation in a political system that can be unstable and fragmented. The analysis endorsed a strategy recognising that change will be incremental and that donors should continue efforts to build core state functions and work in alliance with reform-minded individuals. Through a partnership with FSP Vanuatu, a local NGO, public debate around the development issues raised by the analysis will comprise the main focus for 2007-2008. National dialogue on development challenges and pathways will inform donor programs.

Law and Justice

Legal Sector Strengthening Project Phase 3

  • Contribution: $9 600 000
  • Duration: 2006 - 2011
  • Whole of Government Partnership: New South Wales Attorney General's Department

Australia has provided support to Vanuatu's State Law Office, the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Public Solicitor's Office since 2000. The project aims to improve public access to, and confidence in, the justice system of Vanuatu. Mechanisms will be put in place to access training and technical assistance funds to meet priority needs. All activities aim to ensure the long-term sustainability of all three offices.

Vanuatu Police Force Capacity Building Project

  • Contribution: $28 000 000
  • Duration: 2006 - 2011
  • Whole of Government Partnership: AusAID and Australian Federal Police

The project aims to improve crime prevention and detection through improved police and community relations. AusAID is implementing the project with technical support from the Australian Federal Police. This program has resulted in an increased visible police presence and an extended reach of police operations in Port Vila, Luganville and some islands. The project re-established the Force Training Wing and recruits have joined the Vanuatu Police Force for the first time since 1997, with 30 new police joining in 2006, of which seven were women.

Education and training

The Vanuatu Ministry of Education is leading a major reform of Vanuatu's education system. In 2006, the Council of Ministers approved the development of a Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) for Education. The Ministry developed a Vanuatu Education Sector Strategy 2007- 2016 outlining Vanuatu's priorities in the sector. Australia's program in education supports those priorities.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Strengthening Program

  • Contribution: $13 000 000
  • Duration: 2005-2011
  • Contractor: MDI International

The first two years of the program aimed to strengthen and extend skills development and training through supporting existing institutions, organisations and providers in Port Vila and the provinces. The program also supports developing a TVET Quality Framework with the Vanuatu National Training Council and will help with training the TVET trainers.

Vanuatu Secondary School Extension Project 2 (VSSEP)

  • Contribution: $8 000 000
  • Duration: 2002-07

The project helped Vanuatu accommodate increasing demand for secondary education by developing 350 new senior secondary places. Activities included building or upgrading infrastructure such as classrooms, dormitories, libraries, ablution blocks, computer and other specialized learning areas. It also includes staff accommodation and provision of some building materials for repair works to accommodate a senior secondary program at five outer island secondary schools.

Scholarship and training programs

  • Contribution: around $2 000 000 a year
  • Duration: ongoing
  • Contractors: Vanuatu, regional and Australian institutions

These include scholarships for study in Australia, within the Pacific region, and in Vanuatu. AusAID works closely with the Vanuatu Government to ensure that scholarship awards address its priority study areas.


The Vanuatu Ministry of Health has developed a Master Health Services Plan 2004-2009. The plan's priorities are to improve the health of the people of Vanuatu, to improve access to services, to improve the quality of services delivered and to make more effective use of resources. Australian aid activities support these priorities, especially to improve maternal and child health, reduce infant mortality and the spread of communicable diseases, and target malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Australia has helped reduce infant and maternal mortality with support for hospital and village health services that focus on women and children. Through a Supplementary Immunisation against Measles campaign, AusAID helped reach 90% coverage for measles in 2006, an achievement endorsed by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

The Village Health Worker Program increased the coverage of rural health care in two provinces, with all aid posts in those areas receiving training and supervision of aid post workers. Vanuatu is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal on infant and maternal mortality.

September 2007

Author: Administrator