“A huge challenge has been good transport to the various farming communities. Adequate roading and transport are vital to link farmers to the markets that sell their products.”
It costs money to send volunteers overseas and every dollar you donate to VSA goes towards programmes that really do work.
Before taking up this World Vision/VSA assignment Jane was on a two year assignment with VSA working as a Communications and Marketing Adviser with NGO CIVICUS in South Africa.
Jane’s marketing background is helping her to work with a team of four local colleagues at World Vision Vanuatu, inspiring farmers to find new products to grow, add value and develop new buyers and ways to market their products. Many Ni-Vanuatu people are farmers and agricultural income generation is important for their family and community long term well-being. She is based in Luganville on the island of Santo.
Jane has only been on assignment a few months but she is already helping to set up the project team and has been getting to know people throughout the vast farming networks, a key aspect of her role so she can be as effective as possible during her time on assignment.
The team works alongside 12 communities in South Santo who live very traditional lives where exposure to new ideas and access to consumables is limited. Savings and loan cooperatives have been introduced to provide a safe way for women in particular to save for their families. Because of the difficulty getting to banks, money is often stored in a dug out earth vault under their home.
Twp other communities have negotiated supplying coconuts to a coconut oil processor. The coconut meat is processed into oil which is sold in Australia. It is hoped 100 bags, weighing about 80kg each, will be provided to the factory each week.
"I have enjoyed soaking up Melanesian life, shopping in the market, enjoying the wonderful water and beaches that are typical of Santo. Life is quiet here but offers a wondeful lifestyle and change of pace."
“So far I have enjoyed visiting the many communities of South Santo. Village life is inspiring and challenging at the same time.”
“I am really enjoying learning and communicating in Bislama, quite amusing for everyone.”
"The people have been voted many times as the most friendly in tourism surveys. Their faith and rather unnerving ability to be so relaxed is enchanting."
“Patience, determination and a continued zest for stepping outside the ways things have always been done to explore new territory.”
“Remembering always to have respect, with the knowledge that by ‘living in another person’s shoes’, understanding, growth and change is possible.”
Take a look at Jane's photo essay on the theme of markets in Vanuatu.