|A local woman in Nawelala village, Big Bay Bush. © Kate Winney/ABM, 2018.|
As any visiting tourist could tell you, Vanuatu is a nation of friendly locals, relaxed ‘island-time’ and outstanding natural beauty.
Scattered over 1,000 kilometres of the Coral Sea, the 83 island archipelago is home to 270,400 people, the vast majority of whom live in rural areas outside the capital city of Port Vila. On these remote islands, subsistence farming and fishing is often the only way to survive, and there are few services for health, education, water and electricity.
Vanuatu is also the world’s most at-risk country, in terms of vulnerability to natural disasters and ability to recover, and experiences frequent cyclones along with earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
As the country is made up of many low-lying islands, it is also feeling the effects of climate change, with rising sea levels causing land and water degradation. With only 68% of the population engaged in the formal economy, and an average GNI of $2805 per person, these challenges are placing an enormous strain on rural families trying to meet their own basic needs.
ABM has partnered with the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) in Vanuatu for over 160 years, supporting the church in responding to the pressing social needs of the population. The church also extends to the Solomon Islands, but in Vanuatu consists of two dioceses – the Diocese of Banks and Torres, and the Diocese of Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Approximately 83% of Ni-Van people identify as Christian, of which Anglicans constitute approximately 15%.
ABM and ACOM are also part of the Vanuatu Church Partnership Program (VCPP), which builds on the combined strengths of a number of Vanuatu Churches and their Australian Church partners, working to achieve sustainable development outcomes for the people of Vanuatu.
The programs supported by ABM currently include Literacy and Numeracy education, Water and Sanitation infrastructure, and Hygiene training, particularly focused on communities in the country’s rural north.
Your financial and prayer support is vital in enabling this work to continue, helping families to access essential education and clean, safe water for decades to come.
Community Development Program