VSA has been working in Vanuatu since 1965. Our volunteers work in five out of Vanuatu’s six provinces. They are helping to strengthen economic development within tourism and agriculture, develop rural vocational education and improve waste management. VSA has a field office in Luganville staffed by a Programme Manager and a Programme Administrator.
Vanuatu is situated on a volcanic archipelago of 86 islands where traditional lifestyles exist side by side with modern tourist resorts. Around 110 indigenous languages are still spoken by an average of only 2,000 people per language, making it the country with the highest density of languages per capita in the world.
The majority of people living in Vanuatu are Melanesian. It is a predominantly Christian country. Vanuatu culture retains a strong diversity derived from regional variations and an adherence to kastom (traditional practices and lifestyles).
Vanuatu's economy is primarily agriculture-based and engages approximately 80 per cent of the population. Copra, kava and beef make up more than 75 per cent of total agricultural exports, with agriculture accounting for around 20 per cent of GDP.
What we’re doing in Vanuatu
In the 2016-17 year, VSA volunteers undertook 31 assignments with 20 partner organisations.
Vanuatu’s vulnerability to natural disasters was clear this year, with two late-season cyclones. The majority of VSA’s assignments have been in the focus areas of tourism, agriculture, education, and law and justice. rebuilding and resilience have also been a feature across the programme, including volunteers working with the National Disaster Management Office and World Vision in this area.
Volunteers worked alongside tourist operators to rebuild their businesses in the face of challenges including cyclones and several airlines halting flights to Port Vila. Four volunteers worked in agriculture, including one based in Malekula, supporting cooperatives in the Malampa region and in particular a co-operative made up of 65 women.