Getting to the roots of development in Vanuatu by ijm12903

VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 4

									                                                                                                 July – September 2004


                                Getting to the roots of development in Vanuatu
What’s inside?                 In the Pacific, it is often urban dwellers that benefit from development programmes, adding to
                                their rural cousins’ sense of isolation. In Vanuatu, one local organisation, with support from
                                       the Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), is working at balancing the scales.
Editorial                2     “At the moment, in terms of Vanuatu, development is centralized – it’s all in Port Vila, or if
                               not Port Vila, then maybe Luganville,” says Kathy Solomon, Director of RRRT’s local partner
LRTO profile             2     organisation, the Vanuatu Rural Development and Training Centres’ Association (VRDTCA).

RRRT highlights          3     “We thought there are so many organisations focusing on urban development, so our main
                               focus is down there with the grassroots, with rural development … this is the major aim of
                               VRDTCA, getting the service down to the people.”
What’s happening? 4
                               VRDTCA – building skills, building confidence
                               VRDTCA is an umbrella organisation for currently 46 training centres, both rural and urban,
                               around the country. And while its membership is ever growing, VRDTCA isn’t actually
                               responsible for setting the centres up.

                               “A training centre is initiated by the people, they establish them by themselves … rural
                               training centres are self-reliant – they make their own money, they raise their own funding and
                               they sustain their programmes,” Kathy says.

                               Rural training centres teach livelihood skills to local communities, with special focus on school
                               “drop outs” and uneducated youth and women. Practical skills are taught in areas from
                               sustainable agriculture, carpentry, mechanics, typing and home care, to health and legal rights
                               awareness. The centres not only aim to teach skills, but build self-esteem and people’s
                               confidence in being productive members of their communities.

                               VRDTCA organises training and short courses for the rural trainers, provides technical advice
                               and assistance, and helps facilitate projects. It also promotes the work being done in the
                               communities and links the centres up to other like-minded organisations that could be of
                               assistance.

   The Regional Rights         Promoting human rights through partnerships
 Resource Team (RRRT)          Part of this assistance has included human rights training by RRRT. Wrapped up in August
    is a United Nations        after 20 months, the VRDTCA Community Paralegal Training (CPT) programme brought
 Development Programme         together 26 (11 women, 15 men) community, church, women and youth representatives from
 project fully funded by the   every province of Vanuatu.
      United Kingdom
       Department for          The intensive six-module programme facilitated by RRRT trainers covered issues of legal
International Development.     literacy, good governance and democracy, international human rights conventions, gender
                               discrimination and family law, development and poverty reduction, as well as strategies for
 RRRT provides training        change. In August, the lively group’s final two weeks were spent learning how to teach what
 and advocacy in human         they’d learnt to their local communities via a Training of Trainers course that results in an
   rights and the law to       Australian, nationally recognised qualification delivered and assessed by Training Australia
promote social justice and     Unlimited Pty Ltd (TAU).
  reduce poverty in the
          Pacific.             Participants graduate from the comprehensive programme as Community Paralegals (CPs),
                                                              use
                               willing, able and confident to 1 human rights, in very practical ways, to help the poor and
                               marginalised in their communities.                                  Continued on page 2
Editorial
                                                                         Vanuatu (continued from p1):
    On the road to independence
                                                                         “So by running the CPT, by training the people out there so
This is a special edition for Right Hia, as not only is it its one
                                                                         that they can be resourceful people who seek to assist the
year anniversary, but in one year’s time RRRT will emerge as
                                                                         communities … these people can return back to their
a fully autonomous Pacific human rights organisation.
                                                                         communities and be very resourceful,” Kathy says. “They
                                                                         might not be lawyers themselves, but they can provide
RRRT has slowly been working towards this goal over the past
                                                                         information and direction to whoever needs them.”
several years. An event that recently cleared the path for RRRT
was our mid-term review, conducted by international human
                                                                         What next?
rights specialist Hanne Lund Madsen and auditing firm KPMG.
                                                                         For VRDTCA and RRRT, the partnership can only go from
The results of the MTR were unanimous; RRRT should
                                                                         strength to strength. With an agreement to negotiate for
become an autonomous regional body on completion of its
                                                                         further funding, the hope is the organisations can together
current project administered by UNDP.
                                                                         continue to support the work of the Community Paralegals
                                                                         across Vanuatu.
This was exciting news for RRRT. For one thing it spelled out
our success by providing us with the reassurance that RRRT is
                                                                         “This is one big issue in third world development – after
a valued institution in the Pacific, that we will receive support,
                                                                         training, then what? We use a lot of resources on training
that governments and community alike value our services and
                                                                         people, and then no follow up,” Kathy says. “If things work
that we have “grown up” and are able to go out on our own.
                                                                         well, we are hoping to run a big national programme.
                                                                         Especially for this country it’s a very crucial time – people
In order to achieve this, RRRT will over the next year be
                                                                         really need to know what’s happening, need to be part of
focusing a bit more inward; working on our own systems,
                                                                         these things.”
policies and procedures. But we won’t be doing this on our
own and are lucky to have the support and guidance of our
                                                                         RRRT has also been conducting CPT programmes for
partners and friends who are providing assistance and advice.
                                                                         women and youth in partnership with both the Vanuatu
UNDP will also be providing support and guidance in the area
                                                                         National Council of Women and the Vanuatu National Youth
of administrative development over the coming year.
                                                                         Council. The VNCW CPT programme was also completed in
                                                                         August, while the Youth CPT programme is scheduled to
The mid-term review also recommended that we provide
                                                                         wrap up in 2005.
greater support in capacity development to local organizations,
as well as to RRRT-trained Community Paralegals (CPs).
RRRT is now building these recommendations into our next                   Reginald Kipe: Taking the law to the people
five-year strategic plan. RRRT has trained close to 200 CPs in
the region and our challenge over the upcoming years will be               RRRT also supports the
to harness the energy and dedication of these CPs through the              work     of    VRDTCA
provision of support and training.                                         through funding, training
                                                                           and mentoring a Legal
The next year for RRRT will be both challenging and exciting.              Rights Training Officer
As Project Manager, the tasks ahead seem slightly daunting.                (LRTO) position.
However I am also reassured by the support we receive from
our new Board of Directors. Recently appointed, the new board              Fresh-faced and straight out of law school, Reginald
has some incredible expertise and we are very fortunate to have            Kipe took over as LRTO from new RRRT-recruit
this calibre of people to provide us with guidance and                     Joemela Simeon in May this year.
direction. Ratu Jone Madraiwiwi, Ms Maibole Digitaki, Dr
Jimmie Rodgers and Mr Garry Wiseman join Dr Susan Boyd,                    Reggie says although he didn’t want to be a litigator, he
Honourable Fran Wilde and Justice Neil Buckley of our                      wanted to know the law, be able to interpret it and know
original External Advisory Board. We especially want to thank              how to access it. Now the test is to be able to share what
outgoing members Sir Arnold Amet, Dr Shireen Lateef, Mr                    he’s learnt and make the law accessible to everyone.
Guido Lauwers, Professor Sally Merry and board secretary Mr
Scott Macwilliam for their support and dedication to RRRT.                 “The biggest challenge has been learning to adapt (the
                                                                           law) to community needs and level when explaining
We look forward to our future, and to our future role as the               difficult concepts and assisting community people,”
first regional human rights organisation in the Pacific.                   Reggie says. “It’s a very different approach to what I
                                                Sandra Bernklau            learnt in law school. The community people have a
                                                Project Manager            different level of experience and needs.”

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                                         RRRT Highlights
From soap box to soap opera                                              Dreaming of culture & human rights
RRRT’s love affair with Fiji’s Family Law Act is far from over.          Tadra Kahani, or “dream story”, is not only a great opportunity
Following our regular articles in the Fiji Times, we have ventured       and outlet for local students in Fiji, but also educational. An
on air to spread the word. On the invitation of fem’LINK Pacific,        annual event, this massive dance extravaganza attracts entries
we had the pleasure of presenting the first of our monthly hour-         from schools the country over. This year (and for the second year
long broadcasts on community radio station fem’TALK 89.2FM.              running), the United Nations sponsored the event – with the
Titled the ‘Family Law Hour’, the programme aims to introduce,           theme being “culture and human rights”, of which competing
demystify and clarify the controversy surrounding the Family             schools interpret through dance. RRRT jumped on the
Law Act 2003. The show includes live discussion with a panel of          bandwagon – preparing information kits, briefing radio DJs,
experts interspersed with RRRT’s very own radio mini-drama               participating in radio talkback with Fiji Women’s Rights
‘Seni Street’ showing how the Act affects people in their                Movement trainers, and touring schools to talk about human
everyday lives. While the current broadcasting range is limited, a       rights, how they relate to our everyday lives and their relationship
roving suitcase transmitter means we should be able to reach as          to culture and traditional practices. With over 1000 dancers
many Fiji Islanders as possible ... So for locals, don’t forget to       performing to a full house of 4000 on the night of 18 August, the
tune in on the last Sunday of every month!                               human rights message was spread even further.

The right to exist
For many non-governmental and civil society organisations
(CSOs), simple existence can be a daily struggle – made even
more difficult by unaccommodating, irrelevant or outdated
legislation. On 20 August, over 20 national and regional NGOs
met at the RRRT office to raise concerns, examine the legal
issues facing CSO registration and regulatory frameworks in Fiji                                                              RRRT Trainer
                                                                                                                              Filipo Masaurua
(including the outdated Charitable Trusts Act under which all                                                                 explains the
CSOs must register), and future options. Jointly organised by                                                                 fundamentals of
RRRT, the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity / Ecumenical                                                                    human rights to
Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA) and the                                                                   students at
                                                                                                                              Dudley High
International Centre for Non-Profit Law (ICNL), the meeting was                                                               School in Suva.
opened by Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice,
Honourable Qoroniasi Bale. Mr Bale pledged the Government’s              Rights get top billing in Solomon Islands
commitment to reviewing legislation governing CSOs by next               This time last year our inaugural e-newsletter featured RRRT’s
year.                                                                    role in preparing and advocating for an expanded Bill of Rights
                                                                         for Solomon Islands that integrated human rights laws on
                                                                         economic, social and cultural rights, as well as women’s and
              Board member for the month:                                child rights. After much lobbying on the ground, RRRT is
               The Honourable Fran Wilde                                 delighted that the new Bill has not only been incorporated into
                                                                         the Solomon Islands Draft Federal Constitution as Chapter 4, but
Hon. Fran Wilde is a former journalist, politician,                      that the draft Constitution was then endorsed by the Solomon
businessperson and community activist. She has had wide                  Islands Cabinet on 13 September. The draft will now be taken
engagement with the community and current commitments                    back to the people of Solomon Islands for final consultations.
include board membership of UNICEF (NZ) and Project K, a
local youth programme. Currently working as a company                    Community Paralegal programme under review
director and business adviser, some of Ms Wilde’s                        After seven years, RRRT’s Community Paralegal Training (CPT)
appointments include being Chair of the Wellington Waterfront            programme is under review. Originally piloted in the Cook
Ltd, the NZ International Arts Festival and director of the ANZ          Islands from 1997 to 1999, the programme has since been
Banking Group (NZ). As a Government Minister between 1987                extended to Fiji, Samoa, Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu and Solomon
and 1990, Ms Wilde was responsible for tourism, disarmament              Islands. It has created a pool of close to 200 Community
and Pacific Islands Affairs. For three years she was one of three        Paralegals (CPs) advocating for human rights from some of the
Prime Minister appointees on the international APEC Business             remotest parts of the region. Conducted by a team of consultants,
Advisory Council. Board appointment is from January 2004 to              the review aims to document the historic development of the CPT
September 2006.                                                          programme in the Cook Islands, Fiji and Solomon Islands; assess
                                                                         its impact at all levels from community to policymaker; and make
       See upcoming issues of this e-newsletter for more                 recommendations for improvement. The review is due for
              RRRT Board member biographies.                             completion in November 2004.



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       “People often ask about RRRT and how we interact. One word always sums it up for me – TEAM.
                          That’s what we were, are and always will be – A TEAM.”
                                                                    Apolosi Bose, outgoing Chief Resource Trainer (Legal), RRRT



                                               Comings & goings
o    A big moce mada to RRRT Chief Resource Trainer (Legal) Apolosi Bose, who left RRRT in September to take up the
     position of Corporate Services Manager at Fijian-owned company Ba Holding. Apolosi virtually grew up at RRRT, arriving
     bright-eyed nearly six years ago. Apolosi has been a regular feature in Right Hia – in the past year we’ve seen him get
     married, have a child … and now we farewell him. We wish him and his family the best of luck, and hope he keeps on
     championing human rights wherever he may be.

o    We might have lost one staff member in the past few months, but we’ve gained two…

     Pole Awerika has travelled across high seas from Kiribati to join the team as our new Resource Trainer (Legal). Formerly the
     Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions in Tarawa, Pole is bringing much-valued experience and a new perspective to the
     work of RRRT.

     Allan Illingworth comes straight from the cloistered surrounds of the University of the South Pacific to take up the position
     of Programme Assistant. Majoring in History, Politics and Sociology, Allan arrived in mid-September and has already shown
     his repertoire extends way beyond the pure academic.

o    We also welcome Kairangi “Nani” Samuela onboard as the new Legal Rights Training Officer at Punanga Tauturu in the
     Cook Islands. Brimming with enthusiasm and great ideas, we’re sure Nani will take off flying where her predecessors left off.

o    And finally, thank you to Ateca Vuidreketi, who helped us out in admin during our time of need. She was a great help and we
     hope she’s enjoying life at UNDP.

                                               What’s happening?
October
•  RRRT Regional Partners Meeting (8-11 October)
•  Regional Consultation on Women’s Rights to Adequate Housing and Land (12-15 October)
•  Fiji School of Medicine Reproductive Health Training on Gender and Human Rights (25-27 October)
•  French Territories CEDAW reporting workshop (27-30 October)
•  UNICEF Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children/Child Sexual Abuse research consultancy – Kiribati, Solomon Islands
   & Vanuatu (August – December)

November
•  Tonga Catholic Women’s League Community Paralegal Training (CPT) #5 (8-12 November)
•  Kiribati Ministry of Internal and Social Affairs CPT #1&2 (8-19 November)
•  Cook Islands Human Rights Workshop (22-26 November)
•  Samoa National Teachers’ Association CPT #3 (29 November-3 December)

December
•  National Judicial Conference (6-7 December)
•  International Human Rights Day celebrations – Cook Islands, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu & Vanuatu
   (10 December)
•  Launch of 5th Pacific Human Rights Awards (10 December)
•  Vanuatu National Youth Council CPT #3 (13-17 December)

    For more information contact RRRT (tel: +679 330 5582 • fax: +679 330 6582 • email: registry@rrrt.org.fj •
                            website: www.undp.org.fj/Index_RRRT_PRAJA.htm)

                  To subscribe to this newsletter, please send a message to registry@rrrt.org.fj
                           with the word "subscribe" as the subject of the message.

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