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Volunteer Service Abroad

Lukluk is a celebration of our amazing
partners in the Pacific and beyond.

Our magazine is usually called Vista – it’s the view from our
volunteers and the impact they’re having. In this magazine, we
wanted people from our partner organisations to tell their own
stories about the work they’re doing in their communities and what’s
important to them.

We work with hundreds of organisations, from grass roots groups to

local and central governments and regional UN agencies. This is just
a handful of them, but they all share the same energy and aspiration
– better futures.

So why Lukluk? It’s Tok Pisin for “vista” – the view from
the Pacific.

Get in touch


Front cover: Children let loose after class in PNG. Photographer: Chris Mitchell. Contents
page: Shop fronts in Solomon Islands. Photographer: Lance Cash.
Opposite: Emily Richardson with Marie Nutenmal in Vanuatu. Photographer: Gina Kaitiplel.
Inside back cover (left to right): Dave Morgan in Vanuatu. Carola Cullum in Vanuatu
(photographer Gina Kaitiplel). Roseanne Ulunga (photographer Jack Thompson).
Neill Barr (photographer Wayne Lovell).

Connecting people – transforming lives

Our partners and stories

6 Timor-Leste’s “reading generation”

Kia ora,
8 Climate action in the Pacific

It has been a busy and exciting few months for VSA. On July 1, 9 Housing communities in PNG
we commenced a new five-year partnership with the Ministry of
10 Special education in Samoa
Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). VSA has had a close and very
successful partnership with MFAT for over 50 years, and this latest 12 Cook Islands waste management
arrangement will enable VSA to grow and strengthen our efforts
throughout the Pacific. 13 Performing in Vanuatu

Over the next five years we’re planning another 1,000 volunteer 16 Vanuatu women in media
assignments, and this issue of Lukluk gives you a small sample of
18 Time for school in Solomon Islands
the kinds of organisations volunteers will work alongside.
20 Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency
I’ve been able to visit quite a few of them over the last year,
and have been so impressed by the work they do, whether 21 Gender equity in the Pacific
it’s at government or grassroots level, in the fields of health,
education, environment, business or more: they all share the same 22 Tonga youth
aspirations for thriving communities, and we’re proud to do the
mahi with them.
Our values

• respectful partnerships
Stephen Goodman, VSA CEO • working and learning together
• cross-cultural understanding
• fairness, social justice and
Volunteer Service Abroad Te Tu-ao Ta-wa-hi self-determination
Patron: Her Excellency the Right Honourable Dame This document is printed on • the power of volunteering
Patsy Reddy GNZM QSO DStJ environmentally responsible paper,
President: Dr Simon Mark. Council Chair: Evan Mayson produced using Elemental Chlorine
Free (ECF) Third Party certified pulp
Council members: Deidre Brookes (Deputy Chair), John Bowis, Kirsty Volunteer Service Abroad Te Tūao Tāwāhi Inc is a registered
from Responsible Sources, and
Burnett, Dr Jo Cribb, Peter Elmsly, Dana MacDiarmid, Kirikaiahi charity (CC36739) under the Charities Act 2005.
manufactured under strict ISO14001
Environmental Management System. © VSA. All rights reserved. ISSN 1176-9904 Reproduction
Chief Executive Officer: Stephen Goodman MNZM
Printed and supported by of content is allowed for usage in primary and secondary
Wakefields Digital. schools, and for tertiary studies.

Students using the Library. Photo: Wayne Lovell XGRR staff member Hortencia and VSA volunteer Hugo Egan. Photo: Wayne Lovell

Timor-Leste’s “reading generation” museum provides information about a new space for children called
Xanana Gusmão and his struggle for “Bebeteca” with more education
Gaspar Freitas Kassa is Library and How has working for XGRR made a an independent Timor-Leste. activities for children; and we have
Museum Manager at the Xanana difference for you? started publication of a new science
From January to July 2018, the
Gusmão Reading Room (XGRR) It is a unique place for sharing book project for children with XGRR
total number of our users was
in Dili, Timor-Leste. The Reading knowledge, access to information funding.
18,366, with 41% women. We
Room was founded by Kirsty Sword and technology, and most are encouraging more women What do you hope for your
Gusmão, the wife of Timor-Leste’s importantly for me it is an opportunity to participate through creating a community’s future?
first post-independence President, to to support the young generation women-focused group and more I hope our community can use
support literacy and cultural heritage. to have a better future for them. It activities for women. this space for improving their lives
also provides a safe place for people by sharing knowledge, access to
How long have you been with XGRR to meet and have discussions, Do you have a highlight from your educational resources and training,
and how did you get involved? do research and conduct various time there? preserving our culture and expressing
I have been working at XGRR since educational activities. My highlights include an instalment the pride of self-identity as Timorese.
June 2015. Previously, I was a Youth of Digital Library System ‘Koha’ in
What kind of impact does it make in The Xanana Gusmão Reading Room has
Programme Manager at Search 2016; Successful fundraising in 2016
the community? been a VSA partner since 2015, with five
For Common Ground (SFCG), an and 2018; establishing a partnership
The XGRR has played a key role volunteers in that time. Currently, Hugo
International NGO branch in Dili, with the Northern Territory Library, Egan is volunteering as a Marketing &
which closed down in 2015. This is an in promoting life-long learning and
Darwin to develop a future Library Coordination Assistant as part
amazing place to continue my work a safe place where people can
collaboration on a staff exchange of VSA’s UniVol programme for recent
for youth in Timor-Leste. obtain information, knowledge, read graduates. Read Gaspar’s full interview at
programme and library projects;
and borrow books, and where the www.vsa.org.nz
6 7
A drone view of the development. Photo: Gordon Botha

Housing communities in Papua New Guinea

Two hundred and forty families will and by selling other parcels of land to
get homes in Kokopo, Papua New developers who will provide housing
Volunteer Nadine Rutter in Vanuatu. Photo credit: Gina Kaitiplel
Guinea, thanks to an innovative for middle income groups.
housing project by the Catholic
Climate action in the Pacific Archdiocese of Rabaul. Eligible people will get the title
free of charge, but prospective
The Pacific is the most vulnerable region in the world to the effects of climate homeowners will be expected to
Diocesan Administrator Doug Tennant
change. Tropical cyclones undo years of growth, and sea level rise has already raise about half of the K80,000
says “People in Papua New Guinea
seen whole communities move from their homes. Around the region, we work ($37,000) price or, in a move modelled
are moving to urban areas to find
alongside organisations to adapt to the effects of climate change. These are on Habitat for Humanity projects,
work but wages are very low… Here
just a few: provide “sweat equity” - that is,
in Kokopo people are being denied a
most important human right; the right labour on the building, for up to 500
Infrastructure Cook Islands works Mainstreaming of Rural to adequate housing.” hours.
to ensure safe, fresh water supply Development Innovation (MORDI), Doug says there is “dire need” to
on its outer islands, which have been in Tonga, is working to help rehabilitate The Archdiocese owns land which it
is developing, allocating 800 square meet this most basic of human
impacted by drought. producers after Cyclone Gita earlier rights: “the Archbishop of Rabaul
this year. They encourage farmers to metres each to 240 families. Each
The Pacific Community (SPC) house will have a composting toilet, is making it his personal crusade to
diversify in order to be more resilient. show the way by creating a housing
looks at ways in which technology, solar-powered lighting and rainwater
including renewable energy The Farmers’ Support Association, collection tanks. scheme accessible to the poor, as
resources, can help communities Vanuatu, works throughout a model for other communities to
become more resilient. the country to ensure farmers’ The Archdiocese has sought funding follow.”
cooperatives have collective buying for the project by selling some land
CADR has been a VSA partner since 2013,
The Chamber of Commerce and and selling power, enabling them to the Provincial Government for use with 51 volunteers in that time, including
Industry, Timor-Leste, disseminates to withstand environmental and as sports and recreational facilities, Gordon Botha, who is active in this project
climate change education through its economic shocks. in his assignment as Administration
membership, which advocates for Adviser.
small business.
8 9
According to UNICEF’s 2010 Pacific
Children with Disabilities Report,
children with disabilities in the
Pacific who attend main stream
education facilities, often attend only
for a few years before discontinuing
their learning. Only a small minority
progress on to secondary school,
meaning that the efforts of LTS and
other like-minded organisations are
crucial for the livelihood of people
with disabilities in the Pacific.
LTS teachers, and students Harry and Joshua
“I think the most important with As (centre) from the Samoa Blind
Foudation using new braille typewriters. VSA
thing we need to remember is
volunteer Jan Kennington, who organised
that each and every child has the donation of the typewriters from the
Students at Loto Taumafai School. Photo: Chris Mitchell the capacity to learn.” Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ,
is on the right.
Special education in Samoa
Natanielu explains, “Our doors
Since 1981, Loto Taumafai Society She says, “As you would know in any are open to children within a makes it all worth it. The biggest
for People with Disabilities (LTS) community, people with disabilities wide spectrum of disabilities. This reward is to see them flourishing and
has provided quality education, are marginalised and can face stigma includes children with physical making progress each day.
rehabilitation and support from others, so we strive to provide and sensory impairments, Down
for children and people with a safe environment for our students Syndrome and Autism. At the “I think the most important thing
disabilities. where they feel accepted, valued and moment, Samoa does not have a we need to remember is that each
cared for. curriculum catering specifically for and every child has the capacity to
With valued assistance from donor students with disabilities so part of learn, even if they learn differently.
and volunteer organisations, the “I believe that in recent years there what we do is to see how we can My vision for the students is that
thriving NGO has paved the way has been a growing awareness adjust and adapt the Ministry of when they leave school, they will
forward for inclusive education in and acceptance for people with Education’s curriculum to meet the be confident to do something
Samoa. By Shivani Shama disabilities in the community. We needs of each of our students. meaningful in life that makes them
always try to add value to what we feel valued as productive members of
According to Principal Lagi Natanielu, do, whether it’s through community “Working with people with
children with disabilities often the community.”
engagement, engaging our parents disabilities, especially children, can
face numerous challenges within through our Parent-Teacher be very challenging, but at the end LTS has been a VSA partner since 1998,
mainstream education facilities, Association or through our inclusive of the day to see them laughing with 13 volunteers in that time. Currently,
with some students with disabilities curriculum.” and having fun whilst learning,
Jan Kennington is working as a Special
choosing to discontinue education Education Adviser.

10 11
Cook Islands waste Litter is an issue on the island, “The biggest challenge is better waste collection and raised
management particularly as most will eventually changing mindsets, getting awareness.
make its way out to sea, so WATSAN people to accept that waste
has a number of schemes they’re management is everyone’s Which is why WATSAN’s on the
Most weeks, the Cook Islands 6.00 news every week: Jaime
News has at least one item on developing to address it, including responsibility.”
waste collection and recycling, says, “The biggest challenge is
rubbish in Rarotonga. Jaime changing mindsets, getting people
a proposed polystyrene ban and survey results on Facebook, which
Short, as director of Water, to accept that waste management is
eventually, a plan to join up waste shows people care and are unhappy
Waste & Sanitation (WATSAN) everyone’s responsibility.”
management across the outer about the litter. Unfortunately,
for Infrastructure Cook Islands
islands, as well. despite the campaign, the litter
(ICI), has become one of ICI has been a VSA partner since 2015, with
hasn’t changed.” three volunteers including Hilary Boyes,
the faces of the campaign Jaime says “we have been doing who’s working alongside Jaime as a Solid
against waste. extra things like a small anti beach Waste is an issue across the Pacific, Waste Management Coordination Adviser.
litter campaign, posting each week’s which a number of Governments are
moving to address with plastic bans,

Plastic in the Pacific Positive moves

towards plastic free

Single use plastic:

70% 80% 50% Pacific countries are taking the lead on
banning single-use plastic: it’s banned in
of the litter on of marine debris of birds and marine
Vanuatu now and in Samoa by 2019. Fiji
Samoa’s coast is comes from land- mammal species has placed a levy on it and New Zealand
plastic based sources have eaten plastic announced its own ban this year.

12 13
Performing in Vanuatu

A small ni-Vanuatu theatre group

has grown to work with and
support youth all over Vanuatu.
In a country with a high teenage
pregnancy rate (around 7% of
all births) and high prevalence of
Sexually Transmitted Infections, Wan
Smolbag spreads the world about
sexual and reproductive health and
healthy relationships through theatre, Josh teaching dance. Photo credit: Gina Kaitiplel
music and dance – even an award-
winning TV show. examining social issues, while up
Since being founded by a small to 17,000 young people are seen in
troupe of volunteer actors in 1990, clinics, including WSB’s mobile clinics
WSB has grown to be the largest that visit the regions.
grassroots NGO in the Pacific. Ricky Hinton, manager of WSB’s
They now work in many different Port Vila centre (WSB also runs the
areas including youth advocacy, Northern Care Youth Clinic in Santo),
environment, and good governance, says “There’s always something
proving they are more than just different happening – sewing, dance,
community theatre. computer classes, music…
Half of all unemployed people in “This town is growing and growing
Vanuatu are between the ages of and the space for youth is just not
16 and 29, and nearly half of all high there. So my dream is for it to remain
school-aged people are not in school. a place for youth to come and learn
Wan Smolbag’s mission is to engage something. It’s a safe space for them
those young people, to provide them as well as a place for learning fun
with the skills they need, as well as stuff.”
advocating for good youth policy and
ensuring young people have access Wan Smolbag has been a VSA partner since
to reproductive health services. 1998, with 13 volunteers since then. Josh
Mitikulena is volunteering as a Dance Tutor/
Every year, tens of thousands of Choreographer.

people see WSB theatre productions

14 15
Vanuatu women in media

Gina Kaitiplel is Production me and also people in different

Coordinator at Further Arts in Port communities.
Vila, Vanuatu. What kind of impact does it make in
This year, VSA commissioned Gina the community?
to make a short documentary about Further Arts provides space and
Wan Smolbag (previous pages) – training on multimedia productions.
follow us on Facebook to see when We also document “kastom”
it’s released! (traditional) knowledge through
kastom music, food and dance
What is Further Arts’ mission?
through videos, CDs and books.
To support the cultural activities of
producers, artists and musicians Do you have a highlight from your
within Vanuatu and overseas. We time here?
empower ni-Vanuatu and other It has been an exciting journey for me
Melanesians to develop skills and as a young woman who has never
livelihoods that are culturally, socially, been to other islands except for my
environmentally and financially home island. One of my highlights
sustainable, and to apply these skills is doing projects in seven different
to achieve social justice and social islands from north to south of
transformation for the betterment of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu, Melanesia, and the world. What’s your vision for Further Arts’
How did you get involved? future?
In June last year I got an invitation to I hope that Further Arts Nesar Studio
join a media training called “Women will become a power house that
in Media”. I became a regular part of supports communities around the
Further Arts’ crew and very recently, country and helps people know
I joined Further Arts Nesar Studio as where they come from and what
Production Coordinator. the true meaning of their culture is.
I hope that we will continue to raise
How has it made a difference for you? the skills and knowledge of young
It has made a big difference for people in media, especially for young
me. It has taught me a lot about women who need a lot of support.
photography and filming. It has also
Further Arts has been a VSA partner since
allowed me to meet a lot of people
1998, with four volunteers. Nicole Colmar is
who have the same interests as there as a Media Production Adviser

Opposite: Gina Kaitiplel and VSA volunteer Nicole Colmar.

16 17
Serah Piturara and Roseanne Ulunga. Photo: Patrick Rose Serah and Roseanne visit Honiara High School with MEHRD staff. Photo: Claire McClintock

Time for school in Solomon Islands

Henson Makoani’s passion for fifth of primary school-aged children facilities for girls, who are more likely such as ramps for accessibility and
education in Solomon Islands is are not in school. to not attend school than boys. design with disaster preparedness in
infectious. mind.
Making sure the 1300 schools in the “Our staff are gaining
As Acting Director of the Asset country are fit for purpose “is one of confidence and are now But while MEHRD staff are
Management Division of the Solomon the biggest challenges we have,” he improving on what they’re benefitting from the work, she says
Islands Ministry of Education and says, and it’s work that can be set doing,” the most important thing is that
Human Resources (MEHRD), he’s back in an instant, as happened after the outcomes directly benefit the
been working to improve Ministry the Honiara flash floods in March Serah Piturara, MEHRD’s Chief Asset children who have modern, safe
and school facilities for the last five 2014, when many schools required Officer, says she feel real pride in the facilities. “It’s a great privilege for me
years, as part of the Government’s further repair, and were put into new classrooms. While Henson notes to work as a MEHRD Officer.”
drive to achieve universal primary service as emergency shelters. that Ministry jobs aren’t as attractive
school enrollment. as the private sector, Serah says The VSA/Downer/MEHRD partnership
In the last four years, together with began in 2014. Since then, 17 young
she’s seen MEHRD staff’s confidence
The Solomons has one of the fastest engineers have each undertaken three to
VSA and Downer, MEHRD has and skills grow alongside the four-month assignments as Infrastructure
growing populations in the region, overseen a construction boom: 20 classrooms. “Our staff are gaining Advisers with MEHRD. Most recently, Jack
with 40% of its citizens under new libraries in Honiara schools, confidence and are now improving Thompson, Roseanne Ulunga and Fraser
15 years of age. Just 17% of the along with two new science labs on what they’re doing,” and points Coutts have worked in Honiara with the
population is fully literate. Nearly one- and new toilets, including separate to improvements in school designs, Ministry.

18 19
Women in Fiji. Photo: Olivia Owen

Gender equity in the Pacific

The Pacific experiences the highest rates of gender-based violence outside

of conflict zones. Women have just 7% of Parliamentary seats, but there
are wāhine toa working everywhere to ensure women are healthy, safe and
independent. These are some of our partners working for women:

Leitana Nehan Women’s Women in Business Development

Helen Hakena. Photo: Adam Constanza
Development Agency, Bougainville Inc, Samoa, has grown from a small
(see opposite page). cooperative to an organisation that
Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency (LNWDA)
sells to multinationals, including the
was founded at the height of the 10-year Bougainville The Nazareth Rehabilitation Body Shop.
conflict to provide humanitarian aid to women and Centre, in Bougainville, provides safe
children. houses, access to counselling and Isles Media Investment, Solomon
legal advice, and livelihoods training. Islands, produces the country’s first
This year, Leitana will complete work violence cases, child abuse, gender-
They also undertake education, newspaper focussed on women.
on new buildings, having worked out based violence in general. People
especially to men, in the regions.
of temporary facilities since their old come from across Bougainville. HAFOTI is a cooperative of women’s
office burned down in 2007. The UN Women multi-country office small rural producer groups across
“We also conduct training with
in Fiji looks after programmes around seven districts in Timor-Leste, with the
The building will “change women’s women’s groups and youth groups,
the region to support women from objective of increasing the capacity of
lives,” Leitana co-founder Helen so they grow their skills.
the grassroots to parliament. rural women to generate income for
Hakena says. LNDWA’s influence
“We don’t have the funding to do that, their families.
spreads throughout Bougainville but The Kiribati Family Health
here, Helen gives an insight into her but we have the skills, so we give
Association provides sexual and Women and Children’s Crisis
day-to-day work: back to the community.”
reproductive health services and Centre, Tonga, provides free
LNWDA has been a VSA partner since 2007, education, and supports peer counselling and legal services, as well
“I see about four women a day for
with six volunteers in that time. To read education for youth. as a safe house, and advocates for
counselling services for domestic more, visit www.vsa.org.nz/leitana change at a national level.

20 21
Tonga youth

With youth unemployment in Many of TYEE’s clients are school

Tonga at 11.1%, Tonga Youth leavers, however they also work
Enterprise & Entrepreneurship with young people who’ve received
(TYEE) aims to support young scholarships to study in New Zealand
people with employable skills. or Australia then return home to find
it hard getting work.
Lusia Latu-Jones, TYEE President,
says, “Our young people are being Lusia says “Our ambition is to
inspired, empowered to lead and provide high quality support services
make their own good choices when it to Tongan young school leavers and
comes to employment opportunities our business partners and sponsors
and training opportunities. We alike.” Through partnerships, they’re
support them in making the transition able to provide training in ICT, tourism
from out of school to their first job and production – skills in high
or new career. Our young people are demand in Tonga.
the future of our country, the future
TYEE is a new VSA partner this year -
workforce of Tonga.” Graeme Atkinson is their first volunteer.

Youth in the Pacific

In the countries where Young people make In the countries where

VSA works, up to 60% up one-third of VSA works, up to 34%
of the population is working-aged people of young people are
under 25 in the Pacific, but are non-literate
twice as likely to be
22 23
VSA sends skilled Kiwis overseas to share
their experience and knowledge directly
with local people and communities.

Working alongside our amazing partner

organisations, together we create
new opportunities for people that will
continue to ripple across communities
and generations to come.
Costs covered. Diverse industries

volunteer/ donate at www.vsa.org.nz

Connecting people – transforming lives

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