By Amelia Lawac, Program Officer, Vanuatu Cricket Association
It was quite a sight: twenty-eight ‘island mamas’ storming a cricket pitch in punishing rain, their floral dresses soaked but spirits high. The score almost didn’t seem to matter as they smiled, laughed and danced their way through the match.
‘Island mamas’ participate in a cricket tournament in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo: Vanuatu Cricket Association
Standing on the sidelines, it was difficult for me not to be swept up in their enthusiasm. It’s a moment I won’t soon forget.
By Heather Murphy and Anna Clancy, Office of Development Effectiveness, AusAID
Women’s economic empowerment—the ability for women to participate in the economy—is a crucial element of gender equality and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Last year the World Bank declared that promoting gender equality is ‘smart economics’ and argued that greater gender equality will boost a country’s productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make public institutions more representative.
So, how is the Australian aid program supporting women’s economic empowerment in developing countries? The Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE), AusAID’s independent evaluation unit, is currently undertaking research to answer that question. ODE’s evaluation is looking at Australian programs and policies on a global level, as well as specific country case studies, to draw out development lessons on promoting women’s empowerment.
By Barbara Ratusznik, Public Diplomacy Officer, Pacific Division, AusAID
There is no doubting the diversity of the Pacific region. Environments, languages, cultures, challenges and opportunities all vary hugely from country to country. In the same stretch of ocean, you have Papua New Guinea with a population of 6.9 million people using over 850 languages, and Tokelau which has a total land area of just 12km² and a population of only 1,151.
A community member in Vanuatu looking after a turtle. Photo: Wan Smolbag
This diversity extends below the surface into the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific islands lie in an area of ocean covering one-seventh of the globe’s surface, boasting one of the most dynamic marine ecosystems in the world. Six out of the seven different types of sea turtle on the planet can be found here. But numbers of these grandfathers of the sea have been rapidly declining for some time. Every one of the species is now endangered.
By Kate Eversteyn, Child Protection Specialist, AusAID
Child abuse has been an unfortunate part of society for centuries. Children around the world face abuse and exploitation simply by virtue of the fact that they are dependent on adults to survive.
The statistics are bleak. Across the world in 2002, 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence. Every year some 1.2 million children are trafficked into exploitative work, many of them into commercial sexual exploitation.
I have been working with and for children and young people for 22 years. Working to improve the lives of children aligns with my personal values, making my work a vocation rather than just a job.
AusAID is determined to maintain its leadership role on this critical issue of protecting children. Photo: Lorrie Graham for AusAID.
At AusAID, we are working to ensure that all of our partners delivering our aid program are ‘child safe’ organisations. AusAID is the first donor and Australian Commonwealth Department to implement a Child Protection Policy. The policy has set an important international benchmark for the conduct of our aid delivery partners and their staff. This policy puts child protection firmly on the agenda and has a real flow on effect for the
children in the communities we help.