Commonwealth Local Government Forum

First all female council for Vanuatu village

20 May 2017

Striking a blow for gender equality, Sunai Village on the island of Moso has taken the lead in empowering women in their community by choosing a woman to head up its Village Tribunal Council. New Chairwoman, Mrs Leimalu Tapasei, was appointed by the female Executive, to make it the first all female council in the village’s history. 

Despite tireless efforts in society to increase the number of women in leadership positions, and the funding of many female empowerment programmes, women continue to be excluded from senior roles because of deep rooted, cultural perceptions about their abilities.     

Chairman of the Sunai Village Area Council of Chiefs Jimmy Meameadola said it was an unprecedented decision but ”Mrs Tapasei was appointed on merit for contributing enormously to community development.”

Elected three months ago, Chairwoman Mrs Tapesei described her accomplishments to date as establishing terms of reference, bylaws and a mission statement for the village council; and restructuring the council to create sub-committees to deal with education, health, water, environment, business, infrastructure, land and disaster. 

She promised that, during her term she will advocate for the importance of sustainable development by building a network to include government, civil society and NGOs. “Finding an organisation to partner with to fight coastal erosion is one of my many goals. Our marine resources have been exploited due to climate change and I will ensure that our fresh water supply system is restored and build a multi-purpose women’s club house that can be utilised as a disaster relief centre” she explained.

Other aims include rebuilding a new community church, establishing a marine conservation park and continuing to facilitate short courses for members of the community.

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CLGF SG moving on after five years

  CLGF Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum Dr Greg Munro is leaving the organisation to take up the position of Director of Cities Alliance.

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