Pressing for Progress – International Women’s Day 2018


Empowering women to participate fully in all aspects of life is essential to build stronger economies and improve the quality of life for families and communities. Live & Learn aims to promote equality between women and men in all aspects of economic, social and political life. We also believe that when it comes to women in leadership it is important “to see it in order to be it.”

So, this International Women’s Day we would like to acknowledge the amazing women who lead out in the Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation program across Fiji, Vanuatu, PNG and Solomon Islands. These women juggle responsibilities at home and work. They deal with traditional cultural expectations about what the role of a woman should be. Every time they are in a community they are examples to others about how women can lead, have economic independence and have a say in social and political life.

We currently work in six project sites. Four of these sites are managed by women:

  • Iva Koroisamanunu in Vanuatu
  • Vasiti Qionimacawa in Fiji
  • Hilda Tango in Solomon Islands
  • Malinda Marvin in Daru, PNG

We have six officers working with 43 schools in our WASH in Schools program. Five of them are women:

  •  Selina Vatuvoka in Fiji
  • Caroline Saemala in Solomon Islands
  • Joanne Patakai in West New Britain, PNG
  • Cecila Tohiam in New Ireland, PNG
  • Keslyne Christopher in Daru, PNG

Other women are serving as examples of leaders in the roles of gender and social inclusion trainers, hygiene promotion trainers, monitoring and evaluation officers, finance management and technical support. Women specifically serving with Live & Learn’s Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation program are:

  • Angela Isihanua in Solomon Islands
  • Gina Hou in Solomon Islands
  • Norolene Nimbtik in Vanuatu
  • Carys Everett in Vanuatu
  • Kartika Chandra in Fiji
  • Katie Drakeford in Fiji
  • Jackie Kerr in Australia
  • Indira Wijesinghe in Australia
  • Lin Sun in Australia
  • Michelle Abel in Australia

We also have many women supporting all Live & Learn field office projects in finance and administration across the entire network. We can’t name them all in this article, but want them to know that their contribution is vital to our organization. We also want to celebrate that the four Live & Learn network offices implementing the Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation program are led by women:

  • Doris Susau in Fiji
  • Elmah Panisi in Solomon Islands
  • Glarinda Andre in Vanuatu
  • Corry Sill in Papua New Guinea

Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There’s a strong call to #PressforProgress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive. Live & Learn has been progressing gender parity in the countries where we work for many years now, and we are proud to honour and celebrate the women who are demonstrating leadership and empowerment to all the women, girls, boys and men in the communities where we work.

The Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation program is funded by the Australian government, through the Civil Society WASH Fund.



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