Innovations in Poverty Eradication in Vanuatu
The nation of Vanuatu, located in the South Pacific, consists of more than 80 individual islands. In 2020, around 16% of the nation lived below the national poverty line, according to the World Bank. As one of the most at-risk countries for natural disasters, frequent cyclones and earthquakes hinder economic development and damage infrastructure. On April 6, 2020, right after Vanuatu closed its borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Tropical Cyclone Harold damaged or destroyed about 885 schools. Since about three-fourths of the population lives in rural communities as of 2020, getting adequate relief to these areas after a natural disaster can be challenging. However, with recent innovations in poverty eradication in Vanuatu, access to rural areas and disaster relief are improving.

Disaster-Resilient Food Supply

Natural disasters can sometimes prevent imports of goods into Vanuatu, often limiting the food supply. Vanuatu-based food advocate Votausi Lucyann Mackenzie-Reur tells Devex some Ni-Vanuatu are more dependent on food imports rather than local farming and cooking. So, natural disasters that block imports hit some communities harder, as a strong local food supply is lacking. To create a more disaster-resilient food supply, the TV series “Pacific Island Food Revolution” advertises local foods by hosting cooking competitions among different chefs. The goal of the show is to promote the growth and consumption of local indigenous foods. Local food advocates seek to have a larger local food supply when trade slows, which also benefits the local economy.

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology, a platform on which data exists in a secure, “unhackable” setting, is assisting during disaster relief in Vanuatu. Oxfam, a leader in delivering humanitarian assistance, began the UnBlocked Cash initiative in 2019. As of April 2021, the UnBlocked Cash initiative has helped more than 35,000 people receive aid in Vanuatu. Monetary aid received through cards and smartphones gives people more freedom to buy exactly what they need from local businesses, instead of aid groups importing select items. People can buy food, medical necessities, emergency supplies and home rebuilding materials using the aid on blockchain.

So, disaster relief directly involves local businesses in the economy as recipients use blockchain at these locations. In addition, blockchain technology had the benefits of minimizing distribution costs by 75% and decreasing the delivery time of aid by 96%. With this innovation in poverty eradication, aid organizations can almost immediately upload funds to recipients’ accounts for them to use on essentials after a natural disaster.

Drone Technology

With almost 75% of the population living in the rural areas of Vanuatu, some communities may only be accessible by boat or by foot. But through the U.N.’s Office for Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA), the Digital Humanitarian Network began using drone technology in 2015. With the first use of drones after Cyclone Pam, the technology continues to make rural communities more accessible.

Drones can help map communities after a natural disaster. The drones collect data about a natural disaster’s impacts on infrastructure in certain communities. As a result, aid groups can identify hard-hit places faster and provide the proper aid.

Beyond disaster relief, drone technology is developing to serve other innovations in poverty eradication in Vanuatu. In 2018, the Vanuatu Ministry of Health, along with UNICEF, began using drones to distribute vaccines to rural areas. Before drones, it could take days on boat or foot to reach remote villages. With vaccines needing temperature-controlled storage, some vaccines were unusable by the time they reached some communities.

But now, drones can get to rural communities quickly, while using technology in the storage to ensure the temperature remains at a safe level. Contracting with drone companies Swoop Aero and Wingcopter, the pilot program began by serving 39 rural communities. As a result, children and adults in remote areas of Vanuatu receive essential vaccines that protect their health.

With remote geography and frequent natural disasters, getting aid to parts of Vanuatu can be difficult. But, with recent innovations in poverty eradication in Vanuatu, ranging from TV shows to drones, aid can reach the people of Vanuatu faster.

– Abigail Turner
Photo: Flickr

Vanuatu's Graduation Vanuatu is a southwestern Pacific Ocean country made up of about 80 islands with a small population of around 300,000. Vanuatu has recently graduated from the list of least developed countries (LDC) despite setbacks due to ongoing natural disasters and other factors. Vanuatu’s graduation from LDC status took place on December 4, 2020. It was first recognized as an LDC in 1985.

What is the Least Developed Country List?

Less developed countries are countries that struggle with maintaining sustainable development, causing them to be low-income countries. In 1971, The United Nations created a category list of the least developed countries in the world. The United Nations reviews and checks the list every three years based on the country’s economic vulnerability, income per capita and human assets. There are currently about 46 countries on the least developed country list. Angola is another country that will be scheduled for its graduation in 2021. Vanuatu has recently joined the five other countries that were able to graduate since the creation of the least developed country list.

Although less developed countries are economically vulnerable, they receive special international aid to help with creating sustainable development. These countries also have specific trade with other nations that are not accessible to more developed nations. This is why less-developed nations are sometimes referred to as “emerging markets.” The majority of the support that countries in the least developed countries list receive is either directly from or set up by the U.N. Committee for Development Policy.

The Success Behind Vanuatu’s Graduation

Vanuatu graduates form the least developed country list despite major setbacks due to climate change, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to other countries that graduated, most of Vanuatu’s success is as a result of the international aid which enabled the country’s stable economic growth. In addition to the aid, Vanuatu has also had success in its strong agriculture sector. The increased diversification in agricultural crops and stocks has helped with the per capita income and human assets criteria for the least developed countries list.

When it comes to the economic vulnerability criteria, Vanuatu is still at risk despite graduating. The risk of economic vulnerability stems from the prevalent natural disasters. Even though the country has shown consistent economic growth, the external shocks from natural disasters are out of the country’s control as it faces about two to three disasters a year. However, there is still a great chance that Vanuatu will have continued success in maintaining sustainable development.

Maintaining Sustainable Development

The most well-known source of maintaining sustainable development for less developed countries is through international aid. Even though Vanuatu has graduated from the least developed country list, the country still is able to receive aid and continue its trading relationships with countries it was given priority to when classified as a less developed nation. For instance, Vanuatu had still received $10 million in emergency aid from the World Bank organization. The funding was for the impact that both COVID-19 and a tropical cyclone had on Vanuatu earlier in 2020.

Significant Success for Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s graduation from the least developed country list is a significant achievement that demonstrates the country’s ability to maintain consistency in its economic growth, while also overcoming challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters. Although the graduation signifies major growth, there is still more economic stability that is needed before the country can significantly reduce its economic vulnerability.

– Zahlea Martin
Photo: Flickr

Vanuatu's Graduation From the LDCsSince the United Nations created the least developed countries (LDCs) list in the 1970s, only six nations have moved off of the list to a higher ranking of development. Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific, became the sixth country to do so on December 4, 2020, after being designated an LDC in 1985. Vanuatu’s graduation from the LDCs list can serve as a beacon of hope for more LDCs to achieve higher rates of development.

Economic Growth

The U.N. Committee for Development Policy (CDP) identifies LDCs based on their level of human assets, environmental and economic vulnerability and per capita income. Since 1991, Vanuatu has met the CDP’s income per capita threshold and was recommended for graduation in 2012, having more than twice the income per capita threshold and also meeting the threshold for human assets. In an effort to pursue graduation, Vanuatu began shifting its economic policies to decrease reliance on imports, increase exports and create employment and income-generating opportunities. Vanuatu’s rural economy grew after improvements in the livestock sector in addition to the country’s diversification of agricultural activities to include timber, kava, coconut oil and copra. The tourism industry and real estate investments were also an aid to Vanuatu’s economic growth as income per person increased by more than 2.5 times between 2002 and 2017.

Vanuatu’s Setbacks

Throughout Vanuatu’s progress in economically developing the country, the nation has also been stymied by recurring natural disasters. The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development estimates that Vanuatu is affected by an average of two to three natural disasters per year and noted that Vanuatu is uniquely affected by natural disasters as its size causes the entirety of the country to be affected as opposed to just specific regions. In 2015, Vanuatu was hit by Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 cyclone that destroyed 50-90% of the country’s shelters and 95% of crops. Cyclone Pam delayed Vanuatu’s previous progress toward graduation and warranted an extension of the country’s grace period to 2020. Additionally, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a decrease in the country’s tourism industry. While Vanuatu’s first case of COVID-19 was reported only in November 2020, the pandemic has impacted the nation and its economic sectors.

A Pathway for LDCs

While Vanuatu is the third country in the Asia-Pacific region to graduate from LDC status, following Samoa in 2014 and the Maldives in 2011, it is only the sixth country to graduate overall. On track to move up from LDC status are Angola in 2021, Bhutan in 2023 and São Tomé and Príncipe and the Solomon Islands both in 2024. Vanuatu’s graduation can bring hope to the other 46 countries on the LDC list, especially given the global circumstances in which Vanuatu achieved this feat. The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively stalled worldwide markets and further excluded many LDCs from international supply chains. With the encouragement of Vanuatu’s graduation from the LDCs list during a global pandemic, hope for the four countries scheduled for graduation in the near future increases alongside support from the international community to ensure an eventual zero countries on the LDCs list.

Caroline Mendoza
Photo: Flickr

Homelessness in Vanuatu
Cyclone Harold tore through Vanuatu in early April 2020 and brought torrential rain, flash flooding and destructive wind up to 145 miles per hour. The storm devastated Espiritu Santo and Pentecost Island, bringing about significant impacts to the rest of the country’s northern and central islands. The cyclone wiped out trees and crops, flooded cities and towns, knocked out power, disrupted communications and destroyed countless homes and businesses. World Vision Vanuatu stated that 160,000 people, which is more than half of the country’s population, became homeless. In some villages, including one on Pentecost Islands, the cyclone destroyed all the homes.

General Relief Efforts

Addressing homelessness in Vanuatu after Cyclone Harold has been challenging due to COVID-19. While the country is one of the few places in the world without any cases, a single outbreak could put the island’s population and healthcare system in jeopardy. Therefore, the country halted international travel, forbade foreign relief workers from on-the-ground efforts and required the decontamination of all aid equipment. As a result, many communities did not see immediate relief.

The Santo Sunset Environment Network and Edenhope Foundation established a coconut weaving program to help rebuild after Cyclone Harold. The program employs people from the island of Tanna in the southern part of Vanuatu. The Tanna weavers held workshops with residents of the affected communities and taught them how to build with coconut fronds, rope and bamboo. Although islanders typically use Natangura palms to construct homes, Harold destroyed most of them, so residents had to adapt. While builders constructed most of the new buildings for communal purposes, they are looking to build private homes and cyclone-resistant buildings as well.

Down Under Rally, an Australian boating tour agency, started Project Nakamal, another local effort to address homelessness in Vanuatu. Down Under Rally also operates in New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Its priority is to rebuild the Nakamal structure, a building that locals use for ceremonial and community purposes. These buildings are at the heart of each community and serve as an important facet of Vanuatu society. The boating tour agency teamed up with Port of Call Yacht Services to provide materials for rebuilding. The organization has now exceeded its original fundraising goal of  $10,000 Australian dollars, about $6,948 in USD.

Larger organizations like World Vision Vanuatu set a goal to reach 3,000 households in Sanma Province, which includes the islands of Espiritu Santo and Malo. These organizations collaborated with World Vision’s Asia Pacific regional office and Vanuatu Women’s Centre to raise money for shelter, water purification and hygiene kits to support people with disabilities.

Through the help of U.N. Women, the Vanuatu Women’s Centre was able to make mobile counseling visits to various areas that the storm affected and help homeless women as well as their families. The organization reports that many women were concerned about their children and avoiding domestic violence. While various women called in need of food, water and shelter, others reached out to alleviate violence and sexual abuse.

Future of Relief

Despite the fact that Vanuatu’s carbon footprint is small, it is at the forefront of dealing with challenging weather. According to a study from Griffith University, the University of Queensland and the University of the Sunshine Coast, stronger and more frequent tropical cyclones threaten the island chain due. Rising sea levels also threaten the country, which would only exacerbate homelessness in Vanuatu. The study found that community-centered initiatives were most successful in addressing these issues. These local programs were scientific but complemented traditional beliefs.

It is important to expand and further implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The document received signatures at the U.N. General Assembly in 2015 and set specific goals for disaster mitigation through 2030. The agreement seeks to reduce global disaster mortality, the number of people who disasters affect, economic losses and infrastructure damage. It seeks to increase warning system availability, international cooperation to developing countries and the number of countries that have both national and local mitigation strategies.

Bryan Boggiano
Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in Vanuatu: Putting a Stop to Social Stigmas
The Republic of Vanuatu is an island in the South Pacific Ocean with a population of only 283,558 people. Of that, 49.1 percent are females. With no effective care and knowledge, addressing menstruation is taboo and handling it is more complex than usual. While it is one of the most important and common changes all women experience, women in Vanuatu are at their most vulnerable during their menstrual cycle. In fact, 75 percent of girls miss school for three to seven days per month when they are on their period due to the social stigma that girls are unclean and unfit to work around the house or go to school.

Girls’ Education in Vanuatu

Education is a main tool for success, but girls’ education in Vanuatu is not guaranteed. According to Spain Exchange, Vanuatu schools have the lowest attendance and enrollment rate in the Pacific because attending school in Vanuatu is not mandatory. Even when given the opportunity to go to school, girls don’t have the proper support system they need to finish because schools lack access to proper bathroom facilities, toiletries and feminine hygiene products. Eventually, girls are forced to drop out because they are falling behind from missing school, making it difficult to catch up with the rest of the class. To make matters worse, young girls can’t turn to their mothers for help because mothers barely understand what is happening to their own bodies.

When girls miss school, they are at home trying to use the little resources they have as menstrual pads, usually using rags or leaves. However, these methods are unreliable and unsanitary. Throughout this process, these young girls are feeling sad, ashamed and confused. Fortunately, there are several organizations that have created effective ways for the girls in Vanuatu to feel protected and clean at school during their menstrual cycle.

CARE for Girls’ Education in Vanuatu

CARE is an international humanitarian campaign that fights global poverty. To help girls in Vanuatu, CARE raised $20,349 to help over 300 girls in 10 different schools. Each girl received a hygiene kit filled with various feminine products including pads, washable and reusable pad liners, soap, laundry detergent and a bucket to wash her clothes and pads.

CARE Australia states that the pads are made by Mamma’s Laef, a Vanuatu business that employs local women. Mamma’s Laef sews reusable and eco-friendly pads that are expected to last up to four years for women all over the country. Australian ABC News reported that, at first, this company was making just a few kits a week, but after high demand for its products, business was booming and catching the attention of the government.

Now, Mamma’s Laef holds educational sessions and programs as part of girls’ education in Vanuatu to inform the students about the reproductive system and the natural changes the human body experiences. Girls learn about the menstrual cycle and how to handle it while boys are taught self-care and how to respect women in their country.

With the help and knowledge of organizations such as CARE and Mamma’s Laef, Vanuatu is one step closer to becoming a successful, self-sufficient country. The girls in Vanuatu prove every day that, with just the help and support of each other, anything is possible.

– Kristen Uedoi
Photo: Flickr

infrastructure in Vanuatu

According to a U.N. University World Risk Index, Vanuatu is the world’s most at-risk country for natural disasters. Of Vanuatu’s 250,000 citizens, approximately 90,000 per year are at risk of earthquakes. Storms put 30,000 people per year at risk. Natural hazards affect 64 percent of Vanuatu’s citizens every year, yet 81 percent lack coping capacities.

Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities Jotham Napat commented on the government’s awareness of the impact natural disasters have on the community and environment, and the need for improved public infrastructure in Vanuatu. Napat emphasizes the necessity for the government to have the ability and motivation to respond to natural disasters. Emergency response should be based upon solid policies, legislation, practices and procedures to restore normality and strengthen resilience.

Tropical Cyclone (TC) Pam hit Vanuatu in 2015. TC Pam impacted 22 islands, killed 11 people, left thousands homeless and damaged public infrastructure. Islands affected by TC Pam suffered partial or total destruction of buildings. Vanuatu’s economic damage and losses totaled $450 million USD.

Following the storm, Vanuatu’s government approved the Infrastructure Reconstruction and Improvement Project for Vanuatu in June 2016. The goal of the project is to improve the climate and disaster resilience of specified public sector assets impacted by TC Pam; it also provides an effective and immediate response to an eligible crisis or emergency.

The project consists of five components:

  • Road reconstruction and improvement
  • School reconstruction and improvement
  • Public building reconstruction and improvement
  • Project implementation and technical support
  • Contingency emergency response

Vanuatu’s emergency response protocol will support preparedness and immediate response to eligible catastrophic events, disasters and emergencies. The project’s anticipated closing date is April 30, 2022. It is comprised of a $25 million USD credit and a $25 million USD grant.

The project is one of many established in response to TC Pam and provides 14,000 people with improved all-weather road access and 5,000 students with safer schools. Vanuatu has a 50 percent chance of experiencing another loss greater than $330 million USD within the next 50 years.

Improving infrastructure in Vanuatu will strengthen its resilience against natural disasters, thus saving human lives and reducing the cost of international intervention.

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to vanuatu

Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific, west of Fiji. One of the major problems Vanuatu faces is cyclone storms, which are tropical storms that create a heavy circulation of strong winds, thunderstorms and severe rain. Following such disasters, humanitarian aid to Vanuatu is critical.

Recently, in 2015, Vanuatu suffered one of the worst cyclones yet. Cyclone Pam was the second most intense cyclone in the South Pacific Ocean and one of the worst natural disasters in Vanuatu to date. During Cyclone Pam, winds exceeded 185 miles per hour, destroying 90 percent of the country’s infrastructure. As a result of this disaster, the success of humanitarian aid to Vanuatu was essential during this time and thereafter.

The Airbus Helicopters Foundation

Following the natural disaster, helicopters carrying aid was one success of humanitarian aid to Vanuatu. Having most of the infrastructure completely destroyed, helicopters were the best way to reach the communities in need. The Airbus Helicopters Foundation worked with the French Foreign Affairs Ministry Crisis Center. Together, they distributed humanitarian aid to people affected by the cyclone, including medical supplies and food.

The Airbus Helicopters Foundation also worked with numerous stakeholders to send helicopters to humanitarian workers. These workers would then get the supplies to the communities in the most desperate areas. They partnered with Garden City Helicopters from New Zealand in order to provide even more helicopter assistance to Vanuatu people in need.

Australian Government Assistance

One of the main humanitarian aid contributors during this disaster was Vanuatu’s neighbor, Australia. The Australian government committed $35 million after Cyclone Pam, between 2015 and 2018. The aid focuses on long-term recovery support and is delivered through the assistance of the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu. The recovery plans include:

  • Supporting economic recovery, livelihoods and the private sector
  • Rebuilding affected infrastructure for public administration
  • Reestablishing health and education facilities
  • Assisting disability inclusion

These improvements will be focused on Shefa and Tafea, the provinces where nearly 90 percent of damage and destruction occurred after Cyclone Pam.

Israeli Assistance

Israel also helped the success of humanitarian aid to Vanuatu by sending food to feed 2,000 of the Island’s residents for the length of one month after Cyclone Pam hit. Food scarcity became a problem after the disaster as approximately 70 percent of Vanuatu’s crops were destroyed.

The food was a porridge in powder which was high in nutrients and helped people retain a healthy diet during the crisis. Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation in the Foreign Ministry sent food aid, which was then delivered locally by the Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid.

In addition to the food aid, volunteers from Israel stayed behind to help the local population. They renovated water systems and reestablished medical and mental health systems for the community.

The success of humanitarian aid to Vanuatu is just one of many examples where aid has helped thousands of people recover after a crisis occurs.

– McCall Robison

Photo: Flickr

women's empowerment in vanuatu
In the beautiful country of Vanuatu, a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly 80 islands, there is a strong fight for women’s empowerment.

Gender Equality Measures

Vanuatu falls under the umbrella of the UN Women’s Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO) based in Suva, that covers 14 Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICT). PICTs work with governments and civil society organizations, and the MCO works to progress gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Pacific through the four key programs:

  1. Women’s Economic Empowerment
  2. Ending Violence Against Women
  3. Advancing Gender Justice in the Pacific
  4. Increasing Community Resilience through Empowerment of Women to Address Climate Change and Natural Hazards Program

Violence Against Women

No sexual harassment legislation is in place in Vanuatu, and failure to comply with the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW, exists. There is also an unequal minimum age for marriage – 18 years for males and 16 years for females with parental consent.

Violence against women must be addressed in order to bring women’s empowerment in Vanuatu. According to UN Women, 3 in 5 women that have been in a relationship have experienced physical or sexual violence. Women are often treated as property, and they deal with a culture of sexual abuse fostered through adolescence by male family members. Most women are accustomed to these roles and accept that it is normal for men to beat them if they are not obedient.

Economically Empowering Females

In regard to women’s economic empowerment, over half of women who make an income and live with a man earn about the same or more than their husband or partner; however, less than one in five has savings in the bank, and few women own any major assets on their own. In fact, more than 1 in 5 women had their earnings taken away by their husband or partner, who also has the ability to disrupt, or forbid, their female’s work.

The impacts of climate change also directly impact women’s empowerment in Vanuatu. Rising sea levels and changes in air and water temperature affect women’s traditional economic, agricultural and fishing duties. Natural disasters also increase women’s vulnerability to violence and deprivation. Humanitarian intervention is crucial for the improvement of this aspect of women’s empowerment in Vanuatu.

Thankfully, the MCO’s four programs seek to address these issues, and bring significant change to the levels and regions of women’s empowerment in Vanuatu.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, home to just under 300,000 people. From the outside, Vanuatu’s beaches resemble a real-life paradise. However, certain problems plague the nation. The economy is based primarily on small-scale agriculture, as the industry is how roughly two-thirds of Vanuatu’s people earn their living. Finances are a common problem for these people: Vanuatu is one of the least wealthy countries in the world. The problems in Vanuatu are plentiful, but organizations such as CARE are providing a method of how to help people in Vanuatu.

Before one can learn how to help people in Vanuatu, one must have an understanding of the issues. Some of the most important issues that need to be addressed in Vanuatu are poor access to necessities, prevalent discrimination and issues of climate change.

Clean, safe water is one of the necessities that the people of Vanuatu are all too often forced to live without. Two main causes of this problem are that the majority of the population lives in rural areas and that the most recent El Niño in 2016 caused prodigious water shortages. Fortunately, CARE is working to improve the situation. According to their website, “Our water, sanitation and hygiene program rehabilitates community water systems and helps communities with drinking and water planning.” This work is of the utmost importance. Clean water does not simply give people something to drink, it unlocks opportunities in the workplace and education as well.

To help the people of Vanuatu, an effort must be made to end the widespread discrimination that currently exists in the nation. Women are widely discriminated against, like the statistic that over 60 percent of women in Vanuatu have experienced physical or sexual violence shows. CARE is once again working to improve the situation in Vanuatu. To combat this gender discrimination, CARE has started a program to help women obtain the information and resources necessary to increase their self-confidence and be a more active part of Vanuatu’s society. One of the ultimate goals of this program is to help women learn to earn their income and be able to support their families independently without having to rely on men.

CARE is doing a lot of important work in Vanuatu, but there is still a lot left to be accomplished. One way to help the people of Vanuatu is to get involved with CARE. The organization accepts donations, and volunteering at one of the organization’s events, participating in the Walk in Her Shoe challenge or organizing a fundraising event are all highly valuable ways to help the people in Vanuatu.

As people utilize CARE as a means for how to help the people in Vanuatu, the situation should only improve.

Adam Braunstein

Photo: Flickr

Vanuatu Poverty RateThe nation of Vanuatu is made up of a loose cluster of islands in the South Pacific. While the Vanuatu poverty rate of 12.7 percent is not nearly as severe as other Pacific countries, Vanuatu still recognizes poverty as an important issue. The latest poverty reports reveal Vanuatu’s low poverty percentiles as well as highlight the defining characteristics of the remaining people living in poverty.

Since 2006, the prevalence of food poverty across Vanuatu has been cut by over 50 percent. As little as 3.2 percent of people are now subject to food poverty. Increased intake of household produced food and high economic growth are responsible for this reduction. Only 3 percent of Vanuatu’s population is vulnerable to becoming poor. There have been slight increases in rural areas, but these numbers are not large enough to pose a threat. The severity of poverty in Vanuatu remains low as well. A 2.9 percent increase in household incomes for those living below standard lines would lift the remaining population out of poverty.

Who Are the Poor?
The Vanuatu Hardship & Poverty Report categorizes four common trends among Vanuatu’s poor:

  1. Female-headed households are most commonly connected to poverty.
  2. Poverty is significantly higher among people with low levels of education.
  3. People over 60 years old are more vulnerable to poverty.
  4. Multidimensional human poverty is higher and more severe in rural areas.

Of all the threats to development in Vanuatu, natural disasters take the lead. According to the 2016 U.N. University World Risk Report, Vanuatu is the world’s most at-risk country for natural hazards. Located along the Ring of Fire, climate threats have become normal to the Vanuatu population. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones are among the many dangers. Vanuatu currently has a disaster risk reduction policy, but receives little funding for climate change and disaster risk reduction. With harsh weather patterns and natural disasters expected to increase, it is essential that Vanuatu demonstrates strong financial management to protect its most vulnerable people and keep the Vanuatu poverty rate low.

Emilee Wessel

Photo: Flickr