PARTNER

Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) – Vanuatu

REGION

Pacific

COUNTRY

Vanuatu

LOCATION

The main office for the Anglican Church of Melanesia in Vanuatu is in Luganville, capital of Sanma Province on the northern island of Espiritu Santo. Work takes place in the Sanma, Penema and Torba provinces, all on the northern islands of Vanuatu.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) is part of the Anglican Communion and includes eight dioceses across Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

ACOM was formed in 1861 by Bishop George Selwyn under the Diocese of Melanesia, within the Church of the Province of New Zealand.

Today, there are nearly 200,000 Anglicans out of an estimated population of more than 800,000 people in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and a newly formed parish in Nouméa, New Caledonia.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia has a range of activities as an active church in the Pacific.

These include ministry and mission, social and community development, and strengthening the capacity of the organisation.

Social and community development work is overseen by the Board of Mission of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, and includes health, education (including adult literacy), community development, child protection, working with people with disabilities, gender programs, family violence programs, responding to climate change, and disaster risk reduction.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia in Vanuatu is part of the Vanuatu Church Partnership Program that is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Its focus is on the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure to communities within the two Vanuatu dioceses: the Diocese of Vanuatu and New Caledonia (Sanma and Penema Provinces) and the Diocese of Banks and Torres (Torba Province).

Anglican Overseas Aid has been partnering with the Anglican Church of Melanesia in Vanuatu since 2012.

The partnership began with Anglican Overseas Aid providing a small amount of funding for a pilot project to replicate the successful solar lights work that had been taking place in Solomon Islands. The pilot, called the Women and Youth Empowerment project, was a success and it was included in the Australian Government funding program in 2013-14.

Anglican Overseas Aid is working with the Anglican Church of Melanesia, Vanuatu (ACOMV) to deliver the Safe, Resilient Communities Program.

Commencing in July 2019, the work has two areas of focus:

  1. Transforming community knowledge, attitudes, behaviour and practices towards gender-based violence, communities learn knowledge and skills by sharing information within their social networks.
  2. Preparing communities to respond to the impacts of disasters, focusing on the protection of vulnerable people.

The work targets both community leaders and community members. Community leaders are trained as facilitators in gender-based violence and then train their community members.

The Drop-In centre, located in Luganville, is a well-known community building, placed within the main church headquarters in Luganville. This aims to become a hub for gender equity, with the centre staffed by Church leaders trained in pastoral care.

The centre offers activities and a safe space for all members of the community to discuss awareness and participate in workshops about human equity, taking a culturally appropriate approach to family violence, and engaging men, women and youth.

The work focuses on rural and peri-urban communities in central and northern Vanuatu, where violence against women is common. As many as 72% of women experience physical and sexual violence in their life time.

As a prominent Church deeply embedded in local communities, ACOMV is uniquely placed to play a key role in advocating, leading and supporting sustainable change in the area of gender-based violence.

ACOMV is able to work with community and church leadership (the main influencers within their communities) while also working with existing networks that reach out to the most remote communities. They are able to disseminate awareness and training programs through these existing networks, working directly at the grassroots level.

Funding: With initial funding provided by the Australian NGO Cooperation Program in 2019/20, the work is now funded by small grants and donations from the Australian public.