Melemaat to benefit from new ring-road market
Date: Thursday, October 1, 2020
[Joint press release]
Port Vila, Vanuatu (October 2, 2020) – Another ring-road market was opened by the Director General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ms. Cherol Ala Ianna and Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu at Melemaat village yesterday, 1 October 2020. This is in addition to Beverly Hills and Emua markets, which were opened by Honourable Maau’Koro Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau and Her Excellency Sarah deZoeten on Wednesday, 30 September 2020. It will be known as Bosvari Market.
“It is a great honour for Melemaat to be part of this ring-road market project. We are indeed blessed to have a new permanent building that includes benches, rainwater tanks, water and electricity to support our operation. We are also pleased to have toilets for men, women and people with disabilities, including ramps to help their access to the market,” said Chief Albea David, the Paramount Chief of Melemaat.
The project is part of the Shefa ring-road markets under the UN Women’s Markets for Change (M4C) and was funded by the Australian and Canadian Governments. The project was implemented by the Government of Vanuatu through the Department of Local Authorities, Shefa Provincial Government Council and Public Works Department.
“It has been a long-wait, but we are happy that our new market house is finally open for us to use. We have 238 households at Melemaat, and majority depend on informal markets for their livelihoods. Women in our community rely on small home-based businesses for their family. We could use this market to sell fresh produce, arts and craft, cooked food and other home-made products to help our family income,” said Melly David, the chairlady of Melemaat Bosvari Market Vendors Association.
The Director General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs acknowledged the Government of Australia and Canada for the generous funding support provided to the Government of Vanuatu through the M4C project to build this market. Markets symbolise the heart of the community uniting families and are a hub of development for the community.
“The Australian Government would like to congratulate every market vendor for your contribution to improving your new market houses. We are pleased to support vendors and communities to have improved market facilities. I encourage you to continue to work together to develop your marketplace and businesses into the future,” said Australia’s High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Her Excellency Sarah deZoeten.
“Canada is proud to be a partner in supporting the successful opening of the new market houses in Emua and Beverly Hills villages. Canada remains steadfast in our commitment to empowering women and communities in Vanuatu and across the Pacific region,” said Mark Glauser, the High Commissioner of Canada in Australia.
Sandra Bernklau, Representative of the UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO), acknowledged the collaborative partnership involved and emphasised the importance of markets to women and their families. “Markets are central to the empowerment of women and communities as they continue to provide safe trading spaces for those who rely on it for their income and livelihoods. The UN Women Markets for Change project is indeed honoured and pleased to have worked with the communities, partners and donors complete these buildings. Congratulations to you all,” said Sandra Bernklau, UN Women Representative, Fiji Multi Country Office.
UN Women’s M4C project is a multi-year, multi-country initiative that aims to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. A UN Women project, M4C is principally funded by the Government of Australia’s Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) program, and since 2018 the project partnership has expanded to include funding support from the Government of Canada. UNDP is an implementing partner.
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION: UN Women’s Markets for Change project
UN Women’s Markets for Change project: UN Women’s Markets for Change (M4C) project is a key component of its Women’s Economic Empowerment programme. M4C is a six-year, multi-country initiative that aims to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. A UN Women project, M4C is principally funded by the Australian Government, and since 2018 the project partnership has expanded to include funding support from the Government of Canada. UNDP is a project partner.
Between 75-90 per cent of vendors working at Pacific marketplaces are women and their earnings often make up a significant portion of the incomes of many poor households. Despite this, women are often excluded from market governance and decision-making. M4C works with stakeholders, service providers and the market vendors themselves to: build and support inclusive, effective and representative advocacy groups; deliver appropriate services, training and interventions; ensure women’s voices are heard and taken into account at the decision-making level; and to improve physical infrastructure and operating systems.