12 August 2014

When giving up is not an option

Villagers helping Susan with weighing the babies before 
vaccination. © UNICEF Pacific./2014/Thakkar
Susan Wokeke is a 30-year old nurse in the village health center of Big Bay Bush on Santo Island (one of Vanuatu’s 83 islands). Fresh out of nursing college, she was posted here at the tender age of 20. With a heart full of aspirations, she wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people here, reach out to them and help them with their health concerns. She soon realised that it was not going to be easy at all.

10 August 2014

Who are you?

Over the weekend, I conducted an exercise asking people around me a simple question, “Who are you?” Think about this question for a moment. Have a quick three-sentence response in mind?


In my experience, invariably, the answer began with a name followed by either what one did for a living and/or where they came from or lived. Please do share and tell us more about who you are with #whoareyou. 

24 July 2014

Did you PLAY today?

Rorona Kalsakau, Just Play Project Manager leading a
Just Play session at the at the Vanuatu Society for
Persons with Disabilities in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
©UNICEF/Pacific/2014/Alcock
Everyday around the Pacific region, children gather in open spaces, at community schools and on empty pitches to take part in Just Play sessions. Equipment bags come out, cones and balls line the field. 

Children gather around their coach and wait in anticipation as the Challenge of the Week from the last session is reviewed. Hands fly into the air in response to their coach’s question: “Who worked hard to make health lifestyle choices, eating 2 fruits and 3 vegetables today?” Smiles can be seen, and applause heard coming from the group acknowledging their accomplishment. 

22 July 2014

The moral of the story is in the data

Participants:  Data for Development: Workshop to Build Capacity in
Statistical Literacy and Data Use to Support Child-Relevant Planning,
Decision-Making and Advocacy. © UNICEF Pacific./2014/Thakkar
Last week my colleague Rebecca (Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for UNICEF Vanuatu) asked me if I could join her and our colleagues Bjorn and Asenaca from the Suva office for a workshop organised by UNICEF and Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO). She said it would be handy if I could write up a press release for the local media. Seemed like a simple task so why not. Then she told me the subject of the workshop, which was “Data for Development: Workshop to Build Capacity in Statistical Literacy and Data Use to Support Child-Relevant Planning, Decision-Making and Advocacy”. 

13 July 2014

For the love of Tennis

Daisy/Naomi on the tennis court. 
© UNICEF Pacific/2014/Alcock
Daisy is 13 years old. Her tennis coach Francis Bryard describes her as an exceptionally polite girl who is a fighter at heart. She lost her father when she was four years old. As a little child, extremely attached to her father, she had a hard time getting over his death. Her mother pulled her through the most difficult period of both their lives. Daisy says getting over that tough phase made her the fighter that she is today. She is a girl of many words - eloquent in speaking and loves reading. She says she has little interest in sport with the exception of tennis.