13 September 2015

A helping hand for an 8-month-old survivor

8-month-old Nichola is one of the first babies in Vanuatu to receive nutrition supplements
 through UNICEF following Cyclone Pam. We visit him to see what difference they’re making.
UNICEF Pacific/2015/Berthe

I met Nichola for the first time when a nurse measured the circumference of his arm at Pango Community Centre in Port Vila, Vanuatu. I was relieved to see that the colour of the special measuring tape was green, meaning that Nichola wasn’t dangerously underweight.

Lessons in grief, hope and recovery from a seven-year-old boy.

Tavai Soalo, a facilitator in the UNICEF-supported Just Play sports for
development programme and Nalau.
UNICEF Pacific/2015/Berthe
“I remember Tavai. He came to my school and we played football”, says Nalau.

Tavai Soalo, a facilitator in the UNICEF-supported Just Play sports for development programme, also remembers Nalau. He was facilitating a Just Play session at Sorovanga School, Vanuatu, aimed at helping children to recover emotionally from Cyclone Pam, when Nalau shared his story. 

“We played games then I asked the children how they felt after Cyclone Pam” Tavai recalls. “I gently encouraged them to share their experiences, feelings, thoughts and even plans for the future.”

The tent that brought children back to school

Joana and Daisly used to miss school regularly before Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu. 
The unique experience of learning in a tent has brought them back. 
UNICEF Pacific/2015/Berthe

When Joana and Daisly share their experience of Category 5 Cyclone Pam, I can hear the horror of that night in their voices – voices that remind me of my two young sons and our own night of terror.

Seven-year-old Joana is from a small community in Port Vila. She was home with her younger sister and her parents when the cyclone hit Vanuatu with devastating force on 13 March 2015. She tells me the wind was so strong they had to shelter in a nearby shop after the cyclone ripped the roof of their house off. Fear still echoes in her voice when recalling the events of that night six months ago.

01 September 2015

Champions for healthy schools

Nasautoka District School. © Akvo/2015/Stefan

It’s not something you might think about all that often – but the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools can mean the difference for children between staying healthy and safe at school – or getting sick and missing important classes - or worse. 

11 June 2015

Learning to smile again after Cyclone Pam

Three-year-old Rachel just a day after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu.,
and three months on. © UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/McGarry

We first met three-year-old Rachel just a day after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu. Three months on, we go back to check in on her. 

Cyclone Pam three months on: A school on the road to recovery

Ellen, a 13 year old student from St Joseph school near Port Vila stands outside the tent
that has been her classroom since cyclone Pam destroyed part of the school. If not for the
shelter supplied by UNICEF, students would have been sent home on a rotating basis.

Three months after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu with devastating force, Vila North School is a study in contrasts. Children released for break scream with delight as they scamper from tents set up as temporary classrooms, past the destroyed parts of their school. Builders work around them, replacing the roofing on classrooms and rebuilding destroyed facilities as teachers plan their lessons from a temporary office inside a repurposed shipping container. Students and teachers can see the progress around them – but much remains to be done. 

23 May 2015

The best kind of traffic jam

 Long line of pick-up trucks loaded with tents and other education emergency
supplies ready for distribution to 11,000 children in more than 120
cyclone-affected early childhood centers and primary schools
Normally I dislike traffic jams, but I couldn't be happier to see this one. It doesn't matter that it’s 30 degrees Celsius here on Tanna Island, Vanuatu and that I’m drenched in sweat; seeing a long line of pick-up trucks loaded with tents and other education emergency supplies ready for distribution to 11,000 children in more than 120 cyclone-affected early childhood centers and primary schools makes my day. 

14 May 2015

A magic suitcase to bring back hopes and dreams

By Elodie Berthe -14 May 2014

After a short drive from the UNICEF office in Port Vila, through streets lined with homes and shops in various stages of post-cyclone reconstruction, we arrive at Fresh Wota Field; a big empty grassland with two goal posts. Small houses of different shapes and colours surround the young people engaged in an intense game of football despite the equally intense heat. 

We park under a tree to escape the heat and wait … and wait … for our scheduled rendezvous. We talk to the football players, make some phone calls and, just when we are about to leave, there they are; fifteen children carrying balls, water, a bright blue UNICEF bag and a big metal box.

Children of Fresh Wota, Port Vila, carrying the recreation kits distributed by UNICEF
© UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/Elodie Berthe 

15 April 2015

UNICEF overcomes huge logistical challenges to get life-saving aid to Vanuatu

Warehouse workers erecting a temporary storage facility to store supplies UNICEF received
from a 100 metric tonne shipment that arrived in Port Vila recently. © UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/McGarry
Port Vila, Vanuatu - It’s all hands on deck as 15 warehouse workers heave, push, lift and carry boxes of emergency supplies that have just arrived in a 40-foot container at the UNICEF ware-house in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

UNICEF’s emergency responses in support of affected children always include a strong supply component and the response to Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 cyclone that devastated the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu a month ago, is no exception. Today, 100 metric tonnes of essential emergency supplies have arrived all the way from Copenhagen.

14 April 2015

UNICEF working with partners to deliver essential water and sanitation supplies to cyclone affected families on Ambrym island!

UNICEF and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) volunteers loading latrine squat plates to be delivered to communities on Ambrym island who lost their homes in Category 5 Cyclone Pam last month.

Port Vila, Vanuatu - UNICEF has partnered with a local NGO in cyclone-affected Vanuatu to deliver vital water and sanitation supplies to 555 households on Ambrym island. With UNICEF’s support, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is delving water, sanitation and hygiene kits (containing water containers, buckers, soap and water purification tablets), water tanks and latrine squat plates to communities on Ambrym island who lost their homes in Category 5 Cyclone Pam last month.

Educators and creative artists come together with UNICEF’s support to address children’s emotional wellbeing after Cyclone Pam!

Two of the workshop participants Alex and Angelina in the field doing photo shoots with the children
of Vila East primary school. © UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/Hing

Port Vila, Vanuatu - More than 50 professionals from diverse backgrounds in health, education and child protection are now well placed to help meet the psychosocial needs of children distressed by Cyclone Pam and its aftermath.

05 April 2015

A cyclone-affected school welcomes children back to class.

Dorah James and her eight-year-old son, Daniel at Mele Maat Primary School, Efate Vanuatu. Their home was completely destroyed by Cyclone Pam but Daniel is keen to return to school as soon as possible.
© UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/Sokhin

First grade student Daniel Jojo (8) is pleased with the finished blue and yellow paint on his face and proudly shows it off to his mother, Dorah James.

Yellow and blue are the colours of his school, Mele Maat Primary, on Efate Island, Vanuatu. Today, less than three weeks after Category 5 Cyclone Pam badly damaged the school, completely destroying four classrooms, Mele Maat Primary has opened its doors once again to welcome students, teachers and fami-lies. The students have not been to school since Cyclone Pam struck so the school has organized a special event that they hope will help the children to recover emotionally and think of the school as a safe space for them to come, learn and play.

04 April 2015

Cyclone-affected family prioritises their children’s education

Nuku and her eight year old daughter, Evelyn at Mele Maat Primary School. Nuku’s family escaped serious injury 20 minutes before their family home was flooded and completely destroyed.
© UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/Sokhin

It took mother of four, Nuku Kilorie and her family 20 terrifying minutes to reach safety when Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu, completely destroying her family home on March 13, 2015.

31 March 2015

Children go back to school in Vanuatu

Pupils sit inside a UNICEF tent, being used as a temporary school
structure © UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/Sorkhin
After a disturbing event like Cyclone Pam it's important to get children back to learning and playing as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many of the schools in Vanuatu were heavily damaged and will take months to rebuild. But, thanks to UNICEF's support, pupils from St Joseph's College and Vila East Primary school were able to get back to school yesterday.

30 March 2015

A father prioritises his daughter’s education amidst the destruction

Story of 10 year old Joana from Black Sand area on her experiences when TC Pam hit Port Vila and how she and her family fled to her aunty’s house for safety. Her father, Edward, says that despite losing their home and their crops and not having enough money, his priority as a father is to get his children educated. UNICEF Pacific/2015/Further Arts

Edward Bani understands sacrifice. He supports his family in Black Sand, one of Port Vila’s poorest communities, by working as a labourer building roads on Tanna Island, a boat journey of several days from Vanuatu’s capital. He was there when Cyclone Pam, an unprecedented Category 5 tropical cyclone, hit Vanuatu, bringing absolute destruction and affecting more than half the country’s population on 22 islands.

29 March 2015

600 children can resume their education after UNICEF school supplies reach Cyclone-hit Tongoa Island in Vanuatu

UNICEF Education emergency supplies arrive in Tongoa
on the 23rd March. UNICEF Pacific/2015/Kyaw
600 children on Tongoa Island, one of the 22 islands in Vanuatu hardest hit by Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam, have received school supplies from UNICEF that will allow them to return to school. 

Khin Maung Kyaw is an Education Field Officer from UNICEF Myanmar, who has been deployed to Vanuatu following a request from Vanuatu’s Ministry of Education and through the National Disaster Management Office to assist with the emergency response. Although this is his first time to Vanuatu he is no stranger to emergency repsonse including Cyclone Nargis which badly affected Myanmar in 2008. He tells the story of UNICEF’s efforts to get essential school supplies to children on remote Tongoa Island.

26 March 2015

Cyclone Pam affects everyone in the family

L-R. Joyleen, Nathan and Lawrence in the health clinic where they sheltered from Cyclone Pam with five other families. One family is still sheltering there after their home was completely destroyed. UNICEF/2015/Sohkin

Joyleen (16) comforts her little brother Nathan (4) as he recovers from the brief shock of a potentially life-saving measles vaccine injection. The tears soon disappear and he is quickly back to his curious and social self. 

Cyclone Pam interrupts lives and creates a heavy load for girls.

Nellie carries a bundle of tree branches as part of community clean-up efforts nationwide after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam caused unimaginable destruction across Vanuatu. © UNICEF/2015/McGarry    

Nellie is dwarfed by the pile of tree branches she is dutifully carrying as part of community clean-up efforts on Ifira Island, one of more than 22 islands in the Vanuatu archipelago badly damaged by Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam. 

23 March 2015

UNICEF provides life-saving medical equipment and medicine to Vanuatu’s children

UNICEF is providing life-saving medical equipment and
medicine to Vanuatu’s children, through its implementing
partner, IMC. ©UNICEF Pacificy/2015/Sevenier
22 March 2015 - UNICEF and partners have been called upon by the Vanuatu Ministry of Health to respond to the emergency situation following Super Tropical Cyclone Pam. As part of its response UNICEF today provided Interagency Emergency Health Kits in order to prevent and manage serious threats to the survival and health of the children of Ambrym, one of Vanuatu’s most affected islands. The kits include medical equipment and medicines sufficient for 5000 people over a three-month period.

UNICEF’s implementing partner, IMC (International Medical Corps), will dispatch these kits along with mobile medical units, including doctors and local nurses, to Ambrym. 

10 March 2015

Tropical Cyclone Pam

Updates from Alice who has been deployed to Vanuatu to assist with preparations for the imminent arrival of Tropical Cyclone Pam. 

If you've ever wondered why Vanuatu seems to get so many disasters this vlogs also explains many of the reasons why preparedness is so important for a disaster-prone country like Vanuatu. 

What types of disasters affect your country? Share your experiences below!

Note: To view other Vlogs click the playlist 

08 March 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Cook Islands

Girls and boys during their water break with
UNICEF Pacific’s Deputy Representative, Isabelle Austin.
©UNICEF Pacificy/2012/Olul
Twenty-five years ago the world made a promise to children; promising that we would do everything in our power to protect and promote their rights to survive and thrive, to learn and grow, to make their voices heard and to reach their full potential. This promise was called the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in 2014 we spent the year celebrating its 25th birthday by working with children and communities to highlight the rights that it promised for children, and supporting children to enjoy them. These are just some of the ways that we celebrated the anniversary in the Pacific: 
A right to play: 

03 March 2015

Providing tools for life: Solomon Islands educators and artists come together for children.

Participants of the Getting Ready for School and Life. Innovative
Communication and Learning Materials for Early Childhood Education (ECE) workshop 

A workshop organised by the Solomon Islands Ministry of Education and Human Resources with support from UNICEF proved to be unexpectedly life-changing for many participants. 

More than 50 talented and well-known Solomon Islands graphic designers, illustrators, photographers and Early Childhood teachers came together in February for a workshop facilitated by Barbara Kolucki from UNICEF, an expert in communicating with children. 

08 February 2015

Harvesting the Heavens to adapt to Climate Change


In the Pacific region, climate change is causing serious degradation of the coastal environment and natural resources on which Pacific islanders depend. Increasingly variable rainfall, cyclones, floods, droughts, and decreasing water quality are so significant that they threaten the economic development and the health of their population.

03 February 2015

Out with the old and in with the new: Using Akvo to collect and analyse WASH in Fiji schools

Nasautoka District School students. ©UNICEF Pacific/2014/Hing

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) partners from the Fijian Teachers Association, Fijian Government Ministries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and civil-society organizations worked energetically over the week to learn to use a tool that will allow them to bypass regular, time-consuming steps in collecting data. From this moment on, WASH partners will no longer rely on pencils to mark responses for a survey, organize tattered papers from the field, nor enter rows of data into a spreadsheet. Instead, they will utilize a phone application called Akvo (which means “Water” in the language Esperanto) in order to administer a survey, plot data points on an interactive map, craft informative analyses, and produce graphs. This all sounds fancy, but what does it mean?