New Australian High Commissioner meets Sanma women in first official visit

Australia’s new High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Sarah de Zoeten visited Sanma Province to see first-hand Australia’s assistance to women.

“This year Australia and Vanuatu celebrate forty years of diplomatic relations, and as High Commissioner, I am committed to meeting ni-Vanuatu throughout the archipelago to learn more about Vanuatu’s rich and diverse culture and to strengthen our partnership,” said Ms de Zoeten.

Sanma Province Secretary General, Albert Ruddley, welcomed the Australian High Commissioner and outlined his priorities for the province.

Ms de Zoeten visited the refurbished Luganville market house, funded by Australia with the UN Women’s Market for Change programme and met the market vendors who are working together to improve the management of the market.

The High Commissioner was honoured to visit the Vanuatu Women’s Centre Sanma Counselling Centre that Australia has supported for over 25 years.

Ms de Zoeten was impressed by the entrepreneurship and weaving skills of the women who are members of the Sanma Headwear Association.

They produce world-class hats that are being exported to Australia and New Zealand.

The Australian-supported Vanuatu Skills Partnership works to give these women greater access to skills that lead to employment and develop the local private sector.

“I’m very proud of what Australia and Vanuatu are achieving together to support women to have better access to economic opportunities,” Ms de Zoeten said.

She also toured the Northern Provincial Hospital and the VPF Northern Command to discuss the Australia-Vanuatu partnership in health and security.

Photo supplied Caption: Australian High Commissioner, Sarah de Zoeten, meets with Luganville market women vendors.



Tensly Sumbe