Project governance launched on Tanna
Care International in Vanuatu and the Tafea Provincial Government launched PROJECT Governance in Isangel, Tanna last week, as part of national work to amplify citizens’ voices.
PROJECT Governance will support Vanuatu’s Decentralization Act, aiming to further increase citizens’ participation in government-led processes in communities and provinces, beginning in Central Tanna in Tafea.
Through PROJECT Governance, CARE will assist communities to increase their involvement in area council development planning processes to further strengthen the effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability of the services they receive. This will be achieved by supporting collaboration between the tiers of government – local government, area councils, the Tafea Province and the Department of Local Authorities.
At the official launch, Joe Lautim, the Secretary General of Tafea Province, welcomed this initiative and stated that Central Tanna and CARE will have the full support of the Provincial Government..
“The topic of governance is one of the important challenges that we have discovered after conducting discussions in communities around Tafea.” Mr Iautim said.
“I think we will learn from this project.”
John Bill, the Area Administrator for Nanunata Area Council on Central Tanna, agreed.
“Decentralisation is a framework that sounds great in theory but takes a lot of work to put into practice,” said Mr Bill.
“If the project is implemented on Tanna, I am sure it will really give life to decentralisation process.”
Madeleine Naual, a disability representative from the Nanunata Area Council on Central Tanna, also took part in the project launch.
“I am so pleased that this opportunity will assist people at the local councils in implementing this governance framework efficiently to ensure that public services are provided to the community,” she said.
Bridgette Thorold, CARE International’s Country Director in Vanuatu, said, “One of the essential things for CARE as an organization is that we do not come into any country or any place and tell leaders and community people what to do. We simply aim to support positive development for the nation in accordance with its own priorities.”
“The government’s own commitment in Vanuatu is to concentrate on decentralisation right down to the community level, so we are here to see how we can support that process.”
“This project seeks to enable decision makers to connect with community members to get ideas, feedback, and an understanding of their needs so the government can use that information in their decisions,” Ms. Thorold said.
She said one of the challenges of governance is that resources are limited, and decisions have to be made about what to prioritize.
“It’s the dialogue and communication that is the key thing, so that people understand the basis of that decision making. How you do that will be determined by your understanding of communities, and that process is what we are happy to support this pilot,” she said.
PROJECT Governance is a five-year partnership made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project will be implemented by The Pacific Community in collaboration with the Blue Pacific Alliance, which includes East West Center, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and CARE.