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While there are many challenges in the outer islands of Vanuatu, families living in Port Vila have the unique experience of being ‘urban poor’. Quite different to island living, in Port Vila cash is required for food, rent, land rates, power, transport, education and healthcare. That money is hard to come by!

Depending on which study you subscribe to, less than half of families in Port Vila have someone in work, and those who are employed make an average of NZD$85 each week. Women often supplement their family’s income by making handicraft or hot food and selling it at local markets.

Equip Vanuatu was approached by local women wanting to develop their handicraft, cooking and business skills – and that’s how our Community Training Programmes were born. The workshops are based out of a local school or church, and start with a week-long programme which includes cooking, sewing, jewellery making, fabric painting and various other arts and crafts. Women are supported to develop their own sewing circles or craft collectives, as a way of further developing micro-business in their community.

Once the initial workshops are complete, weekly classes are hosted by local volunteers and Equip Vanuatu provides ongoing business mentoring and support. Local women take ownership of their collectives and develop further skills in leadership, business planning and communication.

How can you get involved?

There are several ways you can support our Community Training Programmes:

If you are an arty-crafty person and would like to be a volunteer tutor on one of our community training weeks, we would love to have you involved. Our next programme is running from 10 – 19 January 2020 in Ohlen Freswin. For more information, email

Each time we establish a Community Training Programme, we need to purchase set-up equipment such as sewing machines, printing screens, jewellery tools, fabric scissors and the like. It is only thanks to generous donors that this is possible. If you would like to contribute to our Community Training Fund, click here for donation details.

If you have craft equipment or resources you would like to donate, we would gratefully receive them. Our most needed items include sewing machines, jewellery tools, batik tools, good quality fabric scissors and screens for screen printing. Please make sure that any resource donations are in good, working order. Email for more information.