Since the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Pam on Erromango in Vanuatu in 2015 – one of the worst affected islands – our island communities have struggled to rebuild the primarily land-based livelihoods and reliance on sporadic government hand-outs has unfortunately increased. This situation was worsened by the drought that affected Vanuatu shortly after Cyclone Pam, and continued into 2016, affecting food security and increasing reliance on imported foods.
Through the project, the ECA is building on ECA’s previous community projects to date in the areas of cultural revival of the art of tapa-making and traditional food preservation to work directly with the women of Erromango (“Nahiven en Erromango”) to support the development of their sustainable livelihoods through developing their capability to produce traditional handicrafts for markets. This activity aligns with the Government of Vanuatu’s efforts to support traditional handicrafts and build a ‘Made in Vanuatu’ marketing campaign, providing opportunity for rural Erromangan women to enhance their livelihoods, as well as ensuring cultural diversity within the Vanuatu handicraft industry. The project works closely with the Erromango Women Toktok Tugeta (EWTT) community initiative to provide training in tapa design for market, and ensure protection of traditional protocols and knowledge in the process. Project activities have been held across Erromango and with Erromangan communities in Port Vila, from July 2019 to March 2020.