The Vanuatu Association of Non-Government Organisations (VANGO) is looking forward to an innovative partnership with the Trade Development Division of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce in the implementation of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) project.

Close to 20 women from local handicraft associations will benefit from a tailored skills development training and coaching program delivered by expert trainers funded by EIF.

Government’s recognition of CSOs as the implementing tool of trade related training to boost the local women’s capacity in their various businesses is a milestone achievement in itself.

“This is about strengthening the link between government and non-government.

“We appreciate that the Government is recognising the role of civil society in development.

“It is a great partnership model, and we are happy that the Ministry has taken on this initiative,” stated Lai Sakita, VANGO Chairperson.

Eliu Luen, EIF Manager for Vanuatu said, “The Enhanced Integrated Framework is a funding pool that was established to support least developed countries battle poverty and promote sustainable development through enhancement of trade.

“We have a fund set aside for civil society for capacity building initiatives in trade, and we identify VANGO as the central actor to engage local communities to generate positive economic impacts.”

Present at the partnership inauguration meeting was Deputy Executive Director of PIANGO (Pacific Islands Association of NGOs), Siale Ilolahia:

“I am excited about this initiative to involve local communities, especially women, and trigger best practices and sharing.

“Thank you to the Ministry for having the trust in VANGO to deliver this training – we need to respect that,” she said.

She said the Government’s recognition of CSOs to enhance the capacity of rural business women indicates the trust they have on local businesses that they also contribute to economic development.

The civil society component of EIF in Vanuatu is in its second phase, ending this year.

Other funding streams under EIF have seen the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry benefit from support to their programs in business and trade development.

Reinforcing the need to engage in partnership with civil society for economic growth, Eliu Luen stated, “The Government wishes to support the function of VANGO as a focal point for civil society in Vanuatu – the very important participants of trade in this country.”

VANGO has expressed gratitude to EIF for this opportunity, and looks forward to expressions of interest from women in handicraft to participate in the programme.

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