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Women power!

We have had a really rewarding past few weeks here on Ambrym. The highlight was on Monday March 6th – Chief’s Day. We were presented with a salu-salu (i.e lae in Hawaii) and joined all the chiefs and council members up on stage for the official speeches.

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(Pippa about to receive her salu-salu with all the guests of honour)

Chief’s Day is celebrated every year but the annual occasion in Ranon, Ambrym this year was very unique. 600 people throughout the North Ambrym district came together to celebrate the official handing over ceremony of the local area council to women. This is the first time in the history of the Pacific a local council will be run by women.

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(The new Lolihor Development Council)

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(The official handover from the men to the new woman council)

The Lolihor Development Council, which has been managed by men since its inception 12 years ago, is responsible for managing community issues such as health, water, education, transport, tourism, and governance.

The famous super nurse Rosie was appointed the role as Chairwomen. Pippa was asked to give a speech....in Bislama. After a few dull speeches, she stood up and spoke briefly about the work she has been doing, gave a big congratulations to the newly appointed women and then decided to run an interactive activity to demonstrate what happens when the community unites as one…she asked one women to stand up. Pippa yelled out hip hip and asked the women to yell out ”Booray” (locals have embraced hip hip boorays as their celebratory cry during New Years festivities). She then asked all the women present to stand up and do the same thing. To finish off her presentation, she asked all the men and pikininis (kids) that support the women to join in. It was pretty powerful having 600 locals all cheering for the cause for women to have more say in the community. Part of our future work will be to help build the capacity of the newly elected women.

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(Pippa giving her speech)

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(The women cheering their Hip Hip Boorays)

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(Pippa and Matt with the masterminds behind the change of council - Our Supervisor George Bumseng and his cousin John Salong who now resides in Australia)

Another highlight was a return visit to the spectacular Ambrym Island volcanoes. We had another Australian Youth Ambassador (Krista) join us on our adventures. See the next travel blog for piccies and story.

Posted by pippamatt 21:19

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Pippa - love your speech! You're my hero!

by alecia

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