Why we work in Pacific Islands
For some communities in the Pacific Islands, healthcare and education systems don’t meet children’s needs due to a lack of funding and, hence, weak – or non-existent – government services and infrastructure.
In other places, girls and boys are at a high risk of sexual abuse and exploitation, violence and child labour. There have been recent reports of exploitation and violence towards children in places where the logging industry has started to impact local communities, particularly girls and young women.
As the impacts of climate change escalate and natural hazards become more frequent and intense, it is evident that a way of life – that has sustained island communities for centuries – is under threat. A 320% increase in disasters has been predicted in the region over the next 20 years1.
The hazards that often lead to disasters – like cyclones, volcanic eruptions, floods and earthquakes (many of which are being exacerbated by climate change) – have a profound effect on the safety, education, health and future of children. Schools can be destroyed, sometimes taking years to reopen. Healthcare systems suffer and children are often more exposed to exploitation and abuse when a community is in on its knees after a disaster. It is now widely recognised that whilst climate change affects everyone, it disproportionately affects women and girls.
Children, their families and communities need to know how to anticipate, prepare and recover from disasters. Schools need to be safe places that can withstand the forces of natural hazards. It’s also important to remember that, while island communities are hit hard by climate change and disasters, it is industrialised nations that are ultimately responsible for these impacts due to our high levels of the emissions driving climate change.
Save the Children's work in Pacific Islands
Save the Children works with governments, local partners and communities in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to deliver healthcare, education and child protection programs.
Life-saving little packages
In the remote East Sepik Province on the north coast of Papua New Guinea, Save the Children's Baby Kit Project is helping encourage expectant mothers to give birth in a health centre – rather than face the risks of delivering at home.