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Pacific Islands

Save the Children has established offices and programs in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji. Collectively these countries comprise almost 2,000 islands and close to 1,000 languages.

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.

Building capacity so locals can respond first

We respond to emergencies in all Pacific Island nations, and never stop working with them to prepare for the next emergency, building the capacity of local communities to respond first, and ensuring our responses support recovery and do not undermine local markets. Save the Children is currently supporting communities in Ambae, Vanuatu, who were evacuated during a recent volcanic eruption.

We work with governments in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to make schools safer for children during disasters, and we help children and families prepare for disasters and recover afterwards. We also engage children directly so they can participate in making their communities more resilient to the current and projected impacts of climate change.

1 'Prioritizing Education in the Face of Natural Disasters', 2012.