Improving lives in Vanuatu


Save the Children has worked in Vanuatu for more than 25 years and is the largest non-government organisation in the county. 

We work with the government and communities to improve basic health and early childhood education services. We also run child protection, disaster risk reduction and climate change awareness programs to ensure children are safe from harm and can help their communities adapt to the changing environment.  

Why we work in Vanuatu

Although Vanuatu is a popular tourist destination, a lot of the country remains underdeveloped due to the remote locations of many communities. Rural populations have little access to essential services such as health, education, justice and protection.

Another issue is the high percentage of children and young people in Vanuatu. This places pressure on communities and adults and exposes children to family breakdowns, violence, abuse and neglect. It also results in a large number of unemployed youth who often turn to crime or bad behaviour such as drinking and taking drugs.   Vanuatu is susceptible to natural disasters because it is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Floods and cyclones also pose a threat to communities.  

Saving lives in Vanuatu

We work with the Ministry of Health and community committees to set up aid posts (similar to health centres but smaller) in villages who do not have any access to health care. We also improve the skills and capacities of current village health workers across Vanuatu.   Our other health program focuses on improving young people’s sexual and reproductive health.  The program involves peer-to-peer education, condom distribution, development in sports, youth outreach, community education and youth empowerment.    

Educating children for the future

We’re currently running an Early Childhood Education program in partnership with the Ministry of Education to improve education opportunities for children living in remote communities. The program includes teacher training, curriculum development and the construction of kindergartens.   As part of the Education program, we are working with schools to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) principles into their teaching and management practices, through the development of school evacuation plans and the introduction of DRR focused games and lessons.  Youth groups are focussing on the development and implementation of DRR and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) action plans.  

Protecting children from harm

Child protection is a new concept for Vanuatu so we work closely with the government and communities to help them understand more about the importance of protecting children. At the grassroots level, we’re changing attitudes and behaviour in communities, and at government level, we’re influencing the development and implementation of policy and legislation.