Supporting self-employment for persons with disabilities in Vanuatu

The objective of this training and mentoring initiative is to support business start-ups for unemployed persons with disabilities to gain decent employment

News | 02 September 2016
Participants display their certificates on completion of the training 
22 persons with disabilities (PwD) have completed the Start Your Business (SYB) training in Santo, Vanuatu. This training was delivered through the technical assistance from the International Labour Organisation in partnership with the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VCCI) and the Ministry of Justice & Community Services.

The training was held from the 22nd to the 26th  August 2016 with a business mentoring session on 27th August. The objective of this training and mentoring initiative is to support business start-ups for unemployed persons with disabilities to gain decent employment.

In opening the training, Mr. Sam Kaiapam the Disability desk officer from the ministry thank the ILO for funding the training which is the first ever SYB training for persons with disabilities in Vanuatu. Having a business will enable a Person with disabilities to earn an income to support them, their families and carers. He also mentioned that the Government is committed to support persons with disabilities and is looking at holding similar training in other provinces.

The training was hosted by the Disability Promotion & Advocacy Association (DPA) and the Sanma Provincial Government and is a follow up to the SYB training of trainers (TOT) in Fiji in April 2015. The 2013 Vanuatu Demographic and Health Survey (VDHS) highlighted that people with disabilities are much more likely to be poor; nearly 31 percent of people with severe disabilities are living in the lowest wealth quintile, compared with 16 percent of people without reported disabilities.

“All the topics covered during the workshop were very interesting, I really enjoyed and I am very happy that I took part in this training. It has helped me to think about the opportunities that exist and may lead me to manage or to start a business. I would like to say thank you for the time you come and spent with us for persons with disabilities, we hope we will improve next time” said Ms. Friana Paul one of the participants. Ms. Dephnny Naliupis another participant said “ I am so happy to be part of a business workshop like this. It is my first time to attend this kind of training. I firmly believe that what I have learnt will help to upgrade my knowledge, skills and my abilities in business management”.

A recent draft legislative assessment of national laws in Vanuatu relating to employment of PwD’s conducted by the ILO, has highlighted that some existing laws provided for inadequate protection and promotion towards waged employment. In addition, the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) which deduced that 504,050 work days and VT 1.6 billion of personal income was lost due to cyclone Pam, also impacted the livelihoods of persons with disabilities.

The VCCI has certified business trainers including training packages accredited by the Vanuatu National Qualifications Authority (VNQA). Therefore, the training provided to persons with disabilities are of national standard. The acting General Manager of the VCCI, Mr Alick Berry said that this was not only an opportunity to support local private sector development in Santo, but at the same time extend the chambers services beyond Port Vila.

National Coordinator, Disability Promotion & Advocacy Association, Ms. Nelly Caleb said ”Persons with disabilities are the most marginalized people in our society, they cannot find jobs because of lack of education, and this is due to various types of barriers.I believe that after this training, some members will go back and start or strengthen their own business. These will change the attitudes of communities in seeing their abilities rather than their disabilities”.

Officer-in-Charge of the ILO Office for the Pacific Island Countries, Mr Satoshi Sasaki said “Supporting self-employment for persons with disabilities, as they are less likely to be employed outside the home due to barriers is one way to promote decent and productive employment” He further added that this initiative was in line with Vanuatu Government’s recovery plans after the devastation caused by TC Pam.