The Vanuatu Daily Post has recently reported that the Minister of Trades and Industry, Matai Seremaiah, and the Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Heidi Bootle, unveiled the TAFEA Creative Industry and Cultural Market Hub at Lenakel on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu, this week.
This development is the result of the strong partnership and co-investment between the TAFEA Provincial Government, Department of Industry (DoI), Nikoletan Council of Chiefs, the Community of West Tanna and the Australian funded Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP) through the TAFEA Skills Centre.
The hub was built based on the successful models of the MALAMPA Handicraft Centre and the TORBA Handicraft Centre. It will be a one-stop-shop for all handicraft producers in TAFEA province, enabling men, women and people with disabilities across all communities to have access to a market facility which will link them to other market outlets domestically and internationally.
The construction of the hub was completed through on-the-job training as part of the delivery of Certificate II in Building Construction by the Vanuatu Institute of Technology, facilitated through collaboration between the DoI, the VSP, Nikoletan Council of Chiefs, the surrounding communities and Public Works Department.
Twenty-four trainees undertook the training, including three women. One person with disability participated in the training and completed all the requirements to be awarded with a Certificate II in Building Construction.
A local construction company was also engaged to provide coaching and mentoring to trainees as part of the on-the-job training delivery. The local company worked closely with the training provider to ensure the building met all quality standards and safety requirements.
Most of the funding for the training and construction was provided by the Vanuatu Skills Partnership though the TAFEA Skills Centre. However, the DoI provided a contribution of Vt2 million towards the building materials. The Public Works Department provided transportation of aggregates and sand to the construction site. The total cost of building is VT8 million.
The Nikoletan Council of Chiefs is an active partner and is very supportive of this initiative with the aim to support the revitalisation of culture through the production of handmade crafts in TAFEA province.
This is an outstanding example of the power of partnership and local capability to make decentralisation a reality and bring skills, entrepreneurship and improved service delivery to our communities in the outer islands.