Australia & Pacific
Formal, sector-based civil society networks are relatively new in Vanuatu, especially those with a focus on disability, youth livelihoods and program quality. The overall goal was to improve collaboration between civil society actors so that they could then advocate more effectively to decision makers and contribute to greater change for their constituents. This review helps to determine the value of these networks to support civil society, what outcomes are possible through collective action, Oxfam’s contribution as facilitator and what is required to ensure the networks are effective.
The approach was intended to be a ‘light’ review. It included a full document review, monitoring surveys, key informant interviews with 15 network members, three Oxfam staff and two DFAT staff and a reflection workshop with Oxfam staff.
Despite the early stage of the networks, the program is already contributing to the desired outcomes outlined in the Governance, Leadership and Accountability Program’s program logic. The Disability Network developed a strategy and action plan based around two prioritised goals of Accessibility (to roads and buildings) and Access to Education. It is fulfilling its purpose of creating a forum for sharing ideas and strategies, learning together, supporting each other and working together to address key issues. The Youth Livelihood Network is still working towards its purpose of creating impact, sharing and maximizing resources, becoming a united voice and supporting existing youth networks. Network members’ combined input into government plans and policies such as the Vanuatu National Sustainable Development Plan was also seen as a positive early sign of CSO representation to decision makers