Hope for People with Disabilities in the Pacific: CBM Australia to Start Work in Vanuatu

Stories | August 26, 2021

Hope for People Disabilities in the Pacific: CBM Australia to Start Work in Vanuatu

Across the Pacific, around 1.7 million people live with a disability. These people are often excluded from, or lack access to, essential health services, education, assistive technology, social protection, and disability support services. This often leads to higher levels of poverty, poor health, economic and social exclusion, and discrimination.

In Vanuatu, CBM Australia is working with the Vanuatu Disability Promotion & Advocacy Association (VDPA) to support a Community Based Inclusive Development program in Vanuatu. Established in April 1999, VDPA is the voice of people with disabilities in Vanuatu. It represents people with disabilities and is led by people with disabilities. As the only national Organisation of People with Disabilities (OPD) in Vanuatu, it is in a unique position to empower people with disabilities to advocate for their rights and promote disability inclusion.

The project aims to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through increased participation and representation of people with disabilities in community decision-making in Vanuatu and delivery of programs and services. CBM Australia will support VDPA to lead empowerment of people with disabilities through the development of community OPDs. The project involves:

  • Support for training on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Support for leadership development and advocacy of community OPD members
  • Community awareness raising on disability rights to create opportunities for the voices of people with disabilities to be heard in community decision making.
  • Support with identifying service providers and referral pathways enabling OPDs to become referral points linking members and thereby increasing access to health, education, justice and disaster risk reduction services.

VDPA aims to support 11 community DPOs in Sanma, Torba and Penama provinces over the project period.

CBM Australia is excited to work with VDPA to support and empower people with disabilities and OPDs in Vanuatu to become change agents through awareness, advocacy and social mobilisation to bring about changes in systems, communities and services, so that they are disability inclusive.


CBM acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).  

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