2020 started out well.
January – I took a brief trip to Vanuatu and scheduled a further trip for March. It was while I was travelling back to New Zealand in late January that I first heard of Corona virus and the impact it was having in China.
We all know what happened soon after that. Within days, plans changed for people across the globe.
February – Mary & Jack were accepted into an incubation programme with V-Lab. A wonderful opportunity for their personal and business development.
March – Vanuatu closed it’s borders to all flights on 20th March. Marc-Antoine from V-Lab suggested Mamma’s Laef manufacture reusable face masks. Diversification is key to keeping abreast of the challenges that we were facing.
April – 6th and 7th April saw the unwelcome visit from Cyclone Harold – sweeping through and devastating the central islands of Vanuatu.
May to July – Vanuatu was still COVID free but all focus was on producing products for Cyclone Harold relief efforts by both Vanuatu placed International and local NGO’s. Logistics for those at the front line were difficult, to say the least. The demand for our products was high, but the supply chain was severely disrupted due to non production of factories in China and the long delays in shipping into the Pacific. We stopped production for a while, waiting for much needed supplies.
Discussions started again about the possibility of our Reusable Nappy Pilot happening. We were keen, but needed to consider the country still being in “clean up/ support mode” from TC Harold.
August – Jack travelled with Department of Environment Protection & Conservation to speak with rural and remote communities about the pending disposable baby diaper ban and the alternatives. (Thanks to DEPC for this opportunity).
Production of menstrual pads started again, through a grant from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.
September – our Reusable Baby Nappy Pilot starts.
October – working closely with Bambino Mio and SAVVY Vanuatu to capture valuable information to present to Vanuatu government and other interested parties.
November – the first COVID19 positive person arrives in Vanuatu, and our reusable mask production goes into over-drive – giving more women the chance to earn an income for their families.
Time to reflect on our year.
* Developed new products – reusable face masks and reusable baby nappies.
* Shared new products with rural and remote communities.
* Finalised and produced the Men’s TokTok menstrual health education programme.
* Produced a short video about how we want to see the future of the Pacific.
* Commenced links to communities via our Champions model.
* Started a direct sales team in Port Vila and recently expanding to rural communities.
* Our first imports directly from manufacturers of our raw materials.
* Provided more women with short term work.
* Worked alongside other Pacific menstrual health champions to develop better supply chains and to break the taboo of menstruation – Pacific-wide.
For now - it's time for a short rest. Thanks for your supports in 2020. We will welcome 2021.
Mi lukim yu
Belinda & the Vanuatu team