© 2009 VANWODS Microfinance

Who needs Powerpoint?

I’ve done a bit of corporate training back in Australia. And it’s really why I’m here, to develop a training course on entrepreneurship. I’m also meant to advise and mentor the trainers at VANWODS. Not that they need my help – I think I’m learning more from them than they are from me.

But it really is worlds away from the boardrooms in Sydney, with their screens that drop down from the ceiling and surround sound speaker systems (and carpet! Walls! Unnecessary extravagance…) Most centre meetings take place in an empty nakamal (kava bar) which I kinda like. Nakamals are traditionally a male domain – kava used to be drunk only on ceremonial occasions, and then only by the men. It’s still that way out on many of the islands. And I’ve spoken to women in Port Vila who say that kava is a problem for their family – their husbands finish work, go to the nakamal and spend all their money on kava. The mamas have to come to VANWODS for loans to start businesses because they’re the sole provider for their families. They finally have the chance to gather and find solidarity with each other, as men have been doing for centuries. I kinda like that microfinance is even surreptitiously subverting nakamals for the good of women.

Anyway, nakamals are usually just open tin shelters. Jocelyne, the master trainer, usually brings a piece of clothesline so that she peg the butcher’s paper up between two posts. Otherwise, out comes the masking tape. Who needs Powerpoint?

Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t convey how sunny and nice it was to be holding training outside that day, with a little breeze blowing that kept the weather from getting too hot and sticky… would I give it up for a boardroom overlooking the harbour? I don’t know. Ask me again in February 2010.

2 Responses to “Who needs Powerpoint?”

  1. gab says:

    Hi Vanwoods
    Am thinking of coming over soon and would like to visit vanwoods and maybe do something useful for the women. I will only be there a week but I am a trained teacher

  2. Vanessa says:

    Hi Gab – thanks a lot for the offer and interest! Unfortunately, VANWODS isn’t really set up for short-term volunteers… but if you’re interested in working with women in other ways, I can recommend other options for you. As a teacher, going out to visit the schools (particularly in the islands, where they have very few resources as compared to the schools in Vila) is a great experience too.

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