Good research can lead to positive change for the world’s poorest by enhancing the design and implementation of development policies and programs. That’s why Australian Aid is committed to an innovative research portfolio and funds research, including through:
- competitive funding mechanisms (such as the Australian Development Research Awards Scheme)
- research partnerships with different Australian, international and developing country research institutions
- commissioning research to address a specific question or clearly defined research gap, and
- one-off research grants, when an existing program of research is relevant to the Australian aid program.
More information on how we fund research
Research funded by our Vanuatu country program specifically targets Vanuatu’s development challenges. Some of the highlights of this research are listed below.
Survey of women’s lives and family relationships
The Australian Aid-funded program 'Love Patrol' challenges values, attitudes and behaviours that harm women and children in Vanuatu.
The 'Vanuatu National Survey of Women’s Lives and Family Relationships' is the first nationwide study that benchmarks the prevalence and incidence of violence against women, and attitudes to violence in Vanuatu. This survey examines how violence impacts on the health and wellbeing of women and children; risk and protective factors in the family and community; coping strategies of women; and what this means for prevention and support services.
The study reveals a different side to Vanuatu's happy image. It argues that violence against women cannot be prevented unless patterns of unequal power, including controlling behaviours by husbands and intimate partners, are transformed. The study finds that respect and trust for Vanuatu’s chiefs and church leaders helps to promote social cohesion, and that there is some support for women's rights and non-violent solutions to family problems. It concludes, however, that attitudes about women's rights and gender equality need widespread change to reduce the high rates of all forms of violence against women in Vanuatu.
This important study was recently completed - with Australia's support - by the Vanuatu Women's Centre, in partnership with the National Statistics Office. The report was launched on 2 November 2011 at Parliament House in Canberra, as part of the Australia–US Pacific Women's Empowerment Policy Dialogue: Stopping Violence Against Women
Partnership with the World Bank’s Justice for the Poor
Justice for the Poor Reports (external website) and
Briefing Notes (external website)
One of Australia’s major development research partnerships is with the World Bank’s Justice for the Poor program. This research aims to make development projects more effective and equitable, and to manage the risk of conflict between stakeholders. Australia has given support to expand Justice for the Poor’s research in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. Australia is also helping to improve regional knowledge sharing through Justice for the Poor on areas including land and natural resources development, gender, the use of community-based paralegals (legal workers without formal qualifications), and multiple systems of law and justice (i.e. how Vanuatu’s formal and traditional justice systems interact).
With Australian funding, Justice for the Poor established
Jastis Blong Evriwan
in Vanuatu in 2009. Jastis Blong Evriwan is helping key government agencies and other stakeholders manage and conduct research, develop policy and support pilot programs to improve how Vanuatu’s different systems of justice work together (termed ‘legal pluralism’). Jastis Blong Evriwan is also providing technical assistance to Vanuatu’s Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Lands to develop evidence-based policy.
Further details are available on the World Bank’s
Justice for the Poor Homepage.
Overcoming barriers to women’s economic empowerment
Women in Vanuatu: Analyzing Challenges to Economic Participation is a comprehensive analysis of institutional, legal, and regulatory barriers to women’s full economic participation in Vanuatu. A joint Australian Aid, World Bank and International Finance Corporation team prepared the report March-April 2008, based on field research and consultations with government and private sector organisations.
The report outlines the context for women’s economic empowerment in Vanuatu. By analyzing the gender dimensions of the cost of doing business— using the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators—it considers reforms to improve private sector development so women and men will benefit equally. The report recommends actions for Australian Aid, the World Bank, International Finance Corporation and the Government of Vanuatu to promote women’s economic empowerment by improving: Vanuatu’s legal framework; availability of sex-disaggregated data; business start-up and licensing requirements; access to land; access to markets; awareness of ‘value added’ and fair trade brands and certification; business and financial management skills; access to finance; contract enforcement; and employment law (to remove discrimination).
Report: Women in Vanuatu: Analyzing Challenges to Economic Participation (World Bank, 2009) [external website]
Social and economic impact of telecommunications in Vanuatu
2009, 2011 [external websites]
This Australian-funded multi-year study is tracking the impact of improved telecommunications technology on people in urban and rural Vanuatu. The 2011-12 report is the third in the series of studies—undertaken by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy—and further illuminates the economic and social impacts of telecommunications in Vanuatu. The latest study has found that many of these impacts are clear: prior to 2008, people in Vanuatu had limited access to phones, but now mobiles are a common household item. Since 2008, both the incumbent (Telecom Vanuatu Ltd) and the new provider (Digicel) have expanded services across the country, including to remote islands in the north and south. Modes of communication are changing, new business ventures are emerging, and mobile phones are becoming a part of everyday life.
For further information, see the Pacific Institute for Public Policy Homepage [external website].
Unfinished State: Drivers of change in Vanuatu
Unfinished State: Drivers Of Change in Vanuatu [PDF 595 kb]
Development is a fundamentally political process, and development assistance is likely to be more effective if it is based on a sound understanding of the country context, including political processes and incentives.
Because of this, Australia has funded 'Drivers of Change', an analytical tool used by donors to assess the prospects for and constraints on development in a particular country context. With a political economy perspective, the tool assesses the interaction between economic, social and cultural systems, institutions, and actors, including individuals and organisations.
The report maps out possible development scenarios for Vanuatu in the coming 10–15 years, based on different assumptions around political governance. This includes examining what kind of change is possible in Vanuatu’s political environment, and highlighting the choices, risks and opportunities facing the country.