MOU Signing Paves Way For Proper Management Of Records And Information

A MILESTONE MEMORANDUM of Understanding (MOU) signed yesterday (Tuesday 06 Dec 2016) ) between the Director of the Department of Strategic Planning, Policy and Aid Coordination (DSPPAC) Gregoire Nimbtik, and the Director for Vanuatu Kaljurol Senta (VKS), Asal Lazare, now paves way for the establishment of mechanisms for proper records and information management under the Right To Information At.

The RTI Act was unanimously passed by parliament on 24 November 2016.

Speaking after the signing, DSPPAC Director Nimbtik said the MOU is very crucial to the pro-active and publication scheme under the implementation plan of the Right To Information policy and RTI Act.

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Mr. Gregoire Nimbtik (right) the  Director of DSPPAC formalising MOU with Mr Asal Lazare the Director of VKS.

Mr Nimbtik said under the MOU, the National Archives will take the lead in establishing National Records and Information Development Committee to reinforce best practice of records management and establish standards and guidelines as required by the RTI Act.

“Implementation of the RTI law will not succeed without good record keeping”, he said.

The RTI Unit under DSPPAC will work closely with VKS and the National Archives to set up respective committees under its strategic plan.

In response, VKS Director Lazare assured everyone of his agencies commitment to fulfilling the records management requirements under the RTI implemention plan.

“This signing is a historic milestone in cooperation between VKS and the Prime Minister’s Office. In the past we have been operating independently from other government departments, but that this MOU marks the beginning of closer working relationship with other agencies as we embark on the RTI implementation plan”, he said.

Mr Lazare said the MOU will also foster a recent structural change in his agency that saw the stream lining of sections from 11 down to 3, which are the Public Records and Archives, Production and the National Heritage, and the Research sections.

He believes the implementation process undertaken under the MOU will also assist in the functioning of his new structure.

The National Archives under the VKS has been working diligently in the past years to assist government agencies with records management training awareness and is committed to carrying out its strategic plans.

Source: Media Release from DSPPAC

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What We Are Doing This 16 Days Of Activism

What we are doing during this 16 Days of Activism?

The Government’s Right To Information Unit, the Media Asosiesen  Blong Vanuatu (MAV) and Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) are visiting communities in Port Vila to inform the them about the Right To Information Bill that was recently passed by Parliament and how the implementation phase will roll out.

Why?

The Right To Information Law is the Peoples Law, therefore the people must be informed of how, and why, they need to use it.

Advising people that a powerful law like the Right To Information Law would just be another piece of paper unless it is used.

Lastly, now that the Right To Information Bill has passed, the people deserve the right to know what will happen next in its implementation phase.

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51% Of Erromango People Support RTI Bill

A TEAM FROM Transparency International Vanuatu recently visited and traveled around 2the island of Erromango to consult with the people and to gather their opinions on the Bill for the Right To Information Act which has been listed to be tabled next week during the 2nd Extraordinary Session of Parliament.

The team spoke to over 990 people and informed them on the contents of the Bill as well as how the Bill will impact their lives when it becomes law. A lot of questions were asked on the island about the Right To Information (RTI) Bill and the consultation team responded to their queries thoroughly.

1The community consultations on the island of Erromango were conducted from the 2nd to the 8th of November, and approximately fifty one percent (51%) of the population on the island were informed of the RTI Bill (Erromango Pop: 1,950 – According to 2009 National Census). The other forty nine percent (49%) of the population the team could not reach them due to their work commitments and timely constraints.

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At the end of each consultation sessions each community what they would want their Member of Parliament (MP) to do when the RTI Bill was tabled in Parliament and a hundred percent (100%) of them agreed that their MP must vote in favor of the RTI Bill because that is what they want.

4The response is similar in all the islands that Transparency International Vanuatu has visited to conduct the RTI Bill community consultations; islands like Vanualava, Malekula, Santo, Ambrym, Pentecost, Ambae, Tanna, Efate Offshore Islands, and several more.

The ongoing RTI Bill community consultations are funded by the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) who supports Transparency International Vanuatu’s work with the Government’s Right to Information (RTI) Unit to raise awareness and promote public interest in the RTI Policy and Bill. PLP’s support has enabled TIV to campaign in communities and schools and host public forums on the RTI Policy and Bill, using its strong networks in the provinces.

Erromango’s Young Settlers – Living The National Anthem

DESPITE BEING THE FOURTH LARGEST in Vanuatu the island of Erromango, in the Province of TAFEA, has a rather small population. Famous for its sandalwood lengthy, hectares of land on the island are inhabited and untouched by man. But this will be changing as Erromango’s new settlers begin colonizing the islands underpopulated regions.

During the past week a team from Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) was on Erromango conducting consultations on the Right To Information (RTI) Bill.

It was during a Civic Education awareness session, which usually accompanies the RTI Bill consultations, that the team came across the inspiring story of young man named Roki who had taken the ultimate decision to move out of his home and start a new village on a remote part of the island.

For those of you who do not know, the Civic Education sessions promote citizenry activism, like what a former US President said; “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you for your country”. The sessions underline the fundamental rights and duties expressed in Vanuatu’s National Constitution, and explains the lyrical meanings of the National Anthem.

Roki left home voluntarily, taking with him nothing more but just four clothes, “I will 3return when all of this four clothes are worn out” he told his family.

It took a timely boat ride to reach Roki, Officers from Transparency International Vanuatu made time to meet him after having been persuaded by fascinating stories told of him.

His one-man village is several hundred meters away from a deep bay called Punusia near North Erromango, the boat had to be literally carried a few meters over a stretch of black smooth stones to harbor on a quiet river before the journey began further uphill by foot.

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The rows of manioc plants lined up along the banks of the river showed human presence in the isolated area, and recently planted pineapple plants occupied a clearing next to rows of tomato plants. Passing through the forests the TIV team, and a few villagers from Potnarvin and Dillon’s Bay, came upon rows of peanut plants silhouetted by high-rise corn plants that bend a little due to the added weight of the mature corn kernels that were attached to them.

In the middle of the corn field a house loomed, and smoke from a fire rose at the edge of the corn field ahead and the smell of heat-cooked meat filled the air. “Bumro” (goodnight) greeted Roki in the Erromang language when the group finally met up with him outside his kitchen, he shook hands with a wide smile, happy to see fellow humans at his remote setting.

“When I first came here I slept on the black stones by the sea, I then moved here and made home underneath that Burao tree with my dogs” he pointed with his torch when the team finally had time to sit down for a chat.

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“When I woke up in the morning I was ready to start a village after my first night here. I threw fear faraway, no more fear, I am on my own” said Roki. “When I sleep I can hear wild cattle mooing, wild fowl’s crow everywhere, and I have become very good at tracking down wild pigs. I worked by myself to clear the land for planting. And all the food I eat is roasted over fire, just like our ancestors did. When I want to eat fish I go down to the sea and spear them. Every morning I go hunting before tending to my gardens”.

“I planted a lot of manioc during my first days because it would be my stable food. I have also been able to map out the wild pig’s routes, which has allowed me to make my gardens where the only way to it for the wild pigs would be through my compound. Unfortunately for them, they always do not return to the wild when they make that mistake” he explains in a calm, but firm tone.

“Next time you come here” he nodded at us “you will see changes; fences and bigger gardens. And of course a nakamal, to show that I have put down roots”.

The last verse of Vanuatu’s National Anthem supportively says; “Yumi save plante wok I stap long ol aelan blong yumi” (We know there are a lot of work in our islands), therefore as citizens we need to be proactive like Roki, develop the land and be productive and do not be lured by the tempting lights of the city or its range of material wealth.

The TIV team camped with him overnight before continuing the RTI Bill consultations to the western part of the island. The team left Roki brochures and information on the RTI Bill including a Vanuatu Constitution Book.

Certainly, when the RTI Bill is passed in parliament it will help people like Roki who live in remote places, it will give them the right to access accurate information wherever they are. Because as time goes by, there might be information that Roki needs in order to develop the land he lives on, and the RTI Bill, when it becomes law, might just be that link to personal and communal development. It will become a lifeline to social and economic development for the very remote places of Vanuatu.

Therefore, voters tell your parliamentary representatives to support the RTI Bill because how, and where, it will help you will be extensively beneficial. To know more of the RTI Bill please view the information on the Transparency Vanuatu blog site; www.tivnews.wordpress

 

Offshore RTI Consultations Completed, Erromango Next

THE ONGOING NATION-WIDE community consultations by Transparency Vanuatu (TV) on the Right To Information (RTI) Bill completed its eleventh campaign throughout the Efate offshore islands and has moved on to the island of Erromango.

It took more than a week to inform the people of the islands of Emau, Lelepa, Moso, Pele, 2and Nguna. The islands of Pele, Lelepa and Moso took a day each to complete while the island of Nguna took three days.

The consultation throughout the islands has been successful. On the island of Pele, for example, seventy five percent (75%) of the population were informed of the RTI Bill. Similarly, on the island of Nguna sixty four percent (64%) of the population were informed of the RTI Bill. A hundred percent (100%) of the people want their Members of Parliament to support the Bill when they were asked if their MP should vote for the RTI Bill or not.

Statistically, this means that more than half of the people from the Efate offshore islands are now aware of the RTI Bill and how the Bill will impact society when it becomes law.

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“Many of us want accurate information, but a lot of time we get information from radio-coconut which makes our decision inaccurate. I belief that this (RTI) Bill will help a lot of people,” said the Atavi (the name represents a chiefly rank) of Piliura village, Pele Island.

The Transparency Vanuatu team that is conducting the consultations have moved on, since Tuesday the 1st of November, to the island of Erromango where the consultations were completed on the 8th of November, 2016.

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On the island of Erromango the team started the campaign at Dillon’s Bay, then to Ipota, before moving out to the other regions on the island. (More reports on this campaign will be published)

Transparency Vanuatu has been involved in a year-long consultation program that aims to inform the people of Vanuatu about the Right To Information (RTI) Bill.

As the campaign moves forward more and more people are now aware of the RTI Bill, and 7more and more people are showing their support by asking their MPs to vote for the RTI Bill when it is tabled in Parliament.

This RTI campaign tours are funded by the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP), based in Fiji, who supports Transparency Vanuatu’s work with the Government’s Right to Information (RTI) Unit to raise awareness and promote public interest in the RTI Policy and Bill.

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PLP’s support has enabled Transparency Vanuatu to campaign in communities and schools and host public forums on the RTI Policy and Bill, using its strong networks in the provinces.

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Efate Offshore Islands RTI Campaign Kick-Starts Next Week

OFFICERS FROM TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU (TIV) will be continuing the Right To Information (RTI) Bill Campaign to the island of Emau next week on Tuesday the 18th of October.

After successfully completing the RTI Bill Campaign around the island of Ambrym last month the TIV Team is focused now on visiting the Efate Offshore Islands to inform them about the RTI Bill. And the first island to be visited is the island of Emau.

The TIV Team is expected to begin the RTI awareness at ten o’clock (10:00am) at the Mangarongo Centre School, and invites village leaders and people from the villages of Mapua, Mangarongo, and Marou.

In the afternoon, a second RTI awareness will be held at Wiana village and people from the neighboring villages of Lausake and Ngurua could also attend there.

Transparency International Vanuatu, with financial assistance from the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP), has been conducting a year-long campaign since 2015 on the RTI Bill.

Our goals are to inform the people on the contents of the RTI Bill and how it will impact their lives when it becomes law, and to collectively gather and publish their opinions to the general public and to the Members of Parliament (MP) so that we can all share one voice and one vision when the time comes to talk about the RTI Bill when Parliament is in session.

After Emau, the next islands to be visited before the end of this month are the islands of Lelepa, Moso, Pele, and Nguna.

South East Ambrym RTI Consultation Completed

THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION BILL community awareness/consultation campaign conducted by Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) throughout the south eastern part of the island of Ambrym was completed successfully after reaching almost fifty percent (50%) of the population during the first three days of the 10th RTI Bill Consultation.

The TIV Team on the island began the campaign at the village of Endu, which is close to the north eastern part of the island, and finished at Taviak village which the southernmost village in the south east region of Ambrym island.

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Feedback received by community leaders had been positive, at every meeting everyone showed support for the RTI Bill. A law enforcement officer on the island expressed his appreciate for the RTI Bill when he said that “If this Bill pass I will be very happy. It will help us a lot. For now everything is easier for the people in Port Vila. But when this RTI Bill becomes law it will be easier for us in the rural areas to access information”.

“This information is exactly what the people of South East need” said the Area Secretary of the South East Ambrym Area Council Mr. Kerbi.

Mr. Kerbi had joined the TIV Team right at the start, and was there to farewell them when they journeyed on by boat to the western side of the island to continue the consultation process. He was instrumental in organising the community meetings and arranging the each days’ schedules.

Almost one thousand (1,000) people of south east Ambrym were informed of the RTI Bill, and a hundred percent of them showed support for the RTI Bill.

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The TIV Team that is doing the community consultation work is looking forward to move on to the next region which is the Efate Offshore Islands. When the preparation stages are complete Transparency International Vanuatu will continue to update you on its community consultation schedules.

Also, this notice also goes out to the people of Erromango, if you would like the TIV Teamambrym-rti to come to your village please contact us by Tel: 25175, or you can visit the office so that we can begin to identify the places we can visit.

Again, this RTI Bill will affect us all, therefore it is important to know about it before it becomes law. Transparency International Vanuatu, with assistance from our partners will continue to lobby, advocate, and push for anti-corruption tools like the RTI Bill to become a reality so that we can achieve transparency and accountability in our decisions and choices.

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This RTI campaign tours are funded by the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) who supports Transparency International Vanuatu’s work with the Government’s Right to Information (RTI) Unit to raise awareness and promote public interest in the RTI Policy and Bill. PLP’s support has enabled TIV to campaign in communities and schools and host public forums on the RTI Policy and Bill, using its strong networks in the provinces.