Vanuatu is a Melanesian archipelago of 243,300 people living on 65 inhabited islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Formerly known as the New Hebrides, Vanuatu was jointly governed by British and French administrations before attaining independence on 30 July 1980.

Motivation Australia’s engagement with Vanuatu began in 2012 with a feasibility study conducted by Motivation Australia and the Australian Outreach Committee of ISPO. The Feasibility study highlighted the need for comprehensive mobility device services to be established.

In 2015 Motivation Australia began working with partners at the Vanuatu Society for Disabled People (VSDP) in Port Villa on a walking aids project (funded by the Australian Government through the Direct Aid Programme) and supporting their efforts post Cyclone Pam.

Motivation Australia is now working with a broad range of partners – including the Government of Vanuatu, VSDP and Sama Frangipani Association to develop basic level wheelchair services in Port Vila and Luganville.

Disability related statistics and information 

Based on WHO statistics an estimated  2,433 Ni-Vanuatu need a wheelchair and 1,216 need a prosthetic or orthotic device.

Vanuatu’s Government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008.

Sanma Province: Planning for expansion in Vanuatu

Motivation Australia (MA) has been working closely with the Vanuatu Society for People with Disabilities (VSPD), the Vanuatu Ministry of Health (MoH), and the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MOJCS) to strengthen mobility device services (MDS) in Vanuatu through the Pacific MDS project. This work has focused on the island of Efate to date,… Read more »

Motivation Australia’s Ambae Response

During late September and early October 2017, Motivation Australia and our Ni-Vanuatu partners were able to respond to the evacuation of the residents of the island of Ambae, due to our previous partnership work strengthening walking aid and wheelchair services in Vanuatu. Approximately 11,600 people were evacuated. Close to 6,000 were sent to Santo, with… Read more »

Vanuatu Volcano: Update

Following the recent evacuation of the entire population of the island of Ambae in Vanuatu, Motivation Australia has been working alongside our Ni-Vanuatu partners the Vanuatu Society for Persons with Disabilities (VSPD), the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Justice; and faith based organisation the Latter-day Saints (LDS); to assist in meeting the mobility… Read more »

Vanuatu volcano appeal

In recent days, the entire population of 11,600 from Ambae, a small island in Vanuatu, have had to face the reality of leaving their homes, due to an escalating threat of the Monaro volcano erupting. The residents of Ambae do not know when, if ever, they will be able to return home. The bulk of… Read more »

Vanuatu suppor visit

Katrina from Motivation Australia (MA) visited Vanuatu in January to provide mentoring and support in the provision of wheelchair services to service partners at Vanuatu Society of Persons with Disabilities (VSPD), Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MOJCS). The trip was a great opportunity to catch up with our partners and… Read more »

Vanuatu Basic Wheelchair Training

During our July in-country visit to Vanuatu, Motivation Australia had the opportunity to provide basic level wheelchair service delivery training to eight personnel from the Vanuatu Society for People with a Disability (VSPD), the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MOJCS) and the Ministry of Health (MOH). The eight day training course utilised material from… Read more »


Vanuatu Technical Support Visit

Our recent technical support visit (May 16) to Vanuatu to meet with stakeholders involved in the Vanuatu wheelchair service provision project proved how valuable the time we spend to “tok tok” with our partners is. Combined with the delivery of a two-day workshop for Wheelchair Service Managers; during this visit we met with our partners… Read more »

Wheelchair Service Management Workshop

Running a successful wheelchair (or any other assistive technology) service requires management level support. That means that managers need to understand how to plan, implement and manage their service; motivate personnel; and ensure that the right resources are in place when they are needed. In most developing countries, service managers also need to be incredibly… Read more »

Vanuatu wheelchair service provision project

The Vanuatu Wheelchair Service Provision project Phase I (WSPI) is a one year (2015-2016) collaboration between the Vanuatu Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MOJCS), VSPD (Vanuatu Society for People with Disability), the Sanma Frangipani Association (SFA) and Motivation Australia. Together we are working towards consistent, sustainable, equitable access to appropriate, basic level… Read more »

Supporting VSDP after Cyclone Pam

When Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu this month, our partners in Vanuatu, the Vanuatu Society for Disabled Persons (VSDP) were amongst those who lost so much. Fortunately all of the staff and volunteers of VSDP; and their families were un-harmed. However VSDPs building, which had been recently renovated with the support of the Friends of VSDP… Read more »


Vanuatu Walking Aids Project

Motivation Australia and our partners in Vanuatu – the Vanuatu Society for Disabled Persons (VSDP) have been exploring ways to act on the recommendations from our 2012 joint feasibility study. This year we are delighted to have received funds through the Australian Government Direct Aid Programme to carry out a small project – providing up… Read more »

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Vanuatu Feasibility Study

In July 2012, Motivation Australia’s Ray Mines and consultants Huy Nguyen and Kaori Oka (ISPO Australia Outreach) carried out a feasibility study investigating the provision of Mobility Devices (wheelchairs, supportive seating and Prosthetics and Orthotics) in Vanuatu. Adding a wheelchair user’s and a Prosthetist Orthotist’s perspective to Motivation’s study team was very useful. The team… Read more »