"In partnership we can make a difference"

Vanuatu Overview

Quick Facts

Population: 266,937

Capital: Port Vila (44,000)

Population Growth: 2.06%

Life expectancy: 72.3 years

Population under 14 years of age: 37.9%

Language: local languages (73%), Bislama (official - 23%), English (official - 2%)

Religion: Christian 81%

Human Development Index ranking: 124

Living Below the Poverty Line: N/A

GDP Per Capita: $4,800 (US)

History of the Churches of Christ in Vanuatu:
In 1973, the Conference of Churches of Christ in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) was formally constituted. In the 1980s, the Conference restructured and appointed directors to oversee areas of Church Development, Mission and Evangelism and Youth and Christian Education. The Conference office is in Luganville on the island of Santo.

Located 1,700 kilometers north-east of Australia, Vanuatu is an island nation which was originally formed by volcanic activity and comprises over 80 islands. The Spanish claimed Vanuatu in 1605, but it wasn’t until the European explorations in the South Pacific under Bougainville (1768) and Cook (1774) that the Europeans returned. During the mid nineteenth century, an insidious trade in human labour arose, with many ni-Vanuatu men being used as indentured labour in the cane fields and sugar industry in Queensland (amongst other places).  This was called ‘black birding’, and a former victim of this practice, Tabimancom, eventually returned to Vanuatu as a free man and helped establish the Churches of Christ.  In the 1880s, the United Kingdom and France both annexed parts of the islands. It was jointly ruled as the New Hebrides (the name Cook had given it) from 1906, and gained independence in 1980 as the Republic of Vanuatu.    

Vanuatu has limited resources, and in recent times has attempted to boost its tourism industry, with many of its visitors coming from Australia and New Zealand (who also supply the country with significant amounts of foreign aid).  Agriculture provides a living for almost two thirds of the population, and also produces export crops such as cocoa, kava, beef and timber and copra.  Education is not compulsory in Vanuatu, and in the many rural communities where the ni-Vanuatu people live, educational facilities are not easily accessible.

Projects in Vanuatu

Church Leadership Development

The Vanuatu Conference identified one of their main needs as church leadership development, including lay leadership and upskilling pastors. The Mobile Bible College was established in response to this need and commenced in March 2012. The college has also partnered with ACOM (Australian College of Ministries) and is utilising overseas lecturers to assist with this training.

More about Church and Leadership Development.

Vanuatu Church Partnership Project

The Churches of Christ Conference is partnering with other church networks aiming to build their capacity for community development projects.

More about the Church Partnership Project 

Ranwadi College

The community here is close and suportive of each other, and value the education that will pave the way forward for their children and their country. ICP continues sending teams and volunteers to build relationships and capacity at Ranwadi College. The first baptisms here were conducted by an Australian, John Thompson, and now three Australians have also been baptised in that very same pool!

Church-to-Church Partnerships

  • Blackwood Church of Christ in South Australia with South Pentecost.
  • Withcott Church of Christ in Queensland with Central Pentecost
  • Castlemaine Church of Christ in Victoria with Sara on Santo Island.
  • Wyoming Church of Christ in New South Wales with Lans Bulu.
  • Coast Community Church in New South Wales with Londua Technical College
  • Elizabeth Church in, SA, with Tanna

Click here for more information about how your church can be involved in Church-to-Church Partnerships!


Resources on Vanuatu