31 OCTOBER 2014

Without a doubt, the Climate Zone Competition in 2014 has been the best ever organized.  In total, over 300 students from all six provinces in Vanuatu took part in the Government’s annual Climate Zone competition. The final competition was held in October after schools had spent months studying climate change resource materials, taking written qualifying exams and participating in gruelling semi-final live matches.  Based on qualifying rounds, one school was selected from each province to participate in the semi-final rounds in Port Vila this month: Arep (TORBA), Santo East (SANMA), Ranwadi (PENAMA), Rensari (MALAMPA), Malapoa (SHEFA) and Lenakel Presbyterian College (TAFEA). 

According to the Acting Director General of the Ministry of Education, Mr John Niroa, “The Government of Vanuatu has placed a high priority on climate change education, and is using this Climate Zone competition format to educate students and the public about real and practical solutions for Vanuatu”.

Over 20 Vanuatu government agencies, civil society organizations, academic institutions and development partners joined forces this year to develop climate related questions that reflect Vanuatu’s extreme vulnerabilities and unique adaptive capacities.  “We wanted the questions to really match what students in Vanuatu are experiencing and how they are adapting to climate change in our islands” said Climate Zone organizer Onis Ben of SPC-GIZ.  “While there was some scientific questions, most of our partners developed questions to see how students think outside the box and apply real solutions to climate change in Vanuatu.”

During the semi-final rounds, each province played in a round-robin style with every other province, seeking to earn a place in the final by answering multiple choice, true false, short answer and discussion questions.  Distinguished local climate change expert judges were on hand to explain the science and Vanuatu relevance behind each question.  Judge Annette Theophile of the Vanuatu Teacher’s College noted that “the students were able to think through difficult climate questions and give extremely creative answers, especially in ways that we can adapt to climate impacts for people, ecosystems, our economy with our own local resources and culture.”

Today, on 31 October 2014, Malapoa College representing SHEFA province was crowned “Climate Zone Champion”, and the runner up named as Santo East representing SANMA.  Organizer Christopher Bartlett of SPC-GIZ was amazed by the quality of answers given during the nail biting final between these two schools. “Each question that was answered perfectly by these students impressed me more and more, I believe that with future leaders like these, Vanuatu’s climate change adaptation outlook is very good.”

The Climate Zone 2014 matches have been recorded and edited by the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation.  DVDs of the competition will be sent to communities throughout Vanuatu as a vehicle for climate change knowledge and awareness dissemination.  “Climate Zone is a way to enable our nation’s top students teach other young people and parents about climate change, even in remote communities where there are no secondary schools or climate education opportunities”, said Felicity Nilwo of the Curriculum Development Unit.

Further expanding the outreach of climate zone this year, UNDP’s PRRP project, SPC-GIZ and Digicel joined forces to bring Climate Zone questions to all mobile phone users.  For the entire week of the climate zone semifinal, all Digicel users were invited to take part in a free sms quiz of four climate questions per day.  At the end of the week, the top winner was announced from Epi Island drawn from the over 38,000 correct answers texted in from around the islands!

This year’s Climate Zone Quiz was financially and technically supported by the Vanuatu Ministry of Education, SPC-GIZ Climate Change, Oxfam, The German Embassy, The French Embassy, UNDP, the Vanuatu National Advisory Board on Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction, Save the Children, the Department of Meteorology & Geohazards, The Curriculum Development Unit, Vanuatu Teacher’s College, Live and Learn, CARE, Vanuatu Red Cross Societies, Television blong Vanuatu, the Vanuatu Climate Action Network, Digicel, the Australian Government, SPC-USAID, and the University of the South Pacific.  USP’s Bani Arudovo expects that “next year even more partners will get involved to make sure that climate change becomes a top priority in our schools as a way to help Vanuatu’s communities that are really suffering now.”

For more information on Vanuatu’s 2014 Climate Zone Competition, contact SPC-GIZ Climate Change Vanuatu Ministry of Education ( or visit the NAB online