One of the greatest challenges in advancing gender equality in Samoa is a deeply ingrained cultural perception that men are generally more important than women. Men have complete access to leadership in the village, education, and are valued for their contribution to the community. SVSG believes that success does not lie in extinguishing our cultural values, but rather, it is to balance them through education and advocacy, that our culture may be enhanced.
For the livelihood training session centred at Safotu and comprised of nofotane women from Samauga, Lefagaoalii, Paia and Safotu, the village leaders took up their responsibility as leaders with pride. This was evident by their presence during the 3-day session at Safotu and their encouragement.
We had Seualuga Tupe who hosted the training at his residence and encouraged women from his village to attend. Then we had high chief from Safotu, Lavea Natoealofa Ieti who commented on the difference this livelihood program brought to the nofotane women due to the inclusion of a self-esteem module. According to Lavea Natoealofa Ieti “the nofotane women will only be encouraged to utilize the skills being trained on due to the effectiveness of the SHINE program, appealing to the women’s value, purpose and worth within the family.”
So come the 19th and the 20th of July in front of the Government building, the nofotane women from the Safotu, Samauga, Lefagaoalii and Paia from Savaii, will travel all the way to Upolu to showcase some of their products during the Nofotane Market Days to celebrate the official closing of the project.
“A nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this cultural aspect of the FaaSamoa. The project merely aims to improve the economic empowerment of women and to increase their participation in domestic and community matters, as these are some of the most important contributing factors to achieving gender equality.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President.
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