The 17th livelihood training for the Nofotane Project which was centered at Matafufu included Vavau and Lotofaga, once again highlighted the expansion of the project reach to include faiava (married men living with wife’s family) and youth, making up 29% of the participants.
While the project focus is on the improved access to sustainable employment and the economic empowerment of nofotane women, the continuous expansion of the project reach beyond the most vulnerable group of women to include unemployed married men and youth is the uncalculated effect of the economic empowerment component of the project. To SVSG, this uncalculated effect of the project is part of the holistic approach the organization is taking to address family violence through encompassing the whole family in its program.
The majority of the participants were unemployed nofotane women at 71%, and similar to the previous training sessions, the participants were not only empowered economically through livelihood skills such as elei printing, commercial cooking, flower arrangement and handicraft, but also socially, through the self-esteem module SHINE, which is now proven popular with the nofotane women.
New products produced by the nofotane women during this 17th session included woven fruit bowls which are now earning the women a source of income. The creativity of the nofotane women is commended for it highlighted their willingness to learn and be innovative in their approaches to earning an income for their families.
According to Rev. Faasalafa Alaovae of the Congregational Christian Church Matatufu “it is rewarding to see the women learning a skill and earning an income from the products they produced, for it contributed a lot to their families’ welfare.”
With the continuous expansion of the project reach at this stage to include unemployed faiava and youth, the SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang is grateful that the uncalculated effect of the project is benefiting other members of the community besides the nofotane women. However she still maintains that “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.”
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