The 27th livelihood training for the Nofotane Project centered at the Methodist Church Hall of Saloga Salelologa highlighted once again, the theory of change behind the economic empowerment of nofotane women in Samoa. It is based on how change initiatives lead to desired goals being achieved.
For the nofotane project, the change initiative relates to the nofotane woman, and how the empowerment program ensures that she will have improved access to sustainable employment and increased participation in domestic and community matters.
However, at Saloga, the expansion of the project reach to include faiava (married men living with their wive’s families), and youth, both as trainees and as trainers, highlight an expansion of the theory of change to the whole of community.
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 and the theory of change. 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.
According to Rev. Samuelu of the Methodist Church of Saloga “this program will definitely bear positive results for the family, church and the village as a whole, as it includes a spiritual aspect to it through the SHINE self esteem module.”
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 theory of change has embraced male as much as female. 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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