A great sense of excitement summed up one of the packed livelihood training sessions for the Nofotane Project, hosted by the village of Lano Savaii for the Faasaleleaga No. 4 constituency.
Close to 120 nofotane women from Puapua, Asaga and Lano were trained on a skill of their choice either, weaving, handicraft, elei priting, commercial cooking or flower arrangement. The aim was to strengthen their capacity for economic livelihood so that they could contribute financially to their family’s well being which should eventually bring a sense of fulfillment for these women.
Most notable during the Lano session was the excitement of the nofotane women to learn as we saw them going about their learning process with smiling faces. And to SVSG, this sense of confidence is one the socio implications of being empowered. It’s a mentality change necessary for these nofotane women to learn a skill, earn from it and sustain it for themselves and their families.
And the support from the village leaders was amazing. During the 3-day session, high chiefs from Lano gathered around the training venue to cheer the women on. According to Mulitalo Talosaga of Lano, “each and everyone of us has hidden talents that if nurtured properly, will become blessings, so thank you to the Nofotane Project for reviving the talents bringing out these talents in our nofotane women.”
During the training session, we also noted some of the nofotane women using the opportunity not only to learn a skill, but also to set up network groups as we noted them discussing with other women their own strategies for everything from household finances to managing their families.
The interesting dynamic is, they are working on mastering a livelihood skill, but at the same time, they are spending so much time together and they can tackle all kinds of different topics that are part of their lives, and there is no other space for them to talk about it. According to SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang, “Things like household finance, all these things don’t have a space in the lives of unemployed nofotane women normally, so by creating these women’s groups in the community and supporting their new business initiatives, we are also providing a platform for exchange.”
Because at the end of the day, “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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