The nofotane women of Tuasivi, Fogapoa and Iva in Savaii embraced their economic empowerment as a form of livelihood to support their families. This was the general comment from close to 100 nofotane women who attended the 21st livelihood training session held at Fogapoa, at Taulapapa Faasootauloa Patī’s residence
The selfless mentality of these nofotane women supported UN Women’s vision for its economic empowerment program of ‘leaving no one behind’, as the participants juggled their responsibilities in the home, with the livelihood training program, all for the sake of their families.
We had mothers and their daughters training together to master different handicraft skills and produced quality products.
At the same time, their husbands joined to help out their wives with the commercial cooking training.
Then we had high chiefs such as Tofilau Taranaki of Iva, Namulauulu Tuipala of Fogapoa and others, sitting around and offered moral support as village leaders, who have been advocating for support for the project.
It surely was a family oriented training and we look forward to returning for the first assessment of these women’s businesses, to determine their sustainable self employment for their families.
“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.
The nofotane women who participanted in the 20th livelihood training session for the Nofotane project were spiritually challenged by Reverend Tautua Aulerio of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Vaigaga, to look at their problems not as a way of God punishing them, but as His way of testing their faith.
“If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.” 2 Thessalonians 3: 11
The spiritual message from Rev. Tautua officially opened the training session for the Faleata West constituency where women from Vaigaga, Vaiusu, Vailoa, Tulaele and Vaitele gathered at the CCCS Vaigaga Hall to be economically empowered.
The message was direct and it sets the eagerness and the excitement amongst the nofotane women who were trainined on the four (4) selected skills for the Nofotane project: fabric printing, commercial cooking, handicraft and flower arrangement. There was a mixture of the young and the old, the children and the youth as each chose a skill to be trained on, and worked diligently to master the art of such skill.
With Rev. Tautua’s spiritual message in mind, none of the participants wanted to be left behind. The creativity of some saw the weaving of handbags from coffee mix trash, with different eye catching colour designs. The demand for such bags was huge that clients were lined up for their orders even before the bags were completed.
Out of the 100 nofotane women who participated, 50% registered to start a small business from the skills being trained on with handicraft being the most popular one.
Thank you Rev. Tautua and the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Vaigaga for hosting the training program and for encouraging the nofotane women to work hard for themselves and their families.
President of SVSG Samoa