A community-based study to develop home-based prevention approaches to violence against women and girls in Samoa, have seen the working together of traditional leaders and women as partners in research.
Faiumu Numia a 75 year old high chief in Taga Savaii, and an elderly SVSG village representative, welcomes the opportunity for traditional leaders and women to be researchers rather than just being included as research participants.
“This is a new era for the fight to end violence against women and girls in Samoa; because to me, this is the first time that we, the village leaders, have worked together with the women in our village, to discuss and design relevant solution that suits our own village of Taga. And it is perfect because who else knows our village better than us. We are homegrown researchers to end violence against women.”
Taga is situated on the south east coast of Savaii, and with a population of close to 800 villagers, is one of ten villages selected for the research study to develop home-based prevention approaches to violence against women.
This week saw the traditional leaders and women of Taga working together to identify problems facing their community, specifically, problems faced by women in Taga. From there on, the community researchers went on to identify solutions to the problems as part of a theory of change approach.
It was interesting to observe how the problems identified by the traditional leaders of Taga puts the blame on themselves as the causes of the difficulties faced by the women, and vice versa for the women.
There were also some different opinions expressed amongst the traditional leaders and the women, as to the causes of the problem, what the main problem is, and the consequences. These different opinions were discussed further until the researchers reached an agreement, resulting in clear interventions linking to solutions to the problems faced by the women of Taga.
The reseach study is called “E le Sauā le Alofa” and has being implemented by the Samoa Victim Support Group since March 2000 . The study is for four years, and has funding from the UK’s Research and Innovation Agency. Dr. Jenevieve Mannell, who is the lead researcher for the study is based in the University College of London in the United Kingdom. The COVID-19 pandemic lead to adjustments in the study, giving more control over the research design to local partner organizations, Samoa Victim Support Group.
SVSG President, Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledge with appreciation the learning opportunity presented by the research study not only for the Organization, but most importantly, for our village communities, specifically women.