The contribution from community leaders and the husbands of the nofotane women, to the improved access of women from the Safata constituency to sustainable employment, highlighted progress being made in advancing gender equality in Samoa through the work of Samoa Victim Support Group.
This was evidence by the participation from village leaders of Vaiee, Fusi and Sataoa at the 12th Workshop Session for the self-employed nofotane women.
While the economic empowerment of nofotane women challenged the social norms surrounding gender role stereotype and men being breadwinners in a family, the presence of chiefs and high chiefs to this women’s gathering has been a welcoming sight.
It speaks of mentality change, of behavioral change, and/or attitudinal changes towards nofotane women, with cascading benefits for all women in Samoa
They are referred to as the protectors of families, the peace makers or ‘pae ma le auli’, or simply put, the ‘go to person’ for anything you need in your home. They are seldom recognized for being the first to rise in the morning, and the last one to go to sleep, to ensure that her family is well taken care of, given this is what is expectedof them from society.
Which was why the presence of the village leaders at the Nofotane Program held at Vaiee, speaks of recognition; of acceptance; and of acknowledgement by the men, of the important role of women in our lives. It is a silent declaration of the saying that, ‘behind any good man, is a better woman.’
It even makes the stories of change all so inspiring, as shared by Tiomai Semi Ah Lam of Vaiee, now a nofotane woman of Falelauniu; and Mauli Teo Pelema from Fagafau Savaii, now a nofotane woman of Vaiee.
SVSG’s work in the village communities have been made much easier by the acceptance of the Group by the villages as family. The sustainability of its program has therefore been taken up by the villages themselves, as we have witnessed at Vaiee.
“Thank you so much Lealaimunā & Polima Mapusaga, as well as Pauga Tiitii Tuiletufuga who are the SVSG Village Representatives at Vaiee, for coordinating such a beautiful gathering. We greatly value the patriotic spirit the men had brought to the forum and their support for the women.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
Thank you also to the partnership with the European Union for funding this important project for the nofotane women of Samoa, through the Civil Society Support Program.