“Leaving no one behind” sums up the 15th livelihood training session for the economic empowerment of nofotane women at the Falealili constituency as part of the SVSG and the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality project currently underway. Centered at the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints Tafatafa, the training catered for women from eleven villages of Salani, Siuniu, Salesaele, Sapunaoa, Malaemal, Satalo, Tafatafa, Matautu-uta, Vaovai, Poutasi and Saleilua.
While m ore than 100 participants were unemployed nofotane women, twice as many who crowded the training hall were the church ministers, village leaders, husbands and children supporting the nofotane women on. The ripple effect to the community of the economic empowerment of nofotane women will see families husbands and wives each other, and the people of Falealili knew this as the community came on board to offer their support.
Mothers attended the training with their children. The village leaders hanged around the hall playing the guitar while the church ministers watched on.
Having husbands attending the livelihood training with their wives was something the project did not anticipate, yet, this shows the successful advocacy role, played by the SVSG village representatives, who have been advocating to the village, church and family leaders, to support the economic empowerment of nofotane women. This is a step towards changing mindsets, an important requirement for the goal of the project to be achieve d.
The four main skills of commercial cooking, fabric printing, handicraft and flower arrangement continued to be the focus of the livelihood training. The self-esteem module has become a favorite as the nofotane women were reminded of their worth, their purpose and their strength. The last day saw a celebration of the nofotane women being economically empowered hosted by the church and village leaders and the children through dancing, singing and light refreshments. At the end of the day, it is the community that benefits as the Falealili livelihood session highlighted the benefit of being economically empowered in leaving no one behind.
For the project, its goal remains 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.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
President of SVSG Samoa