They may be remotely located at the north west coast of Savaii, but there is a lot to be learnt from the theory of change developed by the village leaders of Fagaee, on how violence against women can and should be prevented in communities, from a Samoan perspective.
Samoa Victim Support Group has learnt of the secret behind Fagaee’s tranquility, in all its aspect, during the community meeting held at Fagaee over the week, as part of the research study that it currently works on with the University College of London.
Speaking during the community meeting, the high chief of Fagaee, Polataivao Pouvale highlighted the difference between working for the communal benefit compared to working for oneself; as the theory behind the orderly state of affairs within the village of Fagaee. “Fagaee is a family, not a village. As a family, everyone looks out for each other, thereby ensuring the safety of the whole community.”
As a chief and an influential leader within the village of Fagaee, this statement from Polataivao Pouvale carries a lot of weight for the research study, as it work to develop home-based prevention approaches to violence against women and girls in Samoa.
The meeting included village and women leaders of Fagaee. In developing its theory of change, there was an equal participation between the participants. While the young women blamed the men for causing the problems faced by the women, the elderly women disagreed, stating that both men and women are equally blamed. It was a fun exercise as the different opinions expressed during the meeting were resolved amicably, and a consenus was reached on Fagaee’s Theory of Change to prevent violence against women.
Fagaee is one of the 10 villages selected for a community study called “E le Sauā le Alofa” implemented locally by SVSG with virtual guidance by the lead research, Dr. Jenevieve Mannel of the University College of London. The project started in March 2020 for a period of four years and it is fully funded by the UK’s Research and Innovation Agency.
SVSG President, Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledges with humility how the village and women leaders of Fagaee continued to take ownership of their role in maintaining peace and harmony within their community. “Your ability to be adaptive and responsive to the necessary changes to prevent violence against women is invaluable and commendable. Malo lava faafetai.”