Who would have thought back in 2016 - 2018 that the unemployed nofotane women of the Falealili district at the south eastern coast of Upolu, who attended the economic empowerment program implemented by Samoa Victim Support Group at the time, would one day converse in the business language today.
The nofotane women of Falealili, who attended the 6th Session of the Self-Esteem Workshops for the Nofotane project, talked about how they expanded their income generating activities from one product to two or more, all running at the same time. Little did these women know, this is the product diversification concept in economics, which refers to a business, diversifying to produce a variety of goods or services as a way to minimize risks, in the event of an industry downturn.
But that is the Falealili district for you Samoa, renowed for its patriotic pride, and home of the legendary Manu Samoa title for which our national rugby team is named after. In fact, the popular song ‘Falealili Uma’ is said to express so much pride for a hometown and a people. According to Gagana Samoa Translating Lyrics, “It’s a call to arms for all of Falealili to stand together and press forward with courage and dignity.”
And that was exactly what the nofotane women of Saleilua, Matautu, Vaovai, Satalo, Malaemalu, Salesatele and Salani did: ‘standing together and pressing forward with courage and dignity’ as self-employed nofotane women.
From close to 50 self-employed nofotane women who gathered at Salani for Workshop, not one of these women is producing a single product. All of them are practicing product diversification to improve profitability.
These women are exceeding our expectations at this stage of the Progam, and we are very excited.
Take the 35 year old Seupepe Lolo of Salani Falealili for example. In 2017, Seupepe learnt baking from the commercial cooking component of the livelihood training rolled out by SVSG.
Today, Seupepe is also a proud farmer, who shares with SVSG on how she spaces out her planting season so that harvesting will also be in succession. At the same time, her baking continues to serve the children’s school canteen and other events held in the village.
Then we have Sinuanua Solia of Malaemalu who learnt how to make flower accessories in 2017, but is now producing a variety of beauty accessories to sell, while at the same time, run training sessions she personally financed, to teach other women this crafting skill.
The ripple effect of being empowered is now having a cascading benefit to all village women, besides the nofotane. This are the Falealili women, standing together and pressing forward with courage and dignity for themselves and their families.
“Thank you so much European Union for funding SVSG’s program for the nofotane women through the Civil Society Support Program.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President