A local Samoan charity Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) is one of just 20 organisations from around the world to receive a With and For Girls Award this year.
As part of the award package, SVSG will receive US$50,000 of flexible funding and capacity building support.
The With and For Girls Awards is a global initiative to identify and support strong local organisations working with and for girls.
The charity – based in Apia, Samoa – is recognised for its work with survivors of violence and sexual abuse in Samoa, providing shelters and support for women and girls, in addition to educating community members on violence prevention.
Around 46 per cent of Samoan women who have been in a relationship say they have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse by their partner, according to figures published by the United Nations.
In a culture where family reputation is highly valued, women are reluctant to report crimes. As a result, victims of domestic violence find little support within their families, leaving them isolated and trapped in an abusive environment.
SVSG was set up by a young lawyer frustrated at the lack of support for victims of gender-based violence. She brought together former police officers and legal professionals to provide support and counselling for survivors.
SVSG helps refer cases to the police and offers counselling to survivors in a private setting. Members of SVSG will also accompany survivors to court to ensure they have company during this scary and often intimidating process.
The organisation also offers secured temporary accommodation while it works on rehabilitation, recovery and reintegration. An alternative school system helps children who cannot read to transition into formal schooling.
SVSG has reached over 25,000 people and is the only organisation of its kind in Samoa.
Muna Wehbe, CEO of Stars Foundation –
“These 20 outstanding organisations demonstrate the power of grassroots movements and girl leadership to effect change, both in communities and in the world at large. The Collective is proud to be supporting the With and For Girls Award winners with flexible funding, which is still a rare asset for most grassroots organisations. We want to encourage more funders to trust and invest in girls to address the challenges that they face in their everyday lives. By doing so they are changing the future for the millions of girls worldwide who face discrimination simply for identifying as a girl."ENDS
President of SVSG Samoa