The effectiveness of grassroots advocacy campaign by SVSG village representatives over the years, aimed at changing attitides at the village level towards the gender equality issues that many nofotane women face, now have cascading benefits to many more village women of the Faleata constituency.
This was evident by the attendance at the 15th workshop session of self-esteem workshops for nofotane women held at Vaiusu for women from Vailoa, Vaiusu, Vaitele tai and Vaitele uta.
From the total of 82 nofotane women who attended the workshop, 35% were nofotane who became self-employed since the first Nofotane Program was completed in 2018. The other 65% were nofotane women who attended the first Nofotane Program, but didn’t get to become earners until the period 2019 to date. This is a huge success rate as more and more women continued to use the livelihood skills being trained on to earn income for themselves and their families.
Seeing the husbands joining their wives at the training is the buy in that the project seeks to achieve, as this is very important to support the sustainability of the income generation of women.
The improvement in the quality of the production, and the innovative creations of handicrafts made from coconut shells, is raising the bar on the level of production demanded by the overseas buyers secured by Samoa Victim Support Group for these women.
According to Ligi Toomata, the SVSG Village Representative for Vaiusu, “while there is now an acceptance that women can, and do play a vital role in community affairs, particularly in contributing to the achievement of community development and progress, the majority of women remained the unsung heroes. But seeing so many men attending the training with their wives, is a good sign of better things ahead, especially within families.”
“The funding support from the European Union through the Civil Society Support Program is therefore acknowledged with gratitude and appreciation for those who are always left behind – women and children.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President