Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G) launched a new “Nofotane Project for the Economic Empowerment of Women” yesterday at the Millenia Hotel.
Funded by the UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality this project will reach over 1,400 women around the nation of Samoa and benefit countless families as a result and it will provide technical and financial support to high-impact, innovative initiatives from women-led civil society organizations that demonstrate concrete results on the ground, especially for women in situations of marginalization.
Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said when S.V.S.G was first setup in 2005 it was only to provide for victims of sexual offending.
“Today, we bear witness to the growth of the Group, from just a provider of sanctuary for children survivors of sexual abuse, to a strong advocate for justice and for peaceful families,” he said.
“And this advocacy role is through awareness-raising in the grass-root community, to address the social issues affecting our people.”
He said the goal of the project is for nofotane women in Samoa to have improved access to sustainable employment and increase their participation in domestic and community matters.
“[And] this is through influencing a change in mindset in village leaders, to support the economic empowerment of nofotane women,” he said.
“For this project to make any difference in the level of recognition accorded to nofotane women in our families, SVSG will continue with advocacy training of its village representatives, to influence a change in mentality, in village leaders, in church leaders and in family leaders, so that women are equally treated as men.
“What the project aims to achieve is to improve the economic empowerment of women and to increase their participation in domestic and community matters.
“This is because the capacity of women to bring about economic change for themselves, families and communities, is one of the most important contributing factors to achieving gender equality.”
He went on to say that this programme have not been worked if it wasn’t for the support of the UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.
“They announced early August 2016 that Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) had received a grant of USD200,000 to implement the two year programme entitled “Economic Empowerment of Nofotane Women in Rural Samoa”, taking the advocacy role of SVSG to the next level,” he said.
“Gender equality for nofotane women through their economic empowerment is the focus of this project.
“The grant to SVSG was awarded during the Fund’s 2015 grant-making cycle, through which UN Women has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting and strengthening women’s organisations as catalysers of change and as critical players to achieve gender quality and the sustainable development agenda.
“SVSG was one of the 24 top quality programmes selected to be implemented in 2016-2018 out of 1,400 applicants worldwide; a first for the Pacific region and for Samoa for the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality.
In 2010, with funding support from the Government of Samoa, SVSG implemented the nation-wide ‘No to Rape & Indecent Act’ campaign. It was a campaign that encouraged the victims of sexual offending to come forward, to speak out.”