Strength, resilience recognised as Samoa presses for progress

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HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: Participants in a workshop organised by M.W.C.S.D. as part of International Women’s Day.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: Participants in a workshop organised by M.W.C.S.D. as part of International Women’s Day.

PR - The Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development joins the world today in the celebration of International Women’s Day.

The Ministry recognizes today as important day to commemorate and celebrate women across Samoa and recognizes the importance of addressing issues that challenge the progress of Samoa today. 

“International Women’s Day is a movement of appreciation and recognition, whereby our country alongside many others, take a moment to pause and thank with sincerity the contributions made by women in various areas of our life; from the development of our nation as a whole to fostering our children and families at all levels,” a media statement released by the Ministry yesterday reads.

“The international theme for International Women’s day this year is “Press for Progress” calling us all to press for progress in gender equality; to think, act and be gender inclusive.

“Women are valuable contributors to development of Samoa and are key to our nation achieving our national priorities.” 

The Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development is committed to continue working with development partners, N.G.O.s and C.S.Os to eliminate family violence, to strengthen leadership capabilities of women in decision making and support the economic empowerment of women supporting them in their businesses, as entrepreneurs, and as working women. 

In July last year, the Ministry launched the “Samoa Family Safety Study” that included strong recommendations towards the improvement of leadership through the proactive engagement of village councils and church leaders in the prevention of violence against women, children and persons with disabilities. 

Village activities are key to changing attitudes and behaviour around family violence.

The Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development has been assisting villages strengthen their response and prevention of family violence. 

Villages have adopted bylaws to protect against intimate partner violence and have set up safe haven village committees to provide the support mechanism as well as advocacy network for changing stereotype old practices and promoting zero tolerance.  

Moreover, as part of the 16 Days of Activism against violence campaign in November 2017 saw 30 villages and groups across Samoa participate in village-led initiatives to highlight awareness of domestic violence in our communities with objectives such as changing mindsets and promoting zero tolerance. Supported by Samoa Women Shaping Development Programme and the Government of Australia. 

The District Development Planning process, facilitated by the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, targets the inclusive participation of women, youths and persons with disabilities in leadership and decision making in several districts already. 

The aim of this initiative is to bring communities together, encourage collaboration and allow community residents to lead their own development initiatives and be at the helm of identifying their own development needs and priorities. 

This process was piloted with four Districts across Samoa and to date, the M.W.C.S.D. continues to roll out to all remaining districts of Samoa. 

“Economic empowerment of women is another priority of Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development and with the support of the Samoa Women Shaping Development Programme, these activities continue to support entrepreneurial and business management trainings conducted by Samoa Business Enterprise Centre (S.B.E.C.) for women and families. 

“The workshops have provided women the basic financial literacy skills and knowledge and access to start up grants to establish micro businesses.

“This week the Ministry in partnership with UN Women organized an International Consultant from Fiji Katherine Cusack to facilitate the “Essential Services Workshop: Understanding Gender Based Violence, Survivor Centered approach and Multi-Sectoral Responses”. 

“This 4-day workshop targeted at leaders of our communities covered gender based violence issues, causes and the main needs in terms of safety, health, legal protection and urgent needs.

“Within the Pacific Region our Samoan women continue to lead the way. In 2017 the Secretariat of the Pacific celebrated its 70 years anniversary and highlighted 70 Inspiring Pacific Women. Samoa was represented by 6 women who were profiled and celebrated on the SPC webpage and in their publication ( ). 

“The Government of Samoa, though the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development joins the other Pacific countries and countries around the world to celebrate our women today— International Women’s day. We are committed to advancing women’s’ progress in equality, economic development, and leadership & representation so women all across Samoa are empowered to progress our nation and improved quality of life for all. 

“To our women in our homes, in our village and district committees, our women matai leaders, our women business leaders, our women in service and technical sectors: we acknowledge your strength and resilience, we respect your vital role in our community and nation, we honor your contribution to our culture and country, and we celebrate your role in developing the future of our Nation.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

Developed by Samoa Observer in Apia