As part of the Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa (I.P.P.W.S) programme, UNDP and UN Women are organising a Retreat for Women Members of Parliament.
The retreat aims at creating an opportunity for new members of Parliament to establish networks with other women MPs - particularly its close neighbours, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia - thus encouraging south-south cooperation.
The two-days retreat, follows the regional meeting of the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships (PWPP) held in Apia throughout this week, to enable Women MPs from the region to participate in the Samoa Retreat.
Fourty-five women are expected to attend a brunch at Le Manumea Hotel this morning at 10. Senator Anne McEwen, from the Australian Federal Parliament, will be delivering the keynote address at the official opening.
Starting from 2:30pm, eleven women will be engaged with thematic sessions which will be held at Sheraton Aggie Grey’s Resort at Mulifanua. Participants include five women MPs from Samoa, three MPs from New Zealand, two from Australia and one from Fiji. Discussions will be mainly focused on the constraints and challenges for Women Members of Parliament and try to address, for example, the political and cultural hierarchies that affect the work of MPs on a daily basis.
Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga, IPPWS Coordinator, highlighted: “Providing post-election mentorship support to all Women MPs is one of the components of the IPPWS.
Given the complexity of a Parliament, first time MPs are keen to get advice from those who have previous experience with particular issues. The retreat should also help them set the basis for fruitful and intensive collaboration between Women MPs in the region.”
On Saturday morning, there will be a general discussion to which all participants will contribute. The dialogue will be chaired by Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Samoa Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of MNRE.
Retreat is expected to end after lunch, around 12noon.
The Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa (IPPWS), is a joint programme between UN Women and UNDP, in partnership with the Government of Samoa and the Australian Government.