New York experience empowers young Samoan

By Aruna Lolani ,

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PRESIDENT OF Y.W.C.A. SAMOA: Maiava Visekota Peteru with lovely Fusi Masina Tietie (3rd from left front) and members of Y.W.C.A.

PRESIDENT OF Y.W.C.A. SAMOA: Maiava Visekota Peteru with lovely Fusi Masina Tietie (3rd from left front) and members of Y.W.C.A. (Photo: Se’ia Soloi)

A young Samoan female has returned from New York with a spring in her step, empowered to share her experience to make a difference in Samoa.

Fusi Masina Tietie, who is a Board member of the Young Women Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.) of Samoa, had won the Yvonne M.T. Herbert Scholarships which allowed her to travel to the Commission on the Status of Women (C.S.W), in New York in March.

C.S.W. is one of the largest annual gatherings for global leaders, Non-Governmental Organizations, United Nation partners to focus on the empowerment of women and girls.

The theme of this year’s meeting was “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.”

Speaking during a press conference at The Travellers Point, Malifa, Ms. Tietie said she would never forget the experience.

“I was able to represent the young women from our country that were not able to be there,” she said.

“One of the important aspects discussed was the importance of social media and how we, young women, can use social media to reach out to share information, not only with people who are involved within C.S.W. but people in our own countries."

“Not only was that but a Youth Forum also conducted and there were 2,000 young men and women have participated and a lot of issues were being discussed."

A Youth Forum Declaration was later adopted.

“The main focus of this Declaration will be a guide to all member states that will be negotiating the issues C.S.W." 

“We had the opportunity to sit down and have breakfast with the Australian Minister of Employment and Women.”

Ms. Tietie has not only learnt a lot from her experience, she also had the opportunity to talk about some issues the young women of Samoa are struggling with.

 “We shared personal stories on how Y.W.C.A. is affecting our lives. We shared about what our journey was like before joining the Y.W.C.A. and how the work we’re doing back home is affecting the lives of the young women."

“There was a film and photography Festival by U.N. Women in which 21 young women from around the world got to showcase their films, videos and photos based on the theme ‘Personal is Political’."

“It was such a great experience to just be there and listened to what all these member states were on about.”

Ms. Tietie is among 32 Y.W.C.A trained peer educators through its “RISE UP” training programme.  The programme focuses on leadership, sexual and reproductive health rights, economic empowerment and human rights.

During her presentation in New York, she highlighted some of the lessons they have learnt. Among them is the pay gap between men and women, the importance of Intergenerational Leadership and the importance of partnership among countries and young women as the driving force for change. 

Ms. Tietie is a Gender Studies Graduate employed by Samoa’s Ministry of Health, who is a keen photographer in her spare time. It was her photography skill that qualified her to apply for the scholarship, as a member of the Y.W.C.A. of Samoa.

Ms. Tietie hails from the villages of Falefa and Falelatai and Fusi Safata where her parents, Pastor Ta’ei and Ta’iti Tietie serve the Assembly of God Church.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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