Maria Reti Simanu from the village of Savaia, Lefaga believes that women play a vitally important role in any community.
Speaking to the Village Voice, she said the women’s committee is one of the strongest institutions in the villages.
And with all the changes we have nowadays, Maria believes that we should uphold and maintain the roles of women within our villages.
“We have so many changes nowadays.”
“But that will never change the fact that women’s committees are very important in any village.
“The biggest change we have nowadays is the influence from overseas.
“This is changing some aspects of our culture and way of life.”
Looking back, Maria said everything was easy back then.
“We learned how to do things by observing our elders. But today, our people and women are educated. Now I don’t think that’s a bad a thing; it is a good thing actually, but then some people are abusing the knowledge and wisdom they have now to try and change things. “I don’t know about other villages, but back in the days, we all listened to our elders. They made decisions for us and our role was to advise them and support them.
“This is one of the important institutions in any village in Samoa. We have the village councils consisting of the matais and high chiefs, then there’s the women’s committee and then the youth.
“So we mostly depend on the matai’s for decision making, but they depend on us to help them and support them in delivering any project or any programme they want to do.
“We advise them and straighten out any differences we have in the village. So our role is very important.”
Asked about the difference of life in the village and town for her, Maria said our culture is strong in the villages.
“That’s the big difference for me. “We can tell the difference if you go to Apia. Most of the villages there don’t have village council so you can do whatever you want.
“Most of the people staying in Apia are not originally from there so they can do anything. But back here in the village, the matais and women’s committees look after the village and guide the behaviour of the youths.”