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The opening of the “Transformational Leadership Development Programme” was held yesterday at the St. Theresa Retreat Centre, Le’auva’a, aimed at building on historic progress to solve problems still facing women.

More than 60 participants attended the opening including ministry heads and parliamentarians, private sector, youth, and civil society.

Minister of Women, Community and Social Development, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua delivered the keynote address.

“This will be an important tool to enable a transformed leadership that is based on the core values of human rights and gender equality in Samoa,” he said.

“Women make up 48 per cent of the total population and their status today is reflected in the many developments that have taken place.”

Tolofua said that “nevertheless we are very much aware of the many obstacles that compromise development for women and these are the issues that must not be swept under the mat nor remain unaddressed.”

He said that the programme is to effect change in policies and programmes, in particular people’s attitude towards gender equality in all aspects of health, social and economic development, leadership, decision making and ending all forms of violence.

The United Nation Development Programme's Nileema Noble declared that Samoa has an incredibly solid social foundation to work from.

“We have a beautiful country, which is strong in spiritual values and traditions that provide enormous benefits to us all,” she said.

“It also has made admirable progress in the social and political arenas.”

UN Women Country Programme Coordinator, Mele Maualaivao also spoke on gender equality issues in Samoa.

“It’s very important that community work together to make sure these
accomplishments occur,” she said.

“We are actually working really hard to prove to ourselves that we love everybody in our family, this is about alofa and commitment.”

Facilitator Allan Henderson said the programme is about leadership development and organisational effectiveness.

“The reason we invited you to be part of this programme is because you are already leading organisations and society.”

The four day programme ends on Thursday.

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