“Hands are for helping not hurting,” future leaders told

The 7th annual Girls Leading Our World (G.L.O.W.) conference wrapped up yesterday. 

Ninety one girls ages 10-15 and village women leaders ages 23-55 left the conference with great learning experiences and exposure to new ways in building their capacities as young and emerging leaders.

During the UN Women’s session, UN Women Country Programme Coordinator for Samoa, Papali’i Mele Maualaivao, promoted one main message to the G.L.O.W. participants

“Hands are for helping not for hurting, speak from your heart, and give Alofa. Say no to Violence!”

Each participant was given a hand-out titled “16 Ways to End Violence Against Women and Girls” which consists of the 16 ways a person can help end violence The girls were then divided into 6 groups, facilitated by teachers and Peace Corps volunteers to discuss and perform through skits, songs and dance one of the 16 ways.

The session gave the girls a chance to talk, sing, dance, and act. Providing them with ways they could use, personally and collectively, to address ending violence and discrimination against women and girls. 

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“We were very much inspired by this session, as it confirms the urgency of coming together as a community and as leaders to take action on ending violence against women and girls. We wish for more conferences like this to continue and to include this session as part of its activities,” explained Lotovale Unasa.

The G.L.O.W. conference featured presentations from female leaders and role models, inspiring the participants by teaching them life and leadership skills, helping to build self-esteem, and encouraging intellectual development. 

G.L.O.W. also promotes women’s health and provides networking opportunities for all the participants which will last long beyond the span of the conference.

“As part of their development as emerging leaders, these girls would need to be physically, emotionally and mentally prepared themselves to address issues pertaining violence within their homes, schools and their surrounding environment, hence the emphasis on the importance of today’s session on Gender Based Violence,” Pulotu Taavale from Saleilua Primary.

Papali’i said that while talking about family violence with young women is a delicate subject, it is not one to be avoided. 

“Knowing that family violence exists is not the challenge, understanding that their community should be supporting women and that everyone is responsible for ending it is.

“Getting to the heart of the cause and making sure that women and girls know that they do not deserve this type of treatment nor should it be accepted in our communities is our goal. Using skits is one way for the girls to live what they have learned and also enjoy the session.”

The Conference is an initiative of Peace Corps Volunteers, and is funded by various private sector partners as well as U.N. Women, U.N.D.P., Government of Samoa, and the government of Australia

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