New Maota Fono: A project by Samoans for Samoans
The end is nigh for the completion of the Maota Fono at Mulinu’u. And with the Government and Australia working to redevelope the Maota Fono at Malae o Tiafau, Mulinu’u, today we reflect on various means by which the community has been engaged in the project, for the benefit of all Samoans. Here is a look at some of that:
Community engagement commenced with the building design.
There was a public design consultation taking in the cultural aspect of the building and beautiful surroundings.
An opportunity was presented locally for a number of Samoan artisans to contribute selected cultural items that will be key features in the Maota Fono.
The new Fono includes a large public gallery for observing Parliamentary sessions.
Visitors will be supported through the provision of hearing support and translation assistance during proceedings. In addition, media broadcasting capabilities will ensure outreach of the Parliamentary sessions to the whole country via television media and live radio coverage.
During the building design process, the National Advocacy Organisation of People with Disabilities - Nuanua O Le Alofa (N.O.L.A.) was consulted to review and provide input to ensure everyone can access the Maoto Fono without difficulties.
The intention is to re-engage with N.O.L.A. upon completion of the Maota Fono and ensure that there is ease of access across the entire Parliamentary complex at Mulinu’u.
The Australia – Pacific Training Coalition (A.P.T.C.) in Apia has benefitted from, and supported, construction of the Maoto Fono.
Students from the College have undertaken a number of site visits to view the construction process and utilised this experience to support their studies. Some students have gone further and secured employment with the project’s main contractor – Craig Construction Limited.
A.P.T.C. has also supported the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly (O.C.L.A.) through sourcing an Australian training provider to deliver Facilities Management training for the maintenance staff of O.C.L.A.
The training was delivered at the A.P.T.C. campus in Apia earlier this year in February 2018.
Economically, the project is providing important benefits to the country. The project is built by Samoans for Samoans, and much of the funding for construction of the project is directly injected into the Samoan economy through local suppliers, sub-contractors and consultants.
In turn, this enhances Samoa’s overall economic activity and provides employment opportunities for the local community, both directly and indirectly.
There has been significant documentation of the construction. OCLA have released a series of media updates and features to keep the community informed of the status of the project, and also some of the key aspects included in the building design (e.g. environmental considerations) and construction process (e.g. work health and safety performance).
The new Maoto Fono promises to set a new benchmark for buildings in Samoa. We hope it is a facility the whole country can be proud of.