Grassroots input critical

Any kind of project must involve the grassroots people. 

Victor Vaauli, the Executive Membership Service Co-ordinator for Samoa National Youth Council (S.N.Y.C.), highlighted this during the launch of the Women in Leadership in Samoa (W.I.L.S.) at the Taumeasina Island Resort on Wednesday. 

He was specifically referring to the lack of young women both from the formal and informal sector involved in the project. 

Mr. Vaauli mentioned such a launch must involve more young women rather than women in decision making positions.  

“They (young women) are the ones who are doing the work in the community and on the ground because people in this room are basically all decision making people. 

“These are people who are designing the project, but we also need to hear the other side of the story from people who are going to do the project and people who are going to be affected by the project.”

Mr. Vaauli reiterated the lack of balanced representation between the old and young women.  

“The one thing that is missing from the launch is that there is not enough representation of, not only the young women leaders from the formal sector, but young women leaders from the informal sector. 

“Most of the women who are here are from the formal sector like Ministers, A.C.E.O., C.E.O., private business owners. 

“They could have invited young women champions running their own small businesses in their own community or doing projects.”

In terms of the W.I.L.S., Mr. Vaauli hopes the project will meet the needs and requirements of the S.N.Y.C. 

“We have to look into the project document and see the plan and then it’s our role to consult our members about how they feel about it because at the end of the day, it’s basically about what the community needs and wants. It’s not what we assume about what is happening in the community. 

“Secondly, it’s just the representative of women into leadership role that is the one thing we want to build out of any project which deals with the building of capacity and knowledge of young women in the community. 

“This is because there is a high rate of school drop outs for both genders. That’s the target that we are looking into in regards to this project.”

Mr. Vaauli explained: “S.N.Y.C. has its female memberships from the community because it is a national platform that advocates and builds awareness in looking at issues that affect young people in the communities. 

“So our aim with this project is to find the linkages and how the project can support young teenage women from the community. The age that we are looking at in this project for young women is 18-35 because that’s the national age in Samoa. That’s our main target.”

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