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Young Samoans chosen for India conference

Two representatives from the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) will attend the second phase of the Men Engage Global Alliance in New Delhi, India, next week.

Franziska Sione, of Magiagi and Mane Su’a from Papase’ea, both 24, say this is a great opportunity to improve the work of the Group.

Mr. Sione, who is also vice president for S.V.S.G. Juniors, said the conference is about getting more men to help end violence against women.

“This trip to New Delhi is phase two for us but phase three for other participants, as Samoa only joined for the first time in the second phase that was held here, so it’s actually phase three but it’s phase two for us,” he said.

“The whole idea behind our one week trip is to acquire more knowledge and ways to try and change the norms in Samoa in regards to helping men in particular.”

He said they are aiming to look into ways to change their mentality by educating men with the adverse impacts of violence against women and coming to understand gender equality and to empower them to make the right choices.

“If we can change the mentality that they have to dominate everything, like their families especially their wives, which is the main reason why women’s rights are not recognized, then we may be able to decrease violence,” said Mr. Sione

According to Mr. Su’a, the expectation is to return with solutions to overcome the problem of not only violence against women but men included.

“Majority is pointing fingers at men but in reality, about 35%, there are men who are abused by their wives, physically, emotionally and verbally,” he said.

The two young men are excited to explore possible solutions to counter violence in Samoa as well as to contribute to the outcome document of the meeting.

“Because not everything that will be discussed is applicable; we have different perspectives culturally and realistically from other participants of the meeting,” he added.

“They gave us a task on what we may present on when we get there, about the programs and projects SVSG are participating in, here in Samoa and we cannot wait to hear feedbacks on what and how we may be able to improve,” he said.

Mr. Su’a said this isn’t the last phase of Men Engage Global Alliance they will be attending.

Following the training and meeting in New Dehli, India; the pair will be set to fly off to a Study Tour in Amsterdam Netherlands in May.


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