Australia supports Samoan women farmers

By Adel Fruean 24 April 2020, 6:00AM

Australia has offered financial assistance to support Nofotane women farmers and children at the Campus of Hope under the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.).

A grant of $19,800 was given to the S.V.S.G. through the Direct Aid Programme (D.A.P.) funded by the Australian government.

The Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty, said the Australian government is proud to work with local communities on projects such as ‘Sustaining the Economic Empowerment of Nofotane women farmers’, to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development in Samoa.

“We’re particularly pleased when our support through D.A.P. complements our broader gender equality programs, a priority of the Australian aid program and our international engagement,” she added.

She also stated that the direct recipients of this support are women but the economic benefits will be felt and seen in their immediate and extended families and communities.

“This is the intention of the D.A.P.: supporting community based initiatives that will have impactful and sustainable benefits for all.

“Supporting initiatives that build the resilience of communities, such as increasing the local supply of fresh, healthy produce, is particularly important in the face of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. 

“The Australian aid program is being adapted to provide support to prepare for, and respond to, COVID-19 in partnership with our Pacific family.”

The Australian High Commission also added that they look forward to building on a long history of support for our region in good times and in bad, which is the heart of Australia’s Step-up in the Pacific.

President of S.V.S.G., Siliniu Lina Chang thanked Ms. Moriarty for granting them the opportunity to further support their nofotane women farmers through the D.A.P.

A statement issued by S.V.S.G. highlighted that 11 households relying on subsistence agriculture for a living, plus the children residents at the Campus of Hope, are the beneficiaries of the grant received from Australia.

“The grant is to assist with sustaining the income generation activities of nofotane women farmers under S.V.S.G.’s economic empowerment program.

“This is through purchasing garden tools; seedlings and a 1 x 1,000 litres water tanks per household; eight in Upolu, three in Savaii and one for children of hope.

“Since the successful completion of the S.V.S.G.’s economic empowerment project in 2018 with the United Nation’s Women, the Group continues to source out funding opportunities to support the sustainability of self-employed nofotane women, borne out of this program.”

Most of the funding to date benefited the commercial cooking earners, the handicraft making and the weavers.

With the D.A.P. grant, S.V.S.G. can now support its nofotane women farmers.

The women farmers have braved the sun with minimum resources to cultivate their land and harvest enough crops to provide for their family needs, with a little surplus to sell in the local market to earn an income.

“Most of these nofotane women farmers are from the rural villages; some live further inland from the main road, hence have limited access to water.

“Part of this project is for S.V.S.G. to link the nofotane farmers with markets for their products, and we have established co-partnerships with hotels in Upolu and Savaii to this effect.

“With preparation for the COVID-19 being the norm in our daily lives today, the grant from the Australian High Commission could not have come at a better time.”

The Direct Aid Program is a competitive grants program designed to support local community groups and organisations, and to complement the Australian Aid Program in Samoa. 

D.A.P. is a unique part of Australia’s development assistance to Samoa. It has a direct and targeted impact on people’s lives by funding projects that are designed by the very communities they are seeking to benefit. 

For many years, Australia has funded small-scale community activities through D.A.P. to help community groups, churches and non-government organisations provide essential services for their communities at the grass-roots level.

The funding received by S.V.S.G. will support women in the U.N. Women funded ‘Nofotane project’ (2016-2018) in both Upolu and Savai’i, to scale up existing agricultural initiatives and to supply local hoteliers with fresh organic produce stated a Australian High Commission statement.

All D.A.P. recipients are required to adhere to social safeguards, including a child protection code of conduct, while implementing D.A.P.-funded activities.

By Adel Fruean 24 April 2020, 6:00AM
Samoa Observer

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