United Nations fund rollout of educational programmes

Savai’i was next to see district led activities in health education this weekend, as part of a nationwide intervention program funded by the United Nations.

Following district development planning last year, Samoa’s 13 districts have begun running a variety of programs addressing issues of concern. 

This week six organisations spread out across Vaa o Fonoti to run educational programs on health, sexual reproduction, gender based violence and non-communicable diseases, the third of the districts to run programs.

Seminars were held in different areas of the district, focusing on cancer, sexually transmitted infections, and gender based violence to name a few.

Chief Executive Officer Afamasaga Faauiga Palepua Mulitalo of the the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, which is coordinating the district programs, said everyone should be involved in the improvement of their villages.

“District committees responding to their own priorities are the key to improving the lives of families who most need it,” she said. 

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The nationwide program is running on a $70,000 U.S.D. grant (approx. $182,429 tala) from the United National Population Fund (U.N.F.P.A.), of which $5,000 tala is allocated to each district to help with operational costs.

The grant is also going towards multimedia coverage of the programs, which will result in a documentary which can be used for future awareness campaigns by the ministry, and the operational costs of the program partners.

The Samoa Family Health Association, Samoa Cancer Society, The National Kidney Foundation, Samoa Red Cross, Ministry of Police and M.W.S.C.D. are the program partners.

Ministry of Women senior programme and training officer Heker Matai said based on the district planning, the ministry partnered with organisations that could deliver programs addressing key issues picked out by the districts.

“Each district told us what programs they wanted, and Savaii requested health screenings from N.H.S., the Samoa Family Health Association, and the Red Cross,” he said.

An important component of the program is the peer educators – youth who go into the community to run programs for other youth.

“Peer educators are youth who implement community outreach programs through youth-to-youth talks on sensitive issues revolving around sexual reproductive health, non-communicable diseases and gender based violence.”

“Some issues, especially issues relating to sexual reproductive health such as teenage pregnancies and family planning which are taboo to talk about, especially in public, so some youth feel more comfortable talking to other youth,” said Mr Matai.

Each district is also participating in a jingle competition to compose a song the ministry can use in future awareness campaigns. Two districts stand to win $2000 tala each for their jingles in prize-giving events in November and December.

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