Training targets violence against women

Women from seven villages on Upolu are currently undergoing training as part of the European Union–United Nations Spotlight Initiative to address violence against women and children in Samoa.

The week-long training, which was launched on Monday at the Hotel Millenia and will be facilitated by the Samoa National Council of Women [S.N.C.W.] and the United Nations Development Programme [U.N.D.P.], is the training of trainers from the selected villages.

Led by the S.N.C.W., the initiative is a call for collective action and community leadership to prevent and mitigate violence and abuse targeting women and girls. 

Deputy Prime Minister and S.N.C.W. President, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, delivered the keynote address at the opening of the training on Monday. Among the guests were the U.N.D.P. Resident Representative, Jorn Sorensen, and the expert gender specialist and trainer, Palanitina Toelupe.

Speaking on behalf of S.N.C.W., Secretary General Fuatino Pam Sua, thanked the U.N.D.P. for providing the funding for the training. 

"This is a training workshop on transformation, leadership and building capacities in helping the movement to end violence," she said. "We’re creating a way for women to be able to open up about making decisions and speaking up about domestic violence."

She said that they will be discussing different topics each day prior to the participants returning to their villages to share their knowledge with the S.N.C.W. monitoring their effectiveness in their villages. 

"We recently had another program called ‘village conversation’ and we went out to 40 villages for this program," she added. "Through these training, we’re encouraging women to be good listeners and leaders."

A representative from Sa'aga Savai'i, Leata Tupuola Taumaloto, said the training is good as it will enable them to prevent violence targeting women and children. 

"I think it's also important because it addresses how we should present ourselves and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned here to other women in our village," she said.

Ms. Taumaloto said violence towards women and children is becoming an issue and she finds it depressing hearing and seeing it on news and within families.

Another participant, Otila Tupa'i from Lotofaga also spoke of the importance of the program so they can share testimonies. 

"It’s a good way for us women to connect and exchange life experiences," she added. "And we were able to address our confidence to speak out and stand up for what we know is right and I think that’s what most women need to know is to not be afraid to speak up."

The weeklong training will move to Savai’i next week according to the organisers.

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