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Women-focused workshop underway

A series of workshops to economically empower women to enable them to become self-employed is currently underway. 

Close to a hundred women, village leaders, and children gathered at the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa [CCCS] Hall at Satitoa last week for the training.

The Self Esteem Workshops for the nofotane [married women living in their husband’s family] women are facilitated by the Samoa Victim Support Group [SVSG] and feature management skills, improved accessibility to markets, fostering creativity and innovation through financial literacy.

The workshops have been well received by self-employed nofotane women of Tiavea, Samusu, Satitoa, Ulutogia and Lalomanu. 

The enthusiastic entrepreneurs even brought their children to the workshop with some accompanied by their husbands.

The workshops facilitators said it was obvious that being a breadwinner in their family can work wonders in terms of improving the self-esteem of the nofotane women. 

Smiling with tears, the participants shared their stories of change with one participant Sipuao Falelua of Samusu indicating that she first attended the Nofotane Programme in 2017.

It was where she was empowered to embrace a business mindset, not only to farm for subsistence living, but also as an income generating activity.  

Mrs. Falelua told of how she used to carry 50 packets of cucumber while walking from one village to the next to sell them. The journey included walking through the rain and sun for two years as a street vendor, until late 2019 when she had saved enough in her bank account with the Samoa Commercial Bank, in order to open a small shop in front of her house.

The 39-year-old continues to work the land, but she now has a secure market through her small shop and sells a variety of goods including produce from her garden.  

Another guest speaker at one of the workshops, Togatanu Talapa from Satitoa highlighted the programme’s significance in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

“From my perspective, the workshop is essential for those who are trying to provide for their families,” he said and added the people didn’t have a negative mindset towards nofotane women.

“We should treat all our women equally but the programme has had a successful empowerment rate of women becoming self-employed. The programme offers a pathway for our women to earn a living and support their families.” 

The workshop is part of a two-year project titled: Sustainable Income Generation & Self Employment of Nofotane Women. 

It was in this vain that the S.V.S.G. President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledged the funding assistance for this project provided by the European Union, through the Civil Society Support Program.

Representatives from the Women In Business Incorporated [W.I.B.D.I.] and the Samoa Commercial Bank [S.C.B.] joined as S.V.S.G. partners in conducting the Self-Esteem Workshops for the self-employed nofotane women.

According to Siliniu, they noticed that the Project needs the support of a collective; the village leaders, the husbands, the children and the business community.

“While the project is to support the sustainable income generation of nofotane women, we are seeing how it is also leaving no one behind."

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