Protection of land priority: candidate 'Lolo'

The protection of Fasitoo-Uta lands would be a priority for candidate Lolomatauama Eseta Mataituli as she eyes the Aana Alofi II seat in the 2021 General Election.

The retired educator – who is popularly known as ‘Lolo’ by family, friends and colleagues – is the only women candidate running for the constituency currently held by the incumbent M.P. and  Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi.

It will be her second attempt to run for public office after the 2016 General Election and will contest under the banner of the Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi [F.A.S.T.] party.

She has listed land security for Fasitoo-Uta villagers as a top priority together with gender empowerment and women representation.

“This is the second time I am running. I am running, number one, to protect the land in my district. Land is a very personal matter. The lands in Fasitoo-Uta belong to my village. That is the number one reason I am running,” she said.

“The second reason I am running is because I want women to be treated equally in the village. The third reason I am running is to promote respect for women in every group in our communities. That is why I want to run. Women need to be heard.”

Lolo specializes in teaching children with disabilities and holds education close to her heart.

She has worked in the private sector as well as the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture [M.E.S.C.] in a career spanning many years. 

“My first choice in education has always been working with children who have disabilities. I retired and then I worked in the government schools. I want to push parents to take their children to school. Education is the key to everything,” she added. 

“I taught until 2016 when I retired and ran for Parliament. After I ran, I came and worked from home and I started a few preschools. At the start of the year [2020], I thought about running again so that is why I have come and I have enjoyed this seminar.”

The former teacher was among a group of women candidates who completed a training under  the Women in Leadership Samoa [W.I.L.S.] Project, which is a three-year initiative jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme [U.N.D.P.] and United Nations Women [U.N. Women]. The training program is funded by the Australian government in partnership with the Government of Samoa.

On Monday each of the seven women candidates was presented with a certificate of completion for the training which took the participants through public speaking, campaign strategy and other fundamentals skills needed when running for public office.

The 68-year-old mother of nine is a grandmother to 15 children and great-grandmother to another seven.

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