Village leaders engaged to lead violence research

By Alexander Rheeney 04 November 2022, 12:00PM

Thirty village leaders and Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) representatives from 10 villages are currently undergoing training as local researchers as part of a gender violence survey.

The 30 village leaders and SVSG representatives were initially recruited in 2020, according to a media release issued by the SVSG on Thursday night, and they will be engaged as local researchers in a study titled “E le Saua le Alofa".

Undergoing training this week, it focus on the implementation of the Samoa Village Health Survey and is facilitated by the lead researcher, Dr. Jenevieve Mannell and is assisted by S.V.S.G. staff. The survey is the next stage of a four-year research study project that looks at the role of Samoa villages in preventing violence against women and girls.  

The study is led by a team of researchers from the University College of London in the United Kingdom in partnership with the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) and is implemented by the S.V.S.G.

The S.V.S.G. media release stated that the aim of this week’s training targeting the selected village leaders is: (1) learn about the purpose of the survey, how participants will be recruited and the important ethical considerations; (2) Test the survey (including testing the technology); and (3) To establish a plan for where to conduct the survey and how to gain local permissions.

At the end of the two-day training, the village leaders had learnt that the objective of the survey is to help S.V.S.G. and its research partners understand the success rate of the interventions that will be carried out in the 10 selected villages over the next year. 

"The goal of these activities is to reduce violence against women. Therefore, in order to understand whether these activities have been effective in reducing violence, we need to understand women’s and men’s experiences, before and after the activities take place, so we can see if these have changed."

The village leaders were also trained on how to test the survey themselves using either tablets or mobile phones. This part of learning was both exciting as the leaders showed that you are never too old to learn, especially navigating the technological tools such as tablets and iPhones.

With the survey administration being the responsibility of the enumerators referred to by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics, the trained village leaders’ role is specifically to coordinate the participants to the survey, where to conduct the survey and how to gain local permissions.

The S.V.S.G. President, Siliniu Lina Chang, said as a not for profit organisation they can see that the study is community-driven which highlights an overview of community conversation.

“As the Project rounds up its third year of implementation, the S.V.S.G. can see a community driven study with its theory of change, clearly highlighting a great overview of the community conversation on solutions to violence against women that are uniquely Samoan," Siliniu said. 

“A big congratulations to all of the 30 S.V.S.G. local researchers for being diligent in your role to date, we are so proud of you. Welcome to the S.V.S.G. family Dr. Jenevieve, it’s good to have you and you are family here with us, to see this project through.”

By Alexander Rheeney 04 November 2022, 12:00PM
Samoa Observer

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