Samoa Red Cross and U.N. agencies partner against violence

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By Soli Wilson, 13 December 2018

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Samoa Red Cross Association (SRCA) and the Ministry of Health have agreed to partner to address gender-based violence in Samoa. 

They are conducting Gender Based Violence Programming in Emergencies (GBViE) training workshops for three-days at the SRCA meeting room, starting yesterday with keynote remarks from the Minister for Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the Red Cross secretary general, Namulauulu Tautala Mauala, said there were cases of gender based violence in shelters, which were arranged for people to be evacuated to during natural disasters—where women, young girls and children were affected.

“This gender-based programing in emergencies is part of the Red Cross’s preparedness programs in disasters, and emergencies raising awareness, together with health programs and stakeholders—because not only is this for awareness, but to also strengthen our network,” he said.

“What we’ll be doing for these three days is working with tools that are available, to further promote this issue, and other problems arising from gender-based violence and all with the notion that we are in the natural disaster period, we all need to be prepared.”

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Sudanese program facilitor from UNFPA, Rania Abuelhassan, said it was an opportunity that Red Cross is running the program with UNFPA to create more awareness and highlight taking care of GBV survivors in times of crisis.  

“The design of this training is to help all of the stakeholders, who are involved in responding to women and girls needs during crisis, and how to identify GBV cases—because then we’ll know whether or not there’s an increase of GVB, at the occurrence of any disasters.”

“So that’s why we want them to be equipped in a way that they can handle those cases, and refer them properly without further harming them. We’re hopeful that we are helpful next time,” she said.

Participant, Eliza Gaya Setu, 20, said it was her first time to attend a GBV program and it was an eye opener for her.

“I’ve learned the causes of the abuse and violence of women and other genders in communities, their consequences and I’ve come to learn how to protect myself and decrease any chances of being affected from any type of violence,” she said.

According to SRCA youth leader, Astrid Koon Wai You, who is co-facilitating with Rania, the SRCA-implemented program is made possible by UNFPA funding and they looked forward to running another similar program in the communities.

Participants came from within the SRCA National Society and other sectors including Adventists Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Nuanua O Le Alofa, Samoa Faafafine Association, Samoa Victim Support Group, Caritas Samoa, Ministry of Women and Social Developments, Samoa National Youth Council, Ministry Of Police, Ministry of Health, Loto Taumafai and People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA).

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By Soli Wilson, 13 December 2018

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