Psychosocial support training underway

Three days of training to help civil society organisations provide psychosocial support and psychological first aid began on Wednesday.

A total of close to 50 participants from the various organisations undertook the training at the Hotel Millenia.

The training is an initiative by the Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organizations (S.U.N.G.O.) and is part of the Spotlight Initiative.

(Spotlight is a global project to end violence against women and girls with $10.6 million allocated to Samoa).

With the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 in particular on women and girls, the skill set through the training is highly valuable during these unprecedented times. 

S.U.N.G.O. Vice President, Peseta Arasi Tiotio, said that civil society needed such capacity building training programmes to address the root of violence.

“There was a great need of understanding how to respond or help those affected by violence in Samoa,” she said.

Peseta told the media that Samoa does not have many qualified counselors.

“S.U.N.G.O. and Spotlight have decided that because there are not many people that offer this service yet we need it especially now we are in lockdown with impacts of employment and along with it cases or incidents of violence," she said. 

“We believe that we want to be part of this assistance for those who are in need while this is at the primary level and a non-medical approach.

“We all want a society free of violence but I believe that whatever we want to do it all starts from home your own family with God as your foundation.”

The United Nations Development Programme's (U.N.D.P.) resident representative, Jorn Sorensen, said that the Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations.

“The training of trainers is an example of a transformational approach building functional capacity for service providers,” he said.

He told the participants that he observed a lot of eagerness to learn and to put lessons into practice.

Mr. Sorensen also acknowledged the commitment of S.U.N.G.O. to address issues such as violence against women and girls and gender inequality. 

S.U.N.G.O. Chief Executive Officer, Fuimaono Vaitolo Ofoia said that the training is their organisation's response to a list of priority capacity development needs, recently identified in a survey of civil society organisations undertaken by the Samoa Spotlight Initiative last year. 

“It is the goal of the umbrella body to facilitate capacity development opportunities for its members and [civil society organisations] so they are afforded the relevant skills, knowledge and tools to effectively carry out their work in their respective communities and target population.”

The training programme is funded under the Spotlight Initiative through the U.N. D.P. The U.N. spotlight team comprises of U.N.D.P., the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Funds (U.N.I.C.E.F.), U.N. Women and the Spotlight Initiative Civil Society Organisation-National Reference Group.

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