Ministry leads consultation on five-year plan
Evaluation and consultation on the community sector plan for the next five years (2021-2025) by the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development was held over three days this week.
Starting on Wednesday and concluding on Friday, all working partners of the M.W.C.S.D. gathered at the at TATTE Building and included representatives from state agencies, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and village councils.
The groups have been perusing the plan and discussing the advantages as well as the challenges that faced the Ministry during its implementation of the 2016-2021 plan while identifying ways to improve on the next one.
The 2016-2021 plan envisioned improved and empowered communities which would lead to inclusive development and quality of life for all.
The plan signaled a clear change in approach to community development with an emphasis on supporting leadership structures in villages and communities; take the lead on inclusive and full growth while coordinating with government, businesses, non-government organisations and other partners.
In an interview with the M.W.C.S.D. Chief Executive Officer, Afamasaga Faauiga Palepua Mulitalo said the consultation with partners was an opportunity to garner feedback and opinions that can be used to improve the 2021-2025 sector plan.
“The main purpose of these three days of consultation is the evaluation on the 2016-2021 community sector plan, which will be completed next month, June 2021,” said Afamasaga.
“All our working partners - government and non-government organizations - have the opportunity to assess and talk about some achievements, give feedback and discuss issues from the 2016-2021 sector plan which the Ministry needs to work on to improve the service.
“The conclusion and the results of the evaluation and the discussions will start building up the sector plan for the next five years, which starts July 2021 to June 2025.
“So it's an opportunity for our working partners to express their thoughts and share their opinions about some developments and programmes that they know the M.W.C.S.D. should put first and be more aware of for the next five years.”
The Ministry Chief said the consultations were meant to be held in 2019 but was postponed due to the measles outbreak and then further delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She added that the Ministry continued their internal evaluations and collection of information by using the internet to gather their partners’ interpretations and views.
“The big challenge was the numeral record keeping, and we are working to improve that challenge in the future.”
Afamasaga noted that the Ministry needs to look at putting in place more educational programmes to train, teach and improve the knowledge of women, girls and people with disabilities in order to protect and prevent them from being exposed to violence.
She acknowledged the service of their working partners providing support against violence in villages across the country and pointed out that awareness programmes have improved the prevention of unexpected pregnancies in young girls.
Another positive gleaned from the consultation was improvement in how women in positions of authority are viewed.
“From what we have learnt so far from this evaluation, there has been an increase in the numbers of women leaders in different organisations," she said.
“We learnt that women are respected, their voices are now heard in government and N.G.Os and the private sector."
Working together was the most important objective, added Afamasaga as the Ministry would not be able to complete their work without the support of their partners and the rest of the country.