Fa'afafine Association hosts a safe space for market day

The Samoa Fa'afafine Association (S.F.A.) hosted a market day at three different locations across Upolu and advocating for rural members and communities to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (S.T.I.). 

The event was held at the villages of Faleapuna, Tanugamanono, and Leauvaa on Saturday. 

The theme for the safe space market day is “strengthening rural community access to HIV/AIDS prevention.” 

This is an initiative to decentralise the HIV/AIDS prevention and advocacy efforts by S.F.A. as well its HIV/STI/ sexually transmitted diseases testing campaign administered by the Ministry of Health’s health professionals.

The goal is for more accessible locations for rural members and communities to not only get tested but have access to relevant information, protection tools and health care that is generally only found in the Apia town area. And taking these services and advocacy to the community level will reach members where they are at and in the comfort of their own environment and communities.

The programme also hopes to build visibility around the need to normalize knowing your HIV status and to getting tested.

The Samoa Observer visited the market display at Tanugamanono where creative works of My Girls Club, Fogafa o le Vaimauga and The Rogers showcased the latest elei designs and garments , hand bags, flowers, pot plants.

According to the Vice President of S.F.A., Fagalima Tuatagaloa, "we are promoting a safe space market day – this is our safe space where we can all come together and we utilise this opportunity to market our products and services or the talents through skills and knowledge that we have."

"As you can see, we are displaying elei lavalava, food, plants, we did not have enough time to put this together but we are happy with the outcome not necessarily to sell to get money but to get us together to see each other’s potentials so we can look for opportunities to boost the capacity of our members.

"It is also a platform to meet new members and learn their interests. We also have our regular testing on S.T.I. and HIV, everything we do there has to be a health activity that is integrated into it.

“We are not just here to gather but we also cater for the health of our community so that if they have concerns we will help in any way we can so that they will not be left behind.”

The S.F.A. Vice President added that they have qualified nurses from the Fa'afafine community that conduct the tests.

“We acknowledge our donors for allowing us the opportunity to carry out our projects; also we thank our project coordinator and our S.F.A. executive and our club members.”

S.F.A. also acknowledged the dedication of the Ministry of Health team who administered all S.F.A. testing campaigns, the commitment and flair of the S.F.A. Sister clubs who made each market magical and the support of the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.) Global Fund.

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