Housing programme for most vulnerable launched
Samoa’s most vulnerable families will benefit from a multi-million tala programme to provide the nation’s most exposed families with new houses and community shelters, it was announced on Thursday.
The initiative is the result of a negotiated partnership programme.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency Samoa (A.D.R.A. Samoa) has joined forces with Habitat for Humanity New Zealand to deliver the project.
A ceremony was held at Taumeasina Island Resort on Thursday to officially launch the programme.
The President of the Samoa and Tokelau Adventist Mission, Pastor Sione Ausage, who is also the Chairman of the A.D.R.A. Samoa Board opened the ceremony with a prayer.
Attendees included: Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Cabinet Ministers, New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa, Dr. Trevor Matheson, A.D.R.A. Samoa representatives, Managing Director of the Bluebird Lumber and Hardware, Tuiaopo Andrew Ah Liki and General Manager and Board Member of Bluebird Lumber, Faina Ah Liki.
The negotiated partnership is based on the development of key activities: community training in safe shelter awareness and build back safer training; housing affordability and housing issues, with a focus on resilient housing.
Other activities include working with key stakeholders across the housing and shelter sector to improve coordination, to provide a housing pathway for vulnerable families to undergo vocational training, and financial literacy training.
The training also includes the construction of a community shelter solution in communities which have been identified as being most in need of shelter support.
The funding assistance for the project is estimated at over $4 million.
The programme is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (M.F.A.T.).
Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa said that the programme is a vital step towards addressing the challenges of people living in poverty.
“We have to be thankful that the good Lord has provided resources to enable us to carry out this good fight,” said Fiame.
She also said one of the messages from Pastor Ausage that inspired the programme’s continuation was the vitality of perseverance.
“I congratulate A.D.R.A. Samoa for having secured funding assistance for its development activities under the negotiated partnership mechanism in collaboration with Habitat New Zealand and in partnership with the Government of New Zealand,” Fiame said.
“I am pleased that the negotiated partnership arrangement has involved a Samoan NGO [non-government organisation] because this reflects recognition of efforts to strengthen our social institutions and communities.
“It also highlights the focus on building capacities towards sustainable infrastructure and enhancing resilience to impacts of climate change and natural disasters.”
Fiame said that the new Government through its recently passed budget has given priority to investment in people and communities and also supporting non-government partner organisations acting in the community development sector.
“We can only anticipate improved delivery services to our vulnerable communities in the area of common need of affordable and resilient housing.”
Country Director, A.D.R.A. Samoa Su'a Julia Wallwork said over the years, the faith-based organisation has helped hundreds of families in Samoa through housing projects.
“We are working with villages in terms of the requested project they are really in need of help with,” she said.
Su’a said that villages are welcome to submit proposals or requests.
“We await the applications from different communities and from there we go forward, there are pending [applications] from three or four communities which include Aopo and Salamumu for training – it is through this training that the village will decide what they want a shelter, a sea wall which provides the most relief for the community.
“For this funding overall, is NZD$9.1 million but for A.D.R.A. Samoa is NZD$3 million which translates to [more than] SAT $4 million.
“The whole programme is a participatory approach and the community has to make their decision on what they need and where their needs are whether the focus is for the community and that’s where they will work with us to build.”
She said it is their hope to continue to help people especially those who are vulnerable but most importantly the people of Samoa for a better, safer tomorrow.
This new funding programme involves a co-investment arrangement between M.F.A.T. and long-standing N.Z.N.G.O. partners.
They are multi-year, multi-country and multi-sector arrangements, which are agreed with generally larger New Zealand non-Government organisations with relevant expertise in development cooperation.
Compared to previous M.F.A.T. funding mechanisms, the negotiated partnership has a strong emphasis on developing local capacity and the capability of partner N.G.O.s and staff. The approach aims to grow and strengthen Pacific N.G.Os.
As funding is longer term (five years) than previous M.F.A.T. grants, N.G.O.s can also benefit from increased security and confidence that their work will continue.
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