Samoa

The Australian Government, through Pacific Women, has committed approximately $9.3m over 10 years (2012–2022) on initiatives to support women’s empowerment in Samoa.

There are two key documents providing information about the gender equality work in Samoa:

Figures

(cumulative to June 2019 unless otherwise stated)

Community awareness and outreach

  • 110 women received small grants in Upolu and Savaii resulting in 76 income generating businesses.
  • 618 women received financial literacy and business management training.
  • 5 women MPs were mentored and participated in a gender mainstreaming exchange with parliaments in Australia.

Support services and skills development

  • 550 men participated in a male advocacy forum on ending violence against women.
  • More than 1,000 people responded to the second Family Safety Study, launched in 2017.
  • 45 participants learned more about gender statistics and their use to better guide national policy and programs.

Achievements

Leadership and Decision Making

  • Support through an emergency grant mechanism during the Samoan measles epidemic allowed the Shifting the Power Coalition to help ensure sexually active women and pregnant women were included in the long-term response and that correct messages about vaccination reached families.
  • To promote women’s leadership the United Nations Development Programme’s Women in Leadership Samoa (WILS) project works with a range of stakeholders, from Parliamentarians through to communities, contributing to there being more women in nationally elected positions. A record 24 women stood in the 2016 national election. Four women were elected in open seats, with a fifth woman appointed under temporary special measures.
  • Two Samoan women participated in the Women’s Leadership Initiative that links Australian Awards scholarship alumni from Pacific Island countries with mentors, with a further two selected for 2020.

Economic Empowerment

  • Small grants to 116 women recipients have helped them to develop small businesses through the Samoa Women Shaping Development Program. In June 2019, 89 of these women reported their businesses were operating and they were receiving increased income to help cover household costs.

Ending Violence against Women

  • Samoan disabled persons’ organisation Nuanua O Le Alofa, the Pacific Disability Forum and UN Women encouraged and empowered organisations to include disability in projects aimed at ending violence against women by developing a toolkit about disability and violence specific to Samoa, in both English and Samoan languages.
  • By hosting a film workshop and competition, the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD) encouraged young filmmakers to document gender issues, including gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy.
  • The Second Samoa Family Safety Study provides longitudinal data on prevalence and types of violence experienced by women, men, girls, boys and the elderly. The MWCSD is using the findings to develop the Safer Families, Safer Communities Strategy and to inform future programming.

Enhancing Agency

  • The Pacific Community (SPC) Progressing Gender Equality in the Pacific project assisted 45 participants to learn more about gender statistics and their use to inform national programming. Through PGEP’s ongoing support, the Government of Samoa is increasing its capacity to generate sex-disaggregated data and to use gender statistics to guide national policy and decision-making, evaluation and learning and human rights reporting.
  • Support from the SPC Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) helped Samoa to submit its first Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) report in 2017.
  • Sexual and reproductive health services are more available to rural remote communities, people with disabilities and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (GLBTI) community through the expansion of the Samoan Family Health Association (SFHA) services. In 2017, SFHA received the Samoa Disability Human Rights Award for its inclusive disability measures in polices, programs and service delivery.

Pacific Women partners in Country

Government: Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development.

Other partners: Australian International and Community Relations Office, Department of the House of Representatives; International Planned Parenthood Federation (with local partner Samoan Family Health Association); the Pacific Community: Progressing Gender Equality in the Pacific and the Regional Rights Resource Team; Shifting the Power Coalition; UNICEF; United Nations Development Programme; UN Women; Civil Society Support Program; and Pacific Women’s regional partners.

Details on activities for each country, including those supported by the regional program, are available via the interactive map. The full list of program partners can be found here.

Stories of Change


The many ways programs can be inclusive of women and girls with disability

With global data showing that people with disabilities are at a greater risk of experiencing violence, it is important for initiatives aimed at ending violence against women to incorporate strategies to support women and girls with disabilities.

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Drawing on evidence to design effective support for women’s leadership

The Women in Leadership in Samoa project is building on lessons learned in a previous project phase to progress women’s leadership in the Samoan context.

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Small grants to achieve big results

Noticing a high number of children street vendors, the Pacific Women-funded Samoan Women Shaping Development program investigated. They discovered the underlying causes leading to children vending were poverty, unemployment of parents, and a lack of income to support large families and responded with a project that is helping six families to increase incomes and return children vendors to school.

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Addressing drug and alcohol use as key contributors to violence against women

Recognizing that alcohol and drug use contributes to violence, Samoan Women Shaping Samoan Development (SWSDP) is funding a case management officer at the pilot Alcohol and Drugs Court. By partnering on this new court initiative with the Ministry of Justice, Courts and Administration, the Australian aid program’s Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative is helping to reduce incidences of substance abuse and violence against women.

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