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:
- Country Plan Summary: an overview of all the activities and partners for Samoa.
- Country Brief: a snapshot of project highlights.
(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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.