Brown Girl Woke hosted a momentous event at Ulalei Lodge, Vaiala, on Saturday, December 9th, marking the launch of The Alofa Initiative.
This initiative underscores a steadfast commitment to protecting and upholding the human rights of youth encompassing diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, expressions, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).
As a youth-focused organization, Brown Girl Woke stands resolute in its belief in equal and equitable access to fundamental rights for all youth.
The Alofa Initiative responds directly to the amplified risks, displacement, and hardships faced by diverse SOGIESC youth in Samoa.
The primary objective is to create a safe and secure space for these youths to access critical healthcare, resources, mental health services, and more.
“We recognize the urgent need to provide a secure environment for our diverse SOGIESC youth,” stated a representative of Brown Girl Woke.
“We aim to ensure access to safety, respect, housing, healthcare, employment opportunities, and emotional well-being for all.”
The initiative extends beyond the SOGIESC community, significantly impacting Samoa as a whole.
To effectively mitigate risks and safeguard the rights of SOGIESC Samoans, The Alofa Initiative emphasizes collaboration.
The launch event welcomed prominent local organizations such as the Samoa Fa’afafine and Fa’atama Association, fostering solidarity and promoting respectful and meaningful allyship.
The event also featured a panel discussion with inspirational speakers and trailblazers from the SOGIESC local community and Pacific diaspora such as Jaiyah T Sadlua, Taffy Johnson, Fagalima Tuatagaloa, Seuta’afili Dr Patrick Thomsen and Ratu Eroni Ledua Dina (aka Ms. Rhonda).
Yvette Griffiths, Co-director for The Alofa Initiative said “The protection and inclusion of Samoa’s SOGIESC youth cannot rest solely on the shoulders of the youth themselves.”
“It requires embracing the broader Samoan community, within organisations, schools, churches, activity groups, friendships, and homes.”
The launch of The Alofa Initiative is proudly funded by the Embassy for the Kingdom of Netherlands and the New Zealand High Commission.
This Initiative marks a pivotal moment in Samoa’s advocacy for the rights of SOGIESC youth, inviting collective participation and commitment toward a more inclusive and supportive society.
The Alofa Initiative also aligns with a day of global action called The Orange Movement™. The Orange Movement™ is derived from the colour of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 5 which is assigned the colour orange and seeks to advance Gender Equality.
The Orange Movement™ will tap into financial markets to place women at the forefront of solutions to address the US$1.7 million funding gap for the 17 UN SDGs and build a more inclusive, resilient future for all.
The official launch event was also endorsed by Alex Su’a, President of the Samoa Fa’afafine and Fa’atama Association, who attended the event as a Keynote Speaker.
This event was held at the end of 16 Days of Activism and celebrated on the last day of Samoa’s Fa’afaine and Fa’atama Week.